Ryan Murphy fan left watching for more

Smile, you’re on camera! Lee Lim

New Netflix series The Watcher may leave viewers with more questions than the case it’s based on did

The Watcher is a series created by Ryan Murphy and Ian Brennan. It premiered on October 13, 2022, to the streaming platform, Netflix. It is based on a 2018 article for New York’s the Cut by Reeves Wiederman whereby the experiences of Derek and Maria Broaddus were told after they received threatening letters to their home in New Jersey in 2014.

The show has received an approval rating of 48 per cent on Rotten Tomatoes with a rating of 5.3/10 from 21 critic reviews. The website’s critic consensus states: “This suburban nightmare sometimes achieves the campy fright of creator Ryan Murphy’s best horror fare, but it sprawls in too many ludicrous directions to satisfy.” I agree with the consensus; the show was all over the place.

Seeing that it was created by Ryan Murphy, I had high hopes as I am a big fan of all of his works. Following the Brannock family as they move to 657 Boulevard, the show starts off by introducing viewers to the famous house that attracted letters from the public. Nora and Dean eventually purchase the house as they move there with their two children, Ellie and Carter. The night that they move in, Carter’s pet is found dead. Shortly after, they begin receiving letters from a figure that calls themself ‘The Watcher.’ The couple then hire a private investigator after the police refuse to follow through on their case.

The Watcher is a show that simply fell short. I felt that the show had no direction. I can understand that the creators wanted to remain true to the true story behind the show, however I believe it could have been done in a more tasteful manner. The show ended with many things unresolved. The open ending is unsurprising, as the true case remains unsolved to this day.

My issue remains with the many plot holes and overall direction of the show. Why is the father an absolute creep? Why does he sexualize his 16-year-old daughter? Why does he control her? Why was this just something that they quickly moved past? It was only addressed for one second.

The trailer of the show was breathtaking. However, the actual show is not worth the seven hours of watch time. Aside from my love for Murphy I picked up the show because the Watcher is voiced by none other than Daniel Franzese, who is famously known for playing Damian in my favourite movie, Mean Girls. I really enjoyed watching the scenes of the Watcher reading his letters out loud. The addition of Jennifer Coolidge was also fantastic. It was great to see her play a serious character.

All in all, The Watcher is a great show to watch if you are looking to pass some time. It is something I would leave on as background noise if I am folding clothes, doing laundry, or doing my homework. It was an interesting show, but it was nothing special. Coming from Murphy, I had extremely high expectations that eventually were shattered. Delving into the story behind the show is something I recommend as this is about real people who experienced real things. However, if you are looking for something actually scary, I recommend you skip The Watcher and instead tune into the new season of American Horror Story which focuses on New York City.


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