One of the enduring appeals of Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons’ Watchmen is that it takes place, more or less, in a version of the real world. Sure, Nixon is still president in the 1980s, and the pirate comic book industry is booming, but the book, as a whole, plays off our real-world fears and anxieties for its nastiest and most brutal punches. And while we assume that Moore—as in all things adaptational—would just as soon Damon Lindelof’s new HBO version of his masterpiece not exist, the latest trailer for the series makes it clear that that same “Let’s talk about what we’re really scared of” ethos is still at play.
Much of the emphasis on this latest trailer is on the Seventh Cavalry—presumably named for the U.S. military regiment that committed the Wounded Knee massacre, and fought with Custer at Little Big Horn—a.k.a., those nasty looking folks in the bargain Rorschach masks. We also get more of a sense of the vibe between masked policewoman Angela Abar (Regina King) and her boss, Don Johnson’s police chief Judd Crawford. There’s also some good-old-fashioned Patriot Act-esque enhanced interrogation, plus, plenty of Jean Smart—who’s really got this “comic book exposition” thing down after her time on Legion—snarking at Angela as former costumed vigilante Laurie Blake. (No glimpses of any naked blue supergods/ex-boyfriends, though.)
We still don’t have much of a clue of what the series—debuting next month—is actually going to spend most of its time on. (Oklahoma crime fighting, apparently?) But the tone has been pretty well set, with all the major players assembling their various masks for the coming storm. (Oh, and also Nite Owl’s old hovercraft thing is there, too; like we said, “more or less” in the real world, right?)