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At “2:00,” Servant slows down to become a devilishly good horror film.

Screencap: The first time Dorothy visits Leanne at 2am; image modified by author.
  • Original Airdate: February 5, 2021
  • Written By: Tony Basgallop
  • Directed by: M. Night Shyamalan
  • Plot Summary: As she interrogates Leanne about her son’s whereabouts, Dorothy starts mysteriously waking up at 2 in the morning.
  • Logline: At “2:00,” Servant slows down to become a devilish horror movie.
  • Grade: A

One of the neatest tricks that the first season of Servant pulled off was slowly but surely shifting audience empathy from Dorothy to Sean. When the series began, it was easy to see Sean as the lesser of the two…


Why the Chris Weitz film deserves a director’s cut

Official Poster; image courtesy of Warner Media.

It is hard not to wonder if the release of Zack Snyder’s Justice League, which is inspiring positive critical and cultural re-evaluations of the panned 2017 superhero movie, could potentially lead to a new wave of alternate cuts on HBO Max. After all, these versions, especially those of the “director’s cut” category, can be very profitable for film companies and very good for their cultural standing with audiences and filmmakers.

In this series of posts, I will look at certain titles from the Warner Media catalog that could potentially receive and…


Aunt “Josephine” brings Season 2 to a strong yet frustrating conclusion.

Screencap: From the Season 2 trailer, image modified by author.
  • Original Airdate: March 19, 2021
  • Written and Directed By: Ishana Night Shyamalan
  • Plot Summary: Leanne’s aunt Josephine arrives to make Dorothy confront “the truth” about Jericho and take Leanne back for good.
  • Grade: A-


As I watched the second season of Servant, I couldn’t help recall another surreal and stylish series that had aired about a decade previously on NBC — Bryan Fuller’s Hannibal. In their respective first seasons, both shows introduced viewers to a dark and serious mystery story that, at its core, revolved around an ambiguous, potentially supernatural main character. …


The Evolution of the Original Vision for Justice League

Screencap: from the “Snyder Cut“ trailer; image modified by author.

The Many Snyder Cuts


The story behind Zack Snyder’s Justice League (2021), a director’s cut of the 2017 superhero crossover film, feels both unique and familiar. Following a family tragedy, director Zack Snyder left the picture partway through post-production.

Warner Bros. then effectively replaced him with Joss Whedon, who would go on to reshoot and re-edit much of the picture, changing its story, visual appearance, music and tone to address studio demands, while also putting his own stamp onto the content. …


From Post-Production to Cable and Video

Screencap: An editor cuts a film reel in Man with a Movie Camera (1929).

The term “director’s cut” is generally thought to designate the definitive version of a theatrical feature film as intended by its director. Consequently, its release is believed to be motivated by wholly artistic interests.

In reality, the term can refer to different versions of the same picture in different contexts. And more often that not, a director’s cut technically constitutes a retroactive authorial revision made possible by an intersection between the creative interests of Hollywood filmmakers and the commercial interests of film distributors.

This article will illustrate these points by examining the history of…


Leanne’s Uncle gives the second season a strong, mythology-heavy shot of “Espresso.”

Screencap: George prays for the Turners; image modified by author.
  • Original Airdate: February 19, 2021
  • Written By: Tony Basgallop and Nina Braddock
  • Directed by: Isabella Eklöf
  • Plot Summary: Sean is faced with a dilemma, when Leanne’s uncle George returns and comes clean in regard to the true nature of his niece and the Church of the Lesser Saints.
  • Grade: A-


When the first season of Servant began to wobble around its midpoint, Leanne’s creepy, ill-mannered, yet apparently benign, scripture-quoting uncle George suddenly showed up to anchor one of the best episodes of the series. …


With “Cake,” the series goes back to its old habits, for better and for worse.

Screencap: Leanne eating cake; image modified by author
  • Original Airdate: February 12, 2021
  • Written By: Tony Basgallop and Nina Braddock
  • Directed by: Lisa Bruhlmann
  • Plot Summary: A mysterious ransom note arrives for the Turners. Leanne decides to bake a cake.
  • Grade: B+


“Cake” is essentially an episode about reliving the past within the present. …

Mikhail L. Skoptsov

Brown University graduate with a PHD in Modern Culture and Media. Critic and scholar of film, television, and new media. https://textualvariations.substack.com/

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