Dahmer was defeated on the Netflix Top 10 chart on Friday, but its successor wasn't all that different. The true-crime drama slipped to the number 2 spot while The Watcher soared to number 1, according to a report by Deadline. Both limited series came from creator Ryan Murphy, who has an overall deal at Netflix.
Dahmer – Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story is a 10-episode limited series that premiered on Sept. 21 and it has dominated Netflix's Top 10 list ever since. The show is a dramatization of the life of Jeffrey Dahmer (Evan Peters) and his gruesome crime spree, which has been depicted at length in books, podcasts and documentaries before. This show became controversial over the last few weeks as the surviving families of some of Dahmer's victims spoke out against it. However, that controversy has not seemed to slow interest in the series.
Meanwhile, The Watcher is also based on a true story, though a less well-known one. It is a dramatization of a story described in Reeves Wiedeman's 2018 article "The Haunting of a Dream House" for The Cut. It's about a married couple who move into their dream house in Westfield, New Jersey, and are then harassed by a stalker calling themself "The Watcher" in a series of unnerving letters.
The Watcher stars Naomi Watts and Bobby Cannavale, as well as Mia Farrow, Noma Dumezweni, Joe Mantello, Richard Kind, Terry Kinney, Henry Hunter Hall, Isabel Gravitt, Luke David Blumm, Margo Martindale and Jennifer Coolidge. It was released on Thursday, but its surge in interest may not be as long-lived as the interest in Dahmer.
Dahmer tells a story that many people are vaguely familiar with but do not know all the details on, giving the viewer a sense of being invested from the start. It also plays to a cultural fascination with serial killer psychology and true crime – which is precisely why some critics say it is problematic. Many argue that it is unfair to the families of Dahmer's victims, and that it risks glamorizing his heinous acts.
Still, Dahmer has reportedly become Netflix's second most popular English-language series of all time, right behind Stranger Things. It has been viewed for a total of 701.37 million hours in just over two weeks, and more people are undoubtedly tuning in. Viewers continue to discuss the film's controversial nature on social media.