The Watcher Season 2: will Netflix drama return? What happened next in real life - could it be an anthology?

Ryan Murphy’s true crime drama about the Brannock family has quickly become one of Netflix’s most popular titles - is The Watcher likely to return?

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One of the more popular Netflix shows at the minute is The Watcher. It’s a nominally-true-crime drama about a family being stalked and, well, watched in their own home. The series was loosely inspired by what happened a real New Jersey family, though obviously some significant creative liberties were taken in the telling.

As with any popular Netflix drama, the success of the series has prompted waves of speculation about the future of the show – whether it might return, how it could if the series was based on a true story, or whether it might return in a different form.

Here’s everything you need to know about the likelihood of a second series of The Watcher.

Has a second series of The Watcher been confirmed?

Officially, no. There’s been no formal word either way from Netflix as to whether or not the series will return – though of course, given the series has only recently been released, any plans to continue it would presumably still be under negotiation.

What happened to the Brannock family next in real life?

Bobby Cannavale as Dean Brannock in The Watcher, walking through his front garden wearing a dressing gown and holding a newspaper (Credit: Eric Liebowitz/Netflix)Bobby Cannavale as Dean Brannock in The Watcher, walking through his front garden wearing a dressing gown and holding a newspaper (Credit: Eric Liebowitz/Netflix)
Bobby Cannavale as Dean Brannock in The Watcher, walking through his front garden wearing a dressing gown and holding a newspaper (Credit: Eric Liebowitz/Netflix)

The Brannock family – or, to use their real names, the Broaddus family – eventually moved away from what had once been their dream house. They made a loss of over $400,000 in the end, selling the house after having limited success renting it.

The identity of the Watcher was never found. Derek and Maria Broaddus left copies of the letters they received with the next family who moved there, so that they might recognise the handwriting if they ever received letters again; they never did, and the Watcher hasn’t been heard from in real life since.

Might The Watcher become an anthology show?

That would certainly seem the obvious solution, wouldn’t it? With the first series of the Netflix drama already covering the story of the Watcher in full, it feels unlikely the show would get a direct continuation – if nothing else, it’d have to be nearly completely fictional, which seems like a potentially fraught approach.

Given that series creator Ryan Murphy has previously had a lot of success with – indeed, is almost primarily known for – continuing anthologies like American Horror Story or American Crime Story, it feels plausible the same might be repeated here. (Netflix, too, have had success with anthologies, with Mike Flanagan following The Haunting of Hill House with The Haunting of Bly Manor.)

It’s not difficult to imagine a version of The Watcher Series 2 – perhaps with the same cast, perhaps with a new cast – not continuing the story of the Brannocks but instead adapting another real-life tale of stalking and voyeurism.

How does Ryan Murphy’s overall deal with Netflix impact this?

An interesting little complication in this is the fact that Ryan Murphy’s deal at Netflix is, potentially, nearing its end. In 2018, the creator of Glee and Scream Queens signed an overall deal with Netflix for $300m – a not-quite-exclusive agreement to produce and create shows for Netflix over the next five years. That deal is due to come up for renegotiation in 2023.

Up until recently, Netflix seemed to have relatively little to show for its deal with Murphy – expensive, high-profile releases like The Politician and Ratched made minimal impact, now existing in a sort of quasi-cancelled limbo state, while films like Prom were critical failures. Murphy has been productive (his output at Netflix totals five seasons of four different shows, two films, and two documentaries) but he’s never quite managed a hit on the level of Bridgerton or Inventing Anna (to compare him to another superproducer with a similar deal).

Except, of course, in the last month – just as he’s coming to the end of the deal – Murphy has been behind not one but two mega-hits for Netflix. Both Dahmer and The Watcher have effectively been streaming phenomena, exactly the sort of hit Netflix would’ve hoped for when they signed Murphy initially and a huge asset to the newly struggling platform. There will, presumably, be much internal interest in more shows from Murphy – and especially more shows like The Watcher.

Will Murphy want that? Harder to say – he might not be pleased with how the Netflix deal has went himself, particularly after passion projects like The Politician and Ratched withered on the vine – but if nothing else he’s certainly going to be in a much stronger negotiating position now.

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