I’ve just seen the first trailers for “The Watch” and I have issues…
I first heard about “The Watch” from a post on Instagram by the script writer, Simon Allen, who thanked more than sixty people involved in the production, but somehow forgot to mention Terry Pratchett. Now I see why… this is not the City Watch we know and love. As Rhianna Pratchett says it shares no DNA with her father’s Watch.
For me the real joy of the City Watch is the characters, and the trailers suggest that the TV series is only paying lip service to the books by reusing the names without any understanding as to who the characters are. For example, one of the key attributes of Carrot is his enormous strength - he is described as “six feet tall and nearly as broad across the shoulders”. He is not slim - he has the physique of a dwarf… but on a rather larger scale.
The raison d’être for Lady Sybil Ramikin is that she isn’t an action hero, but a rather substantial wagnerian aristocrat more interested in dragon breeding than… well, anything really. Casting a slim, glamorous actress as Lady Sybil entirely misses the point and the joy of the character.
To be fair I don’t think anyone could make a decent live action version of the City Watch books. Like Dickens, a good part of the pleasure of Sir Terry’s books is the language used, the turns of phrase, and the subtle allusions that will never translate to a screen of any size. For many a Discworld fan, who like me, have lived with the inhabitants of Pseudopolis Yard for three decades, any attempt to bring Ankh-Morpork to life is always going to be a disappointment compared with the great city in their mind’s eye. 📚