cable BBC America greenlights a "punk rock thriller" based on Sir Terry Pratchett's Night Watch characters.

Innula Zenovka

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New York – October 30, 2018 – On the heels of hit series Killing Eve and the introduction of the first female Doctor on Doctor Who, BBC AMERICA announced today the greenlight of the new original scripted series, The Watch, based on Sir Terry Pratchett’s wildly popular “Discworld” novels, which have sold more than 90 million books worldwide. The (8 x 60) series is produced by BBC Studios for BBC AMERICA. The Watch is distributed by BBC Studios.

The Watch is a punk rock thriller inspired by the legendary ‘City Watch’ subset of “Discworld” novels. This disruptive, character-driven thriller centers on Terry Pratchett’s misfit cops as they fight to save a ramshackle city of normalized wrongness, from both the past and future in a perilous quest. Modern and inclusive, The Watch features many famous “Discworld” creations including City Watch Captain Sam Vimes, the last scion of nobility Lady Sybil Ramkin, the naïve but heroic Carrot, the mysterious Angua and the ingenious non-binary forensics expert Cheery together with Terry Pratchett’s iconic characterization of Death.
BBC AMERICA GREENLIGHTS ORIGINAL SCRIPTED SERIES THE WATCH
 

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So it's been a while since we touched on the coming The Watch series and there's been a lot of movement going on. Here's a rundown on the various casting announcements that have come out and perhaps most importantly, the fact that filming began on September 30th.

New casting announced for TV adaptation 'The Watch' | Sir Terry Pratchett

So I'll be honest here, I'm a little perplexed by some of the casting decisions and I'm wondering if the showrunners might not have missed the point of certain aspects of Sir Terry's creation. I'm particularly looking askance at the casting of Ingrid Oliver as Dr. Cruces. I'm mean gender-swapping is cool and all, and something I almost always feel favourably towards. The thing is though, part of the point behind the Assassin's Guild is that it's a parody of the British public school system and the old boys networks that grow up around such institutions. I can't help but feel this is one case where a gender swap really does miss the point.
 
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Innula Zenovka

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So it's been a while since we touched on the coming The Watch series and there's been a lot of movement going on. Here's a rundown on the various casting announcements that have come out and perhaps most importantly, the fact that filming began on September 30th.

New casting announced for TV adaptation 'The Watch' | Sir Terry Pratchett

So I'll be honest here, I'm a little perplexed by some of the casting decisions and I'm wondering if the showrunners might not have missed the point of certain aspects of Sir Terry's creation. I'm particularly looking askance at the casting of Ingrid Oliver as Dr. Cruces. I'm mean gender-swapping is cool and all, and something I almost always feel favourably towards. The thing is though, part of the point behind the Assassin's Guild is that it's a parody of the British public school system and the old boys networks that grow up around such institutions. I can't help but feel this is one case where a gender swap really does miss the point.
I'm sure Sir Terry's estate -- and in particular his daughter, who I think is his literary executor -- will have thought carefully about all the changes before approving them.

I mean, Anna Chancellor is playing Vetinari, Ruth Madely is playing Dibbler, Bianca Simone Mannie is playing a completely new character, Wonse, ‘a wizard hopeful in waiting that is frequently underestimated' when wizards in Discworld are all male, and Lara Rossi looks far too young and slim to be Lady Sybil, so clearly they've taken a considered decision to depart from the books quite dramatically, at least when it comes to the characters' physical appearance.

Let's give them the benefit of the doubt and see what the show is like.

I'm wondering what Sgt Detritus is going to look like.
 
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Myficals

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I'm sure Sir Terry's estate -- and in particular his daughter, who I think is his literary executor -- will have thought carefully about all the changes before approving them.
Rhi Pratchett is no longer involved in the project and has no say on casting, or any other matters regarding the direction of the show.


I mean, Anna Chancellor is playing Vetinari, Ruth Madely is playing Dibbler, Bianca Simone Mannie is playing a completely new character, Wonse, ‘a wizard hopeful in waiting that is frequently underestimated' when wizards in Discworld are all male, and Lara Rossi looks far too young and slim to be Lady Sybil, so clearly they've taken a considered decision to depart from the books quite dramatically, at least when it comes to the characters' physical appearance.
Most of the changes don't bother me, Anne Chancellor as Vetinari for instance, actually excites me. Stepping into Charles Dance's shoes is a big ask, but I think she'll be more than capable of making the character her own. Lara Rossi's casting annoys me a little, in that it appears to be falling into the "young and pretty love interest of the middle aged dude" trap that so much tv and film falls into. Though the fact the role's being used to up the PoC diversity tempers my annoyance somewhat.

Wonse is a bit of a weird case. The female wizard thing I can see, beyond Equal Rites Sir Terry rarely used the boy's club nature of Discworld wizards as anything more than the odd joke about their (lack of a) sex life. The name however, is attached to a character that was fairly central to one of the earlier Watch novels. If this Wonse is somehow going to fill a role similar to that of Lupine Wonse, all's well and good. If however, she's an entirely new character then I'm a little less copacetic. That would indicate to me at least, a lack of care for the Discworld property on the part of the showrunners. Mining earlier works for names, without regard for what names are being used and in what context, is not something you do if you care about the integrity of a setting.

In any case, I'm not premptively giving up on things. For all I know, my worries will be for naught and things will be fine. Even if they do take transformative liberties, it could still work. I'm mean look at Lucifer. That show bears almost no relationship to it's source material and it's still smart and funny and very, very watchable. There's no reason yet that The Watch can't be too.
 
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Innula Zenovka

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Looks as if the show will very different from the books, which is causing considerable disquiet.

Nevertheless, I'm certainly prepared to give it the benefit of the doubt, and try to enjoy the show on its own terms rather than expect an adaptation of the novels themselves.

I fully understand people's concerns but I can never get too upset because I didn't find a movie or TV show as good as the original on which it's based, and even within the books themselves, the Ankh Morpork of Men At Arms is a very different place to that of the later novels, I think.
 

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Pterry made a point of not maintaining detailed continuity and hung a lampshade the size of a bell tower on it in _Thief of Time_.