Watchmen is a graphic novel written by Alan Moore in 1986-87; it was adapted into a film in 2009. In 2019 it was adapted into a television series on HBO, where the title cards above are from. At the time of writing I have not yet watched the show, but I have read the novel and watched the movie.

The title cards for this show are gorgeous, and unique title cards is something that very few shows spend the resources to do. When seeing this technique done in shows, I like to assume that there is a lot of effort put into it’s production value. There is a lot of character in the stills, and without knowing much about the source material, you could make a fairly accurate assumption about the setting.

The cards feel very “film noir,” a style of film that likes to use dark and gritty imagery, usually set in big crime-ridden cities. I get imagery of suspicious men in trench coats and sketchy dark alleyways, with nothing but the neon signs of the streets illuminating whatever delinquent or mischievous behavior is taking place after the sun has set.

The kind of technology shown in the cards also places the show backwards in time. Here we are shown the name of the show displayed in various ways, including a Color CRT, a classic radio, a neon sign, and even on a typewriter. Of course all of this technology still exists today, but for the most part it’s dated and even obsolete, kept around at all sometimes only for nostalgic reasons.

When seeing these cards together it paints a clear picture of to expect. You likely are not going to see a lighthearted family oriented sitcom like That 70’s Show; a show that you could argue takes place in a similar time period with the same kind of tech. Instead I think about movies like All the President’s Men or Joker. The latter feeling the most aesthetically similar.

I’ve been putting off watching the show for a few years, but after writing up this piece, I’m looking forward to watching Watchmen and see how closely aligned my judgements are to the content of the show!