Filmmakers who migrate or dabble in television aren’t a rarity at all anymore. The medium has provided room for interwoven, complex stories that even the longest movies don’t have time for. On the other hand, the web of narrative threads inevitably gets more tangled as a show progresses, so it helps to meticulously plan out the structure over the length of several seasons. That’s why Shyamalan wanted to have the entire plot of “Servant” planned out from start to finish, even with the knowledge that Apple may not renew the series.
In an interview with The Verge, he said:
“You can’t tell this suspenseful story with no ending. It is a gamble that my partners, Apple, and — more importantly — the audience would be interested and supportive, which is what has happened with ‘Servant.’ It was a risk. I love taking risks when the only mitigating factor is our execution. That’s been my approach to the industry for the last eight years. […] Unless I put myself in jeopardy, I am not going to be the storyteller that I want to be.”
Instead of writing each season as if it was going to be the last, Shyamalan made sure that an entire four-season-long story was set in stone. It was essential that contingency endings wouldn’t muddle the already complicated narrative flow of the series, even if that meant a potential cancellation would make for an extremely dissatisfying and wholly incomplete run. This calculated gamble paid off in the end as “Servant” nears a conclusion at least five years in the making, a payoff that the show’s creators had planned from the start.