Somewhere in a distant secondhand set of dimensions BBC America’s The Watch is gearing up to invite viewers to Sir Terry Pratchett’s Discworld, a fictitious, flat planet balanced on the backs of four elephants which in turn stand on the back of a giant turtle.
The cast and executive producers of The Watch held a virtual event today at New York City Comic-Con, where in addition to hyping the new series for fans, also shared the first full trailer for the upcoming live-action series. For those of you who are unfamiliar with Pratchett’s time-honored universe, The Watch focuses on an unlikely group of misfits, The City Watch, [who] find the guts to save the world, surprising even themselves in the process. The comedic yet thrilling series pits trolls, werewolves, wizards, and other improbable heroes against an evil plot to resurrect a great dragon which would lead to the destruction of life as they know it.
The Watch stars Game of Thrones alum Richard Dormer as Sam Vimes, Lara Rossi (ROBIN HOOD, I May Destroy You) as Lady Sybil Ramkin, Samuel Adewunmi (THE LAST TREE) as Carcer Dun, Marama Corlett (BLOOD DRIVE, SICK NOTE) as Angua, Adam Hugil (1917) as Carrot and Jo Eaton-Kent (Don’t Forget the Driver)as Cheery, among several others.
During today’s NYCC panel – which had Dormer, Rossi, Hugil, Eaton-Kent, and Corlett in attendance, who were then joined by executive producers Simon Allen (The Musketeers) and Richard Stokes (Broadchurch) – Stokes explained that developing The Watch was no small feat. While speaking to a virtual audience, Stokes admitted that none of the Discworld books individually lend well to an eight-part television series.
“So we had to do a sort of pick and mix of the best bits across the range of books and invent our own series, invent our own world,” he said. “And that’s where, with everyone’s blessing, Simon came in, who was able to do his own unique and original take on the characters and the stories. And that was attractive to BBC America, to have a show that was original, had a sort of anarchic, irreverent wit to it. You don’t need to know the books to be able to enjoy the series.”
When it was Allen’s turn to speak, he teased the show’s ragtag ensemble of quirky characters, and how they’ll mix it up for the new series. “The City Watch … are these kind of flawed but adorable band of magical misfits in a corrupt fantasy city that they’re kind of loitering in the margins of when we meet them,” he went on to explain. “The world that [Pratchett] wrote and that we base our show in is so kind of warped and upside-down and off its axis.”
As a major fan of high-concept shows like Doctor Who, Orphan Black, and Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency, I can confirm that I will be checking out The Watch when it premieres in January of next year. I mean c’mon, did you watch the trailer? It’s got dragons, dark magic, attitudinal heroes, rock creatures, outrageous outfits, explosions, and do I detect a little bit of the old rock ‘n’ roll? All those things and more have my name written all over them. Plus, my wife is going to lose it for this series. She’s a major fan of Sir Terry Pratchett. So count me in, and let’s get weird toward the start of the new year, yeah?