The first six or seven minutes of the first episode of Knight Watchmen are awful. The sound mixing is way off, with neither actor’s voice seeming to come from them. Combined with the bombastic editing, it is offputting and awkward. However, the worst part of the first scene is how utterly useless it is. But let’s not get too ahead of ourselves just yet. What is the Brett William Mauser written and directed series about?
The Second Civil War of America took place thirteen years ago. In the aftermath, the Republic of Texas created a whole new system of justice known as Watchmen. A watchman is a detective/judge who sends their executioners to take out the guilty party. Isabelle Montoya (Daniela Vidaurre) has just been recruited as the newest Watchman.
Montoya’s first warrant to execute sees her investigate a man’s murder. The deceased’s daughter believes the killer got the wrong person, based on something her mom said. But the fearless Watchman finds a red herring, as the victim did not have a daughter. The case isn’t the only curveball thrown at Montoya, as her personal life gets tough when she sleeps with a fellow Watchman named Walter (Wesley Blake). Every new episode adds a further layer or entirely new warrant to Montoya’s plate, with each murder somehow linked.
What makes the prologue (for lack of a better term) of Knight Watchmen so pointless? Well, it involves the murderer and the victim of Montoya’s first warrant. This means there is no context for the two characters, while their dialogue doesn’t establish the world as intended (how can a corporation bankroll someone?). A lot of this information comes to light as Montoya uncovers the facts. Inserting the first few minutes throughout as flashbacks would help improve the pacing, excise repetition, and allow for a stronger scene to hook the audience from the outset.
“Montoya’s first warrant to execute sees her investigate a man’s murder.”
See, the show’s initial six episodes are good overall. Of course, the above plot synopsis is incomplete, avoiding any major spoilers after the first half of episode one. And the way the rest of the plot plays out is engrossing. For starters, Montoya takes an interesting approach toward the people she is meant to be going after. This dynamic proves to be a boon and a problem, as she carelessly gets into scrapes that could’ve been avoided.
And that segues nicely into the action, which is plentiful and cool. Montoya’s executioner, Cecelia, played by Nicole Mattox, giving off major Harley Quinn vibes, dismembers, stabs, and shoots her way into and out of trouble. These scenes are well-edited, keeping the excitement and momentum high for the entirety of the almost five-hour runtime. While the very last scene only works if there’s a second season, it is an interesting note to end on.
Also helping boost the production values is that Mauser shoots Knight Watchmen with atmospheric lighting for most indoor sequences. During the outdoor scenes, the budget is noticeable, with some washed-out moments occurring more than once. But, when Montoya or her executioner are interrogating someone/bludgeoning a person, the series looks like a million bucks.
Vidaurre is fine as the newbie who received zero training for the job. She and Blake share good chemistry that lends itself to the push-pull dynamic soo many crime partners in fiction have. But, they are both overshadowed by Mattox, whose bubbly, fun personality and infectious line delivery prove irresistible. She’s used just enough to never become annoying while also never seeming like an afterthought.
Knight Watchmen starts off poorly, but as the show progresses, it becomes more involving and interesting. The acting is good to great, and the show is shot in a stylized way emphasizing atmosphere. Here’s hoping for a second season.
For more information on Knight Watchmen, visit Not So Sane. You can also purchase and rent on Amazon Prime Video.
"…shot in a stylized way emphasizing atmosphere."