M. Night Shyamalan’s Apple TV+ show Servant hasn’t even premiered yet and it already has fans. Sure they are critics who got early screenings but how else are we going to get hyped up about potential binge-worthy TV shows? Servant follows a young couple who experience the loss of a child.
As an attempt to help them grieve, the couple welcomes one of those very life-like baby dolls into the home. We aren’t quite sure yet if the doll is possessed or if a spirit is even inhabiting someone else altogether. However, we do know that this show is giving up total Rosemary’s Baby vibes. Here is what we know so far.
10 All The Episodes Are Filmed In One Location
A Philadelphia home to be exact. We aren’t sure how long the shoot was but one can assume it would be easy to go stir crazy filming in the same location day after day. This is giving us The Shining all over again except not as big of a location.
Filming in one location is always a hard sell for producers but Jason Blumenthal, the executive producer of the show sees it as one of the reasons why Shyamalan was so interested in making his show come to life. Well, that and the creepy fake baby.
9 Shyamalan’s First Streaming TV Show
Despite directing and producing the limited series Wayward Pines in 2015, Shyamalan has not been a fan of creating TV shows much. Shyamalan said he “avoided” TV shows because of all the constraints that are placed around shooting and other production constraints. So why choose this shows?
Shyamalan listed a number of reasons like the complex characters, saying "The great thing about the format is it’s character-driven,” Fans of Shyamalan know that he is pretty great at creating characters. He has proven so with films like Split, The Village, and Unbreakable. We can’t wait to see how these characters develop over the series.
8 The Couple Hire A Nanny
Red flags are going off right about now. Why hire a nanny for a fake baby? Shyamalan refers to the couple’s grieving tactic as “fringe therapy”. So maybe by them hiring a nanny, they are trying to keep life as normal as possible. To us, it only seems like it is about to get a whole lot weirder.
To be honest, we are concerned for the nanny played by Nell Tiger Free of Game of Thrones fame. She is brought on as a caregiver for the fake baby but what is it that she will be doing all day. Alone. In a Philly apartment. With a fake baby. Apple described the nanny as a “mysterious force,”. We will see on November 28 when the show premieres.
7 We Don’t Know How The Child Died
This is getting really intense. One of the little secrets that Shyamalan revealed during the Apple TV + March 25 event was that viewers will not know what happened to the baby. Indiewire.com states, “the trailer plays up the idea that the couple doesn’t know everything about who they’ve invited into their home, but Leanne doesn’t know exactly what happened to the deceased child, either.”
It’s as if everyone is keeping secrets. This comes as no surprise it is one of the things that Shyamalan does well. He is able to have characters who interact with one another on a surface level, so no one is the wiser.
6 The Tone Is Scary (And… Funny)
During Shyamalan’s Apple TV+ event, the writer, producer, jack of all trades extraordinaire made it clear that while his show is meant to be chilling it will also have a comedic element to it.
“That premise is so tragic and weird and scary, but it’s also, oddly, inappropriately funny. […] It turns out that’s the tone I’m interested in, [like] ‘The Visit’ and “Split” — you’re scared and laughing at the same time,” said Shyamalan. Can you imagine cracking a smile or lightly giggling as you watch this tragic even unfold?
5 Dorothy Might Be Unwell
Dorothy, the mom of this life-like child is played by Lauren Ambrose who we all know from shows like Six Feet Under and The X-Files and of course, underrated, cult classic 90s film Can’t Hardly Wait. She describes Dorothy as possibly being a little more affected by this tragedy than she leads on.
“It’s a fascinating, tragic character,” Ambrose said of Dorothy, the traumatized mother. “I knew it would be a lot of learning and an exploration of grief — learning what people would do with their grief. […] She expresses her grief in the most bananas ways. She takes it to a whole other level.” We can’t wait to see that unfold.
4 60 Episodes???
Okay, maybe not all in one season because that is unheard of and a lot of time to commit to one project back to back. But, Shyamalan did mention that in his head this show is basically already a success and he has definitely planned it to be 60 episodes, saying “In my head, it’s 60 episodes. This will be six seasons over six years.”
He has also mentioned that the episodes are possibly going to be 30 minutes. It is not the norm to have a horror show sit at the 30-minute mark but with Shyamalan, what is ever normal?
3 Edited In Shyamalan’s Home
During an interview at New York Comic-Con, Shyamalan mentioned that the editing for the show took place in his own home. In addition to calling the show one of the most rewarding things that he has done in his career, Shyamalan said Servant is “one of the most rewarding things I’ve ever done.”
Is this why Shyamalan is so excited to talk about the future of the show? He has already predicted 60 episodes so we can assume his mind is stirring with ideas. Like it or not, He is a sought-after director and writer when it comes to horror, thriller, and everything scary. The fact that he is so involved in the show demonstrates his passion for the project. And, when he is passionate about something, good things happen.
2 Reborn Dolls Are Real
The creepy doll featured in the show is known as a reborn doll. They have been around for decades and used in many capacities. Some people collect them because of their likeness to human babies (we admit it is uncanny), some people have them just to sell them.
However, the original use of this doll was to help families/couples who were having a hard time moving on from a miscarriage or infant death. These babies do not come cheap. Shyamalan mentioned that the doll they used for the show cost $10,000. Yes, real dollars. If you can afford it, more power to ya.
1 Sean Might Be Problematic
The father of the child is named Sean and played by Toby Kebbell. Kebbell is known for his roles in RocknRolla, Kong: Skull Island and one of the best episodes of Black Mirror ever, "The Entire History of You." In Servant, he seems to be only pretending to want to be involved with the doll for the sake of his wife’s healing.
Den of Geek states, “While Sean seems to be going along with the indulgent exercise of treating this glorified toy as a baby—at least while his wife is around—when he is alone with it, he’ll lift it with one hand by the neck.” Sean is also not happy about having a nanny. He thinks it indulgent and is bothered by how involved the nanny is with this doll and how real the nanny is making it seem. Further pushing his wife into disillusion.