Apple TV+ is truly giving us something to be thankful for this Thanksgiving with the release of their brand new psychological thriller “Servant” on November 28th. The series is directed and executive produced by Academy-Award nominated director M. Night Shyamalan and was created by British Academy of Film and Television Arts nominated executive producer and writer Tony Basgallop.
We have had the chance to preview “Servant” and it is without a doubt in our opinion one of the very best new series to debut this year. Each and every episode left us on the edge of our seats with so many twists and turns it was like a psychological thrill ride. We enjoyed every moment spent with this series which is chock full of both unspeakable tragedy and engaging mystery. Just when you think you’ve got it figured out, guess what? Bam! There is another complete twist in a different direction and you should always be aware that not everything is at it seems.
Beginning November 28, the first three episodes of “Servant” will be available to watch exclusively on Apple TV+ in over 100 countries and regions around the world. New episodes will continue to roll out weekly, every Friday.
We recently had a chance to catch up with director and executive producer M. Night Shyamalan to reveal some exclusive details about the premiere season of “Servant”, working with Apple TV+ and his plans for what may be in store for the future of the series.
When speaking about the various religious motifs that run throughout the series, Shyamalan tells us, “The idea is telling an almost biblical story, but doing it in a contemporary setting in one location and you are interpreting that, I love that idea, that we’re in one home, but we’re telling a biblical story. When I think about that, I think about “The Exorcist”, the story about humanity’s soul versus the Devil playing out in a girls’ bedroom in Georgetown. That is super powerful to me. Big stories told in a very small canvas. I like the tension of it and it envokes the viewer to participate in the storytelling, which is what I most want because if you participate than it is very personalized and it stays with you … that is what we hope to do with “Servant”.
Shyamalan also reveals that “Servant” was always envisioned as a series, saying, “Tony [Basgallop] and Jason [Blumenthal] came with the pilot and the idea and the initial premise was the story of this woman who had just lost a child and was doing this therapy with the doll and you learn that in the pilot. That is the kind of thing that stayed and then we just went from there. I felt immediately that I want to know how this story ends and I felt very compelled for her and that justified all the mania that this character was going through, as it’s super tragic.”
Discussing with us how the series was pitched, Shyamalan reveals, “We had the first three episodes written out and then I wasn’t quite there yet … with the balance of this long-form story-telling as opposed to making movies is I can completely map it out before I go to a buyer, but not in this case. I knew roughly where I wanted to go, but I didn’t really understand it yet, so when we went out to the buyers we actually had more of an anthology idea, like with Leanne, but each season would be slightly different, but that immediately changed after we started writing four and five, after we sold it essentially it switched to the format that it is now and now we have spent a year or more talking about it and really diving into it and we figured out the end essentially. Now we know the movement of the entire piece. It’s funny, you just reminded me of that … when we went out it was totally different, but I tried to convey to the buyers, just give me a beat here, this is our set-up and I’m going to figure out the end. Just trust me on this one. We are going to get an ending, so we went out and ultimately chose Apple for a bunch of reasons, one was I want to be the thing that helps define a place, like the way David Fincher got to define Netflix with “House Of Cards”. ”
Speaking about going with the half-hour format for the series, Shyamalan says, “I don’t think I would have done it if it was an hour. It’s too much content and it doesn’t go with the philosophy of what I want to do and continue to do for the rest of my career. I felt like long-form, we can do thirty minutes and do it well, especially if we have very limited locations. That sounds like a fun little tidbit, but it’s not. If it was ten locations like a normal show or something it would be impossible to do it at the same quality.” He goes on to joke, “I have no idea how they did “Game Of Thrones” as long as they did! I have no idea how they could manage that! They must have thought of it as different movies or shows, like four or five different ones and editing them together. Super-hard and you need that blueprint from the book to keep you steady and it’s a tough proposition. The half-hour is what made this even possible. I’m really excited about that format and the play like quality of a half-hour, as it allows it to be one location. If it was an hour in one location you would begin to feel that it was small or tedious. ”
Referencing the many, many questions we are still left with at the end of season one, Shyamalan tells us, “Its a balancing act of how to end a season and let you wait another year to find out more. We try to go as fast as we can! I wanted you to learn something and orient you at the end of season one that made you understand Leanne’s trajectory, at least as much as I want you to know right at that moment, but ‘wow, I thought I was going down this road’ but it totally aims you in another direction. Each season we want to do that in terms of getting to the finish line.”
These are just some highlights, you can watch our full interview below:
For more information about “Servant”:
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