‘Servant’, the series that M. Night Shyamalan sponsored by Apple TV +, it was one of the pleasant surprises that the new video on demand platform brought with it in November 2019. Exquisitely shot, a classic aroma enveloped the entire production, which followed in the footsteps of the Turner family, an upper-class marriage made up of Dorothy, a reporter on a television channel (Lauren Ambrose, the actress who played Claire in ‘Six Feet Under’), and Sean, a successful chef (Toby Kebbell). The couple were not going through the best of times and hired the young Leanne (Nell tiger free), to lend a hand in the care of Jericho, the little one who has just been born.
Created and written by Tony basgallop, screenwriter behind the return of ’24’ to the television grid and titles such as ‘Berlin Station’, Basgallop told Screenrant that the idea for the series came when his daughter was born. “I thought, ‘There are so many things that could go wrong now …’ As a writer, anything new is inspiring and that whole new world that opened up in my early 30s was exciting, it brought me closer to the dangers of parenthood. “
In its early stages, fiction already made it clear that that huge and luxurious house -it is another delightful character in the series- in which the couple lived, located in a wealthy neighborhood of Philadelphia, contained dark secrets that delved into the fears that surround fatherhood, in the crises of the couple, the guilt and responsibility, the privileges and the cynicism of the upper class and in the psychological breakdown of the characters, which seems to be staged in Sean’s literal decomposition, as if it were a modern rethinking of ‘The Fly’.
With some plans very cinematic and thought to the millimeter, It was the name of Shyamalan that gave the series renown, even though the filmmaker was behind as a producer, but he only signed two of the ten chapters that made up that first season, which had five other directors behind the cameras. A first season that tried to shed light not only on the origin and motivations of Leanne, something in which Sean and his brother-in-law Julian (Rupert grint, the popular Ron Weasley of the Harry Potter saga) pour much of their efforts, but also in how the great tragedy around which the entire production revolves occurs, almost a spoiler in itself.
Their luxury squad – they are all fantastic, especially Toby Kebbell and the chilling Nell Tiger Free- and a rather classic narrative structure, but that allows to go backwards in certain moments, so surprised the Cupertino people that, before even ‘Servant’ was released, they announced the launch of a second season, which is the one that reached Apple TV + last Friday.
The start of this new batch of episodes recovers the slow pace to which, before Netflix got us used to it, the series were unveiling, a chapter per week, as other platforms such as HBO and Amazon Prime Video have been doing. In this case, it is a smart decision, because the touches of terror and psychological thriller and the mystery that Basgallop’s fiction hides is the kind that raises questions in each episode, which do not always find an answer in the next, and one must taste it without gorging oneself. Yes, the one chapters rarely exceed 35 minutes leaves wanting more.
Once again, several directors have been chosen, among which are the Swedish Isabella Eklöf, the Hungarian Nimród Antal and the Swiss Lisa Brühlmann. “They are the key to everything,” Shyamalan emphasizes in an interview for El Tiempo. We looked for them in different parts of the world, we wanted to hear international voices. We got a talented team to tell the story and to offer different narrative styles. ” The filmmaker’s daughter, Ishana, has also gone behind the scenes this time.
‘Doll’, directed by the French Julia Ducournau, the director of the enjoyable ‘Crudo’, is the first chapter of this second season, which begins with the disappearance of Leanne and little Jericho. Dorothy devises a strategy to try to find her son in the first 72 hours because, as a good journalist, she knows that once they have passed, it will be difficult to recover him. It is a small, rather minimal, bite of what awaits the viewer in a story that, as if it were a vicious circle, seems to almost go back to the beginning of the series. There is no break, no great somersault here, but ‘Servant’ has never gone from that. The question now is whether he will know how to build another path just as exciting as the first. For now, Apple has already announced that there will be a third season, a hint that what they have seen they have liked enough.
The second season of ‘Servant’ has started airing on Apple TV +.
Shyamalan, the spinning genius
M. Night Shyamalan has been left for dead too many times, almost as many as script twists have his stories. His career as a filmmaker took off with ‘The Sixth Sense’ (1999) and for a few years he was Hollywood’s darling. From his mind came works as interesting as ‘El protege’ (2000), a superhero film that didn’t seem like such, or the most misunderstood ‘La joven del agua’ (2006), a basic guide to making an epic film based on dialogue and the swimming pool of a block of flats. However, the star of the Indian director seemed to come to an end after the premiere of titles such as ‘The Last Airbender’ (2010) or ‘After Earth’ (2013). It seemed that Shyamalan would never raise his head again. With hardly any support, the director chose to make a very low-budget film, the first truly terrifying, and the public agreed with him. ‘The visit’ (2015), the story of some children who are going to meet their grandparents for the first time after their mother’s family disagreements, once again raised the career of a director and screenwriter who has never left the genre. Then would come ‘Multiple’ (2016) -unannounced sequel to ‘The protégé’ – and ‘Glass’ (2019), with which he closed the trilogy.