M. Night Shyamalan decided during the shutdown that his Apple+ series Servant will run for 40 episodes, rather than the 60 he originally planned.
M. Night Shyamalan confirmed that his Apple+ series Servant will run for fewer episodes than he originally planned.
“I changed my mind on that over the pandemic,” Shyamalan recently told Uproxx about the series, which he initially expected to run for 60 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.”
Shyamalan added that three things occurred to him during the coronavirus (COVID-19) shutdown that made him realize the series wouldn’t need as many episodes. “One was I just wrote out all my ideas and it just came out to that. That was one,” he explained. “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.”
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He continued, “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.”
The producer said that, in order for him to remain that involved in the show, he needed to reach the finish line more quickly. “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,” he continued. “And what used to be a long commitment of six seasons feels eternal in this world.”
Shyamalan also likened Servant’s planned shorter run to the success Netflix has seen with limited series like The Queen’s Gambit, noting, “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,” Shyamalan pointed out. “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.”
Starring Lauren Ambrose, Toby Kebbell, Nell Tiger Free and Rupert Grint, the second season of Servant airs every Friday on Apple TV+.
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