“Servant,” in which Shyamalan takes the role as the main showrunner, is a psychological horror series about a couple in Philadelphia (the filmmaker’s current hometown) who find that their dead infant has been reborn in the form of a sentient therapy doll. The show has seen enough critical and commercial success for renewal and premiered its fourth and final season last month on January 13, 2023.
Surprisingly for Shyamalan, an auteur filmmaker and perfectionist who usually storyboards and plans his films meticulously, there was little difficulty adapting to a more collaborative technique. In fact, distance from his own personal vision helped Shyamalan gain clarity and ideas for how the show could move forward:
“[…] For years and years, I had been coming up with ideas based on that premise and based on those characters. So I’d say, ‘Oh, I have an idea. Let’s have the characters — it’s all around the car, outside on the street,’ or I would come and [say] ‘I want this movement for the characters.’ So, I’ve been doing it for years already, and there is a little bit of freedom in that, [which] makes it feel just slightly separated from me as a human being, that I can actually see it a tiny bit clearer. So it was an interesting mix of taking an author’s characters and then going into a new direction with it in this movie. So, it felt like those muscles I’ve been doing on ‘Servant.'”