First, here is my quick spoiler resistant review of the Watchmen TV show on HBO. Spoilery comments follow after the main review.
To have any chance to recognize some of the characters and to understand the context, you will need to read the comic book:
or watched the movie:
To sum up, Watchmen is a comic book story about heroes in an alternative history. The comic takes place in the 1980s. The United States won the Vietnam war and Nixon is still president. The Watchmen were a group of hero/vigilantes who operated during and after the war. However, their activities have been outlawed when the story picks up. The world is on the brink of nuclear war between the US and and USSR. The heroes in the story are very human with flaws and limitations. Two of the more super powered heroes, Dr Manhattan and Ozymandias, are featured characters in the Watchmen TV show.
The TV show takes place in 2019 of the Watchmen universe. The story follows Angela Abar a policewoman in Tulsa, OK. Several years preceding the show, the police were attacked by a white supremacist group called the 7th Calvary (the name comes from the calvary unit involved in Custer's Last stand). In present day, the police wear masks and the police detectives essentially dress like costumed heroes. The police are on alert as Calvary activity seems to be picking up after years of inactivity, since the previously mentioned attack on the police.
The show is hard to describe. Essentially it is a cop/detective murder mystery in 9 episodes. The show doesn't really have much to do with the Watchmen comic book or movie. Essentially, Dr Manhattan and Ozymandias, are woven into the story as part of the "mystery" elements. If you are looking for a standard comic hero show or a Watchmen show, you have come to the the wrong place.
The themes of the show are sort of a mishmash. There is a big focus on past racism in the 1920s and 1940s, including the 1921 Tulsa race riot. However, apparently nothing has been learned from those terrible times as the police in the show randomly pick up poor white folks and beat/torture them without any due process. All the Calvary characters are standard 2d villains that are just there as cannon fodder.
Not much heroic happens anywhere in the show. The police are essentially armed thugs. The main character severely beats a suspect and covers up a murder. Several of the main characters are remorseless narcissists trying to control the world in some way.
In the end I found the show kind of meh. The show is not well written. It is just several disconnected story threads forced together. The acting is good. There are a few good episodes toward the end of the season. But most of the characters, save one or two, are unlikeable. Anyway, I will not be buying the DVD/BlueRay set or watching this show again. Do yourself a favor, read the comic or watch the movie. Your time will be better spent there.
Spoilers start here. If you don't want the show spoiled, read no further...
The TV show creators changed a lot of stuff from the movies and comics and most of them are very annoying.
So to sum up, this show has very little to do with the Watchmen. The only thing related to the Watchmen is the name. This is a cop show with a couple hero characters thrown in.
Apparently, all white supremacists live in a trailer park. Or in the case of the TV show, one trailer park. Having grown up in the rural west in a trailer park, the TV show's portrayal of rural folk seems a bit slanted. By Hollywood standards, I suppose we were all poor. But we didn't feel that way. Plus our little towns are way more diverse than any big city. Maybe the writers of the show should leave their gated communities once in a while?
This is one of the shows you don't really want to think about. Otherwise, you come up with a lot of questions.