The much anticipated, much discussed and debated Discworld Watch TV series is happening.
BBC America announced today that they have greenlit the show, to be called The Watch, and have commissioned eight-hour long episodes. Encouragingly for many fans, Rob Wilkins – Sir Terry’s right-hand man – is to be an executive producer on the new show. Wilkins is a very safe pair of hands when it comes to Discworld and Pratchett’s legacy, and his familiar presence is reassuring to say the least.
The Watch will be based on the very popular City Watch subset of novels from the series but, intriguingly, tell new and original stories rather than be straight-up adaptations of the books. How this will play out with die-hard fans is hard to predict, but it is sure to be a draw for new audiences who won’t feel they have to know the material in order to enjoy the series.
The timing for the series couldn’t be better, in many ways. Most of the City Watch novels are based on a very thinly veiled version of our own world, and with issues such as immigration, racism and trans rights explored in the stories already, it isn’t too hard to predict what the series might be covering – not least because so many of these themes are becoming increasingly relevant once again.
The Watch will undoubtedly feature some of Pratchett’s most enduring and vivid characters. From Commander Samuel Vimes – a hardboiled leader with an acute sense of right and wrong – to Corporal Nobby Nobbs – a man that his colleagues are almost sure is human – there is a whole colourful and diverse cast to choose from.
We don’t know much more about the show yet apart from this news that it is, finally, happening. But for many Discworld fans – this one included – that is more than enough for now.