The Watcher is one of those shows that you can't turn away from. Oh, this isn't for good reasons. No, this is purely for all the wrong ones. Characters are abrasive and one-dimensional. The plot meanders around anything close to interesting. Plus, the ending, as we all know, was unresolved. So naturally, Netflix gave it the green light for a second season.
Let me say this: WE DO NOT NEED A SECOND SEASON! Here's why.
Questions, Questions Everywhere and Not an Answer to Spare
The amount of questions this show raises is stunning. It truly draws you in, starting with the first eerie episode, and doesn't let up on adding more bizarre occurrences to the plot. For a Netflix original that earned 125 million hours of streaming in its first week, it's safe to say most viewers had their interests peaked with the sheer frequency of unanswered questions. Yet, it was clear by the middle of the season that our hopes of having anything answered were diminishing. Surprising? It shouldn't have been. The show is based on the true story of the Broaddus family at their New Jersey home and the strange letters they received from someone named The Watcher. Laid out in a 2018 New York Magazine article by Reeves Wiedeman, the haunting tale of the Broaddus family ends with them selling their home before ever moving into it. Thus, the identity of The Watcher was never learned. Another unsolved mystery.
Well, The Watcher obviously ends similarly. I just didn't expect it to end without answering a single question it posed at the start of the series. If Chekov's Gun is a good rule to follow, then The Watcher forgot the weapon was ever there. It was as if the writers had forgotten how many plots they were working with and decided that moving Dean and Nora (Bobby Cannavale and Naomi Watts) out of the house solved all their problems. We got no answers to the tunnels beneath 657 Boulevard, no identity of "John Graff", and still don't understand the whole pigtail girl situation. Some of these are fine to leave as a mystery. In fact, vaugeness can sometimes sharpen the drama, but when there are no answers to anything, then we have a problem.
Even with all the rabbit trails the writers apparently wanted to explore, the show set its sights on a truly unlikable character. The Watcher focused on Dean's obsession with uncovering the identity of the mysterious letter writer, leading to his blatant neglect of his family and marriage. And let's be honest, Dean is a hard guy to root for. Every interaction he has with his neighbors (and family members) is abrasive and rude, lending credence to his neighbor Pearl's (Mia Farrow) accusation that Dean is not very neighborly. This, coupled with some rather poor financial decisions, lethargy at his job, and general distrust of everyone in his life except himself, makes Dean more of a villain than a victim.
The only other semi-developed character in the story, Nora, is a woman so easily swayed by what people think and say of her that she's hardly more likeable than Dean. This is a woman who was ready to follow through with divorce based on a lunch conversation she had with her greedy realtor. Nora drifts in the wind like a dead leaf, never having a true opinion of herself or Dean, but only ideas influenced by others (including Dean).
What Can Save 'The Watcher'
It's hard to believe there is enough material here to warrant a second season, but there was a small tidbit of information leaked by Bela Bajaria, the Head of Global TV at Netflix. She states that "The creative teams of Ryan Murphy and Ian Brennan on Monster along with Eric Newman on The Watcher are masterful storytellers who captivated audiences all over the world. The back-to-back force of these two series is due to Ryan’s distinct original voice which created cultural sensations and we are thrilled to continue telling stories in the Monster and Watcher universes." This is interesting because Netflix has already confirmed two more seasons of Monster, which will focus on a different psychopath that affected our culture every season. This isn't new for Murphy, the creator of the hit television show, American Horror Story, and so it brings us to a new conversation.
It's been working its way through the pop culture blogs and television news sites, but that The Watcher could be something more akin to an anthology like American Horror Story breathes new excitement into me. This gives the series the opportunity to branch out into different locations across the United States and explore the terrifying tales of other homes. I'm not sure how many stalker-ish stories there are at homes (personally I'm hoping it's few and far between for my sanity), but it would be a fun way to develop the series if this is the route Murphy and Newman take for future episodes.