M. Night Shyamalan reveals how his plans for “Servant” have changed with the series now expected to run for four seasons rather than six…
The pandemic has forced a lot of changes for television and film but the isolation and time away actually gave M. Night Shyamalan a new perspective when it came to his series “Servant,” which airs on Apple TV.
The series created by Tony Basgallop chronicles the story of a Philadelphia couple named Dorothy and Sean Turner, who are suffering through the loss of their infant son Jericho. Sadly when the boy’s mother is unable to grasp reality after the child’s death, she is given a grief doll that mimics a real child until she’s able to face what actually happened to Jericho. But when Dorothy goes as far as hiring a strange young girl named Leanne as a nanny for the baby, Sean is shocked to discover the doll has suddenly been replaced by a real child.
Needless to say the series features plenty of unexpected twists and turns as well as a supernatural element injected by the famed director responsible for films such as “The Sixth Sense” and “Unbreakable.”
According to Shyamalan, when he was initially plotting the course for the series he envisioned a total of 60 episodes, which translates into six total seasons. Each episode of “Servant” runs approximately 30 minutes with 10 episodes per season.
It seems over the pandemic, he began re-evaluating his plans for the series while mapping out the entire story he wanted to tell and that resulted in a condensed version of “Servant.”
“I changed my mind on that over the pandemic,” Shyamalan told Uproxx about changing the series from 60 to 40 episodes. “I outlined the whole series over the pandemic and figured out where I wanted it to go and how many episodes it would be. And it came out to 40.”
There were a number of factors at work in Shyamalan’s decision, including his own time to devote to the series because he’s completely hands on as the primary showrunner.
“Two things happened. Well, three things,” Shyamalan explained. “One was I just wrote out all my ideas and it just came out to that. That was one. Two, I didn’t expect to be as involved in the show as I am. I mean, I do everything. I put in every sound effect. Right now, when I finish here, I’m going to go and listen to a cue. I did the writers’ room right before all this, for season three. Every color timing I do upstairs. I do everything. And I like it! I’m enjoying it!
“I just don’t know what my life will be like many, many years from now. So I felt like I can commit at this level through next year and get us to the finish line on this thing. So it’s a combination of that. And also what we just talked about: that the world has changed so much and the streamers are everywhere. And what used to be a long commitment of six seasons feels eternal in this world. Whereas now, you see the impact of ‘Queen’s Gambit’ has on Netflix, right? It’s powerful – it’s a commitment for the audience – but not that long. And yet it’s what everyone wanted. I feel it. And it affected me and it helped Netflix. And it’s one of the most sticky things that’s happened for them in a long time. And I feel like if I can do something super high quality for a burst of time here, that’s probably the best for me and for them. So it just ended up kind of naturally looking at the playing field, shifting from 60 episodes to 40. So that’s where my head went.”
“Servant” was already renewed for a third season on Apple TV with production expected to get started later this year, which would mean the series would likely wrap filming sometime in 2022 for the entire series.
Obviously, Apple would still need to renew the series for a fourth and final season, although that seems highly likely considering the tech giant gave a third season to the show before the second season had even debuted.
“Servant” is currently airing each Friday on Apple TV with the third episode in the season set to debut this week.