Since the finale of HBO’s Watchmen, I’ve been trying to reconcile my initial and absolute love for the show along with the eventual (and building) disappointment that I felt by the final episode for the Vietnamese characters and lịch sử brought into the show — but also keeping in mind that at its heart it’s a story about a Black Female Protagonist, the impetus for PTSD the Tulsa Race Riots, aka Massacre (which people still don’t know about), and the trauma and rising of a Black American lineage — không gia đình Việt Nam.
In that way it’s not a straight line from one thought to one conclusion — it’s the questions and the feelings they’ve brought up, their validity in a fictional world clearly designed to take on racism by POC, where there is inclusivity, but where I also can’t help but feel some of the underlying tones are still a recycle of already recycled stories, fictional and beleaguered, where Vietnamese and Asian Americans are still not fully embraced.
Before December 2019 ends, I wanted to take a moment to reflect on one of the most significant pop culture artifacts of the year. This is the month, after all, in which one of the co-creators of the iconic series Lost gave us a critically acclaimed and universally praised ninth episode of a series that breathed new life into a franchise that had not been this beloved since the mid-1980s. By shifting the focus away from the historically white male heroes of the original and toward a story centering women and people of color, the creators had to also confront the toxic — and often racist — fan culture that had laid claim to the property for over thirty years. Plus, they were able to do all of this without the consent of the property’s original creator.