The Watcher: Complete Series
November 2, 2022 6:18 PM - Season 1 (Full Season) - Subscribe

A family moves into their dream home, only to be plagued by ominous letters, strange neighbors and sinister threats.

A Netflix original. Created by Ryan Murphy, Ian Brennan. Based on the nonfiction book, The Haunting of a Dream House, by Reeves Wiedeman.

52% fresh on Rotten Tomatoes.
posted by DirtyOldTown (12 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I haven't seen this, but it sounded familiar. The events were covered on the blue a few years ago.

The Haunting of a Dream House (2018)

File under: creepy (2015)
posted by ActingTheGoat at 6:59 PM on November 2, 2022 [2 favorites]

This. Was. Bonkers. Very Ryan Murphy. Very delightful. Binged it all in two days.

It was like a feast of red herring.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 7:43 PM on November 2, 2022 [1 favorite]

I didn't know it was based on a true story, and so for instance I thought the address of "XYZ Boulevard" was funnily stupid. I suppose it still is.

I have a feeling it was not meant for non-heads to watch because it's like very slow soft camp otherwise. I kept thinking stuff like, "This is like if the Only Murders in the Building people tried to do The Woman in the House Across the Street From the Girl in the Window".
posted by fleacircus at 7:47 PM on November 2, 2022 [1 favorite]

Here's a ( un-paywalled version of a) update to those pieces linked in the previous posts on the blue.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 7:53 PM on November 2, 2022 [2 favorites]

I would advise people considering watching this to ask themselves what they really think of Ryan Murphy's bonkers, what-if-we-do-ALL-THE-IDEAS style and if they'd be okay with seeing that superimposed onto a real case that made real people very upset. I'd also advise you that it may not have the ending you want, so that weird ride has to be the main attraction.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 7:55 PM on November 2, 2022 [2 favorites]

Spoilers here.

I found it very hard to suspend my disbelief. There were so many things that defied what actual people would do in this situation, Maybe things were cut in editing, but for example they find a secret tunnel and someone living down there in one episode and it's just never mentioned again? They weren't curious as to who was in there and why? That wasn't freaking them out?

And the neighbors just fake their own death to protect their son, going so far as to have a fake funeral, and that's just . . . okay? Isn't faking a death a crime?

So many times I just found myself saying "Oh c'mon now" out loud. I mean I watched the whole thing and enjoyed parts of it but someone needs to put some reigns on Ryan Murphy.

I did enjoy all the red herrings. I was SO sure the private investigator's gloves were going to become a thing.
posted by archimago at 6:50 AM on November 3, 2022 [1 favorite]

I enjoyed seeing character actress Margo Martindale as Maureen.
posted by SPrintF at 10:06 AM on November 3, 2022 [2 favorites]

Watched the first episode and wasn't quite sure what to think, but it looks like others got something out of it so I'll try and see if it sticks. I mostly liked "The Thing About Pam," which had a similar vibe on first impression.
posted by rhizome at 1:09 PM on November 3, 2022

I found it very hard to suspend my disbelief.

archimago: I'm curious if you've watched many Ryan Murphy shows previously? Because that's been my issue with almost everything he's been involved with—American Horror Story, Scream Queens, The Politician—all shows with a great premise, stacked cast, spectacular production values and art design, and first episodes that are absolute bangers but whose episodes eventually take a sharp turn from heightened melodrama to rank absurdity, and in so doing, toss all the stakes out the window.

However, for some reason, this series never lost me. For all its ridiculousness, baffling character motivations, and dropped plot points it kept me engaged and having a good time, probably carried mostly by the pitch-perfect performances of the talented cast (especially Bobby Cannavale, Naomi Watts, Margo Martindale, Mia Farrow, and Jennifer Coolidge.)
posted by Atom Eyes at 2:33 PM on November 3, 2022

With this series, Murphy's what-about-this-and-what-about-that maximalism worked well for me in that it paralleled how in real life, mysteries aren't clean and structured with act breaks. The Watcher ends up being a piece about people losing themselves in a sea of red herrings trying and failing to solve an unsolvable mystery. We enjoyed it very much.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 6:17 PM on November 3, 2022 [1 favorite]

Atom Eyes -- I've seen a lot of his work. I expect AHS to be weird and problematic as it dances with the supernatural. I enjoyed The Politician because from the beginning it seemed campy and silly (and c'mon, Bette Midler!!).

I don't even mind the is-it-or-isn't-it-supernatural elements of The Watcher, it's just SO MANY things felt lazy and unresolved. The person living in the tunnel really bothered me. They were freaked out by the actual tunnel but then never went to see or cared who was living down there.
posted by archimago at 8:28 AM on November 4, 2022

I really liked this, it reminded me a little bit of Libra or White Noise in that a bunch of crazy things happen, people throw out possible explanations and nothing really gets resolved, but we get the character beats as they try to find meaning in chaos. I find Murphy insufferable about 67% of the time, but this seems like one of his better shows.
posted by whir at 1:44 PM on November 8, 2022

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