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Watchmen was created by Alan Moore, Dave Gibbons, and John Higgins in the mid-1980s. Both commercially and critically successful, it is considered to have been a critical factor in The Dark Age of Comic Books.

Then, in 1989, an animated series was released by Happy Harry Cartoons. Running one season of 13 episodes, it was considerably Lighter and Softer so as to appeal to the target demographic. It was mostly forgotten until the Theme Tune Roll Call was uploaded to Youtube and Newgrounds in 2009; the song became a viral video, and the series became a Cult Classic, primarily due to the series being by and large So Bad, It's Good with the occasional surprisingly well-written moment.

Oddly enough, Alan Moore loves this series despite the Adaptation Decay and declared it the best adaptation of any of his works.

There isn’t actually a whole Watchmen Cartoon, just a parody opening and theme song. Though, Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons have seen it and enjoyed it.


This series provides examples of:

  • Actor Allusion: When Moloch gets scared, he starts stuttering like Max Headroom.
  • Adaptation Decay: Severely. Almost all the characters are nothing like their original selves.
  • Big Bad: Overlord Squid.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: Rorschach began doing this occasionally starting around episode 8.
  • Catchphrase: "I'm nutty!" for Rorschach.
  • Creator Cameo:
    • Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons often appear as background characters during scenes at the Gunga Diner.
    • On one occasion, Happy Harry Cartoons founder Harry Partridge can be seen reading an issue of the New Frontiersman.
  • Cool Airship: The Owlship, never called Archie in the series.
  • Cowardly Lion: Bubastis is shown to have some hidden superpowers, but is nevertheless a coward.
  • Dirty Communists: "The Reds", dastardly so.
  • Disneyfication: Of many family-unfriendly aspects of the original story. How does one adapt Laurie's sex scene with Doc Manhattan into a Saturday Morning cartoon? Make a scene of Laurie reading a bedtime story to Manhattan clones!
  • Advertisement:
  • Eldritch Abomination: "Smoke on the Water" has Smokestack, a monster made entirely of smoke that can infest water with nicotine and uses it to trick kids into smoking so he can absorb their second-hand smoke to grow even more powerful.
  • Heroes Love Dogs: Rorschach, with his beloved German shepherds, Fred and Barney.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight: In the theme tune when Rorschach is shown petting Fred and Barney a pink butterfly flutters by. Years later, another cartoon would depict someone else who was friends with the animals with a pink butterfly as her symbol.
  • Historical In-Joke: When the Comedian discovers that Hooded Justice was working for J. Edgar Hoover; he is aghast and asks Hoover how he even knew Hooded Justice. "We met at the Y."
  • Knight of Cerebus:
    • Hooded Justice is no doubt the most serious thing on the show.
    • To a lesser extent, Shinji, who could fight the whole gang without breaking a sweat turning the series more action and plot focused.
  • Lighter and Softer: If you've read and seen the original Watchmen, then you know this is kid-friendly.
  • Local Hangout: The Watchmen regularly hang out at the Gunga Diner. As does Overlord Squid in disguise.
  • Mentor Archetype: Nite Owl's friend Hollis Mason, even more so when he, in a famous twist, was revealed to be the original Nite Owl.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • In Episode 5, Rorschach figures out that the Comedian was kidnapped by the Gator Gang by finding his smiley face badge, which has a ketchup-stain on it, near a storm drain.
    • Returning from a vacation, Doc Manhattan mentions his good friends Wally and Janey.
  • Never Say "Die": Surprisingly averted.
  • Non-Human Sidekick: Bubastis to Ozy. The writers have stated that Nite Owl was originally planned to have a talking owl, as well, but this was scrapped.
  • Plucky Comic Relief: Rorschach. After all, he's nutty!
  • Slap-Slap-Kiss: Silk Spectre's relationship with the Comedian. With more emphasis on the "slap" aspect.
  • The Prankster: Rorschach. Sometimes he uses his “clowning around” for good, weaponizing it in his fights against bad guys, and sometimes he accidentally annoys his friends with it, especially in episode 6 where he learns The Golden Rule.
  • Smoking Is Not Cool: "Smoke on the Water" is a particularly bizarre variant on this, with Smokestack using water laced with nicotine to brainwash kids into smoking.
  • The Team
  • Thememobile: Jonmobile - the car form of Doctor Manhattan.
  • Those Two Guys: Nite Owl and Rorschach.
  • The One Thing I Don't Hate About You: Even the most jaded critic has to admit that "The Last Testament of Hooded Justice" is a great episode.
  • Trademark Favorite Food: Pizza for the Watchmen, Buby Snacks for Bubastis.
  • Unrelated in the Adaptation: Silk Spectre and the Comedian aren't father and daughter in this version of the Watchmen.
  • Viewer Gender Confusion: Just what the hell is Bubastis anyway?
  • We Can Rule Together: Overlord Squid has on multiple occasions declared that he wanted Ozymandias to be his apprentice.
  • Whole Plot Reference: "Tuesdays With Moloch" is Apt Pupil with a super-villain instead of a Nazi.