No need to watch ‘The Watcher’

Laura Malagrino, Arcade Editor

Dearest reader of The Hullabaloo, allow me to welcome you to the disappointment of Netflix’s “The Watcher.” How did you end up here? Did this article call to you with its force within? Or was it an interest or curiosity about the show?

Allow me to be upfront and tell you now that “The Watcher” was an absolute waste of time. Despite debuting at the top of Netflix’s charts — dethroning the Jeffrey Dahmer drama series “Monster” — I cannot tell you what would make this show worthwhile. 

“The Watcher” is based on a real case of a family in Westfield, New Jersey. After moving into a new house in the suburbs, the family starts receiving unnerving letters from an anonymous writer who calls himself “The Watcher.” Coupled with strange neighbors and vaguely unhelpful police officers, it’s clear that something is wrong with the people of Westfield.

Shivani Bondada

Though the show was somewhat based on a real case, “The Watcher” fails to make something useful out of the fictitious elements. The case on which it is based is pretty straightforward: a family moves into a house, gets threatening messages from a stalker and then they go viral. There are a lot of blanks that could be filled in to make the story a little more nuanced and interesting for the viewer. Unfortunately, the potential for an interesting retelling is lost in the over-the-top theatrics that overcompensate for the lack of direction. 

I was already familiar with the original case, so when I saw that Netflix had gone ahead and made a series based on it, I was more than willing to give it a chance. Looking back on it, I could’ve saved almost seven hours of my life — time that could’ve been spent feeling joyful and carefree instead of confused and infuriated. In that respect, I wish to warn any potential viewers away from “The Watcher.”

Knowing that Ryan Murphy produced “The Watcher,” I was expecting something akin to Murphy’s “American Horror Story,” or even one of his more recent Netflix projects, “Monster.” Just as “Monster” was based on true crime, so was “The Watcher.” But the key difference is that “The Watcher” took the original case and ran in circles until seven 45-minute episodes were filled up with nothing but inconsequential arguments and grossly uncomfortable sexual undertones.

Nonetheless, I held on tight for all seven episodes, hoping that in one way or another the show would redeem itself, only to be proven wrong. The exaggerated, unnecessary plot points push the show further into the abyss, creating a sense of drama that holds absolutely no weight in relation to the overarching plot of the show. There was so much potential to take the loose premise of the real case and turn it into a thrilling, truly horrifying show, but “The Watcher” failed to do so. 

Dearest reader, if you have better things to do in life then I do not suggest you watch “The Watcher.” 

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