Thriller – The Watcher

I’ve stopped writing about Thriller episodes because there are only so many ways to say, “Was probably great in its time but doesn’t hold up.” However, I just watched the episode called “The Watcher” and, while the above sentiment still holds true, there were a few interesting things about it.

First of all, the unintentionally hilarious in hindsight moment when the middle-aged teacher, a serial killer who seems far too interested in the sex lives of young men, says to a young Richard Chamberlain, “Sometimes an older man can help a boy stay straight.”

Nope and nope.

Secondly, this may be the earliest episode of female empowerment on television. In the middle of the usual early 60s Peyton Place hysterics about suburban propriety, the female lead, played by Olive Sturgess, turns into a straight up Buffy Summers.

Sturgess not only isn’t saved by her boyfriend, played by Chamberlain, she saves herself from the killer and then saves her boyfriend by knocking the killer out of the window to his death.

She also doesn’t bat an eyelash at the word “tramp” being thrown at her from all sides. She just wears it with a shake of her head and goes about her business no matter who’s trying to stop her.

This is a prototype for Buffy thirty-five years ahead of its time.


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