Apple TV+’s latest series, The Changeling, has sparked a range of reactions from viewers, with some hailing it as “the most unique fantasy show of 2023” while others deem it “mediocre.” Director and executive producer Jonathan van Tulleken has welcomed both perspectives, stating that the strong responses indicate that people either love it or hate it.
Based on Victor LaValle’s 2017 best-selling novel, The Changeling presents a fairytale for grownups that delves into the perils of parenting, fate, and generational curses. The show’s primary objective was to captivate the audience with its exploration of complex themes, evoking authentic trauma and pain through the horror and fairytale genres.
Adapting the first-person internal world depicted in the book into a visual format posed a significant challenge for the creators. However, they successfully crafted an experiential journey for viewers, aiming for an unconventional approach. Rather than passively watching, audiences are encouraged to actively engage and lean forward into the story.
One standout element of The Changeling is actor LaKeith Stanfield’s compelling portrayal of the lead character, Apollo. Stanfield’s commitment and immersive interpretation of the role garnered high praise from viewers.
While the story predominantly revolves around the experiences of motherhood, it also introduces Emma as a co-conspirator and a genuine lead character. By not explicitly mentioning the characters’ races, the series challenges stereotypes, allowing them to speak for themselves and giving a universal message.
The conclusion of season one leaves audiences with a feeling of expansion and the promise of more to come in future seasons. As the show is only halfway through the book, viewers are eagerly anticipating what lies ahead.
Despite the divided opinions, The Changeling has undoubtedly made waves in the realm of fantasy television. Its thought-provoking exploration of parenthood and its ability to evoke both trauma and comfort has solidified its place among Apple TV+’s captivating offerings.
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