I Watched ‘The Watcher’ And I Took The Bait


We’ve all been there. You see a show that piques your interest, the pilot sucks you in, it starts to veer off in the middle of the season but you stick with it to see where its going, and by the time you get to end its complete and utter dog shit. I blog before you all today to say that I got got.

The Watcher recently dropped on Netflix, half of a pair of crime thrillers from creator Ryan Murphy just in time for Halloween. Based off a fairly recent real case, the show follows Nora and Dean Brannock (Academy Award nominee Naomi Watts and Emmy winner Bobby Canavale) as they move their family from New York City to a luxurious Connecticut suburb. What they thought was their dream home quickly turns into terror as they begin receiving suspicious letters from someone named The Watcher. The family tries to get to the bottom of who The Watcher really is. Is it one of their kooky neighbors? Is it someone in town? Their security guy? Their real estate agent? Detective Shooter McGavin? A dying jazz singer? Is it one of THEM?

So many suspects, so many questions, so many motives, and not one fucking answer.

This show is a classic example of what happens when bad writing can sink an ensemble of great actors. In addition to Canavale and Watts, the cast includes Jennifer Coolidge, Christopher McDonald, critically acclaimed character actress Margo Martindale, Richard Kind, Mia Farrow, Noma Dumezweni, Joe Mantello, and Henry Hunter Hall among others. After a promising pilot episode, the show starts to go down every rabbit hole imaginable. Bobby Canavale basically spends each episode accusing someone new of being The Watcher only to realize by the time the cliffhanger drops that he was wrong. Then the following episode consists of him running up to someone new yelling “I KNOW IT’S YOU!” only to be proven that it is not in fact them.

Again, the fault in this series is on the writing though I don’t think anyone here should be getting a call from the Emmys next year…although they probably will because it’s a Ryan Murphy show. Where the show falls apart is creating too many storylines. By creating so many possibilities as to who The Watcher is it sets itself up for failure. And if you’ve made it this far, you either have seen the end or have no intention of watching it so we all know that NONE OF THEM ARE THE FUCKING WATCHER! Seriously, they spend seven episodes building this mystery, building up and tearing down characters and then the Brannocks simply move away and the mystery is never solved.

Here’s a breakdown of some of the worst parts of the series:

  • It takes WEEKS for the neighborhood to find out that Margo Martindale and Richard Kind are still alive after their son murdered another couple inside their home. Instead, they were in Florida. Imagine that!
  • The Brannocks hire a 19-year old kid (Henry Hunter Hall) to install a security system for a multi-million dollar property and are shocked when it takes him over a week to install ten cameras (an afternoon’s work), there are blind spots in the most inconvenient places, and he starts banging their daughter.
  • Thedora Birch (Dumezweni) is a private investigator hired by the family to assist in the investigation. In her introduction she gives the most monologuey monologue in the history of monologues. She tells us how she was a Jazz singer but now she’s dying of cancer but before she goes she wants to solve one last crime rather than spending time with her daughter and grandchild. Oh, and she’s English.
  • Dean (Canavale) turns out to be one of the crazies writing letters to the house. Why you ask? To scare his own family into leaving. That’s the route he chose to go down rather than you know, leaving.
  • The family’s real estate agent (Coolidge) and Nora (Watts) become instant best friends after having not seen each other for 30 years or something. But surprise surprise the big bad real estate agent tries to get them to sell the house after the letters start coming.
  • Pearl (Mia Farrow) and her brother Jasper (Terry Kinney) are obsessed with the Brannock’s dumbwaiter (a.k.a. an elevator for food) and will stop at nothing to make sure their neighbors make zero alterations to their home. Just a plot line that makes no logical sense whatsoever.
  • Back to Theodora, on her deathbed she tells the Brannocks that she was The Watcher all along…and they find out she was lying! Why? Because she wanted to solve one last mystery so she told them it was her the whole time. I almost threw my remote at the TV.

And that’s just a few of the worst parts of the show. But again, none of this ends up mattering because the mystery is never solved. It’s almost as if the person writing those letters was just the friends we make along the way. Save yourself seven hours and avoid this trendy soap opera that wastes the talents of so many great actors.

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