The Watcher begins with the audacious claim that this is based on a true story. However, nothing that happens after that appears or seems credible. Indeed, it has all the trappings of a familiar made-up story, with a family moving into what appears to be their dream house away from the city’s crime-infested streets, only to be confronted by increasingly bizarre situations. None of the characters speak or act like normal people, which added to my scepticism about its accuracy to reality.
The couple, played by Niami Watts and Bobby Cannavale, is bothered and haunted by anonymous letters implying that they are being watched from afar. As they delve deeper into the house’s history, they discover an increasingly disturbing link to all manner of insane people. Unfortunately, because the actual case on which the series is based has never been solved, don’t expect a satisfying conclusion to the series, which has many loose ends left untied.
Despite the series’ flaws, I have to admit that I stuck with it and binge watched it in a matter of days. Perhaps because it stars Jennifer Coolidge (from White Lotus), who plays a real estate agent with questionable motives in a supporting role. Or maybe it’s because Ryan Murphy is involved in its production and I’m waiting for his signature style. Indeed, The Watcher frequently feels like an episode of American Horror Story, but without the supernatural elements, big stars, and shocking revelations at the end. I should add that Mia Farrow who have not been seen in anything recent has a rather unflattering supporting role here as a crazy neighbour looking like a deranged and mentally insane person. Well at least she was convincing.
One of the series’ main problem lies with how the characters behave and react to the various predicaments they face. They are illogical, and sometimes extreme which leads to bad consequences that get brushed aside as quickly as they arrive! Many of the supporting characters like the neighbors, the police officer, and the previous owners comes in and out of the plot with behaving like they are all in it together but yet, without any conclusion or coherence. They are frequently implicated as possible suspects, only to have the idea discarded as the plot shifts its focus and attention elsewhere! In fact, the final episode, which should have neatly wrapped everything up, was riddled with ridiculous red herrings that simply dragged the episode out.
The Watcher is poor television and definitely not up to mark as a Ryan Murphy production. My advise is to stay clear and save yourselves the time spent on this for other better things.