The Swarm
Official poster
GenreScience fiction
Based onThe Swarm
by Frank Schätzing
Screenplay by
Directed by
Starring
Music byDascha Dauenhauer
Country of origin
  • Belgium
  • Germany
  • Italy
  • Sweden
Original languages
  • English
  • German
  • French
  • Dutch
  • Swedish
  • Japanese
No. of episodes8
Production
Executive producers
  • Frank Doelger
  • Eric Welbers
  • Mark Huffam
  • Ute Leonhardt
  • Jan Wünschmann
  • Till Grönemeyer
  • Barbara Eder
  • Luke Watson
  • Moritz von Kruedener
  • Jan Theys
Cinematography
  • David Luther
  • Dominik Berg
Editors
  • Philipp Ostermann
  • Sandy Saffeels
Running time46 minutes
Production company
  • Schwarm TV Production
Budget€40 million
Original release
NetworkZDF
Release22 February (2023-02-22) –
8 March 2023 (2023-03-08)

The Swarm (German: Der Schwarm) is a German co-produced science fiction television series directed by Barbara Eder, Luke Watson and Philipp Stölzl. Adapted from the novel by Frank Schätzing, the series depicts the struggle with aggression by a mysterious deep sea intelligence that is reacting to human-caused environmental damage.

Produced with an estimated budget of €40 million, which makes it the most expensive German TV production (produced in English) of all time, it had its world premiere at 73rd Berlin International Film Festival in Berlinale Series on 19 February 2023, where the first three episodes were screened out of competition. The Swarm premiered on ZDF between 22 February and 8 March 2023.

Cast

Episodes

No.TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal release date
1"Episode 1"Luke WatsonFrank Schätzing, Steven Lally, Marissa Lestrade, Michael A. Walker, Chris Lunt22 February 2023 (2023-02-22)
2"Episode 2"Luke WatsonFrank Schätzing, Steven Lally, Marissa Lestrade, Michael A. Walker, Chris Lunt22 February 2023 (2023-02-22)
3"Episode 3"Barbara EderFrank Schätzing, Steven Lally, Marissa Lestrade, Michael A. Walker, Chris Lunt22 February 2023 (2023-02-22)
4"Episode 4"Barbara EderFrank Schätzing, Steven Lally, Marissa Lestrade, Michael A. Walker, Chris Lunt1 March 2023 (2023-03-01)
5"Episode 5"Barbara EderFrank Schätzing, Steven Lally, Marissa Lestrade, Michael A. Walker, Chris Lunt1 March 2023 (2023-03-01)
6"Episode 6"Barbara EderFrank Schätzing, Steven Lally, Marissa Lestrade, Michael A. Walker, Chris Lunt1 March 2023 (2023-03-01)
7"Episode 7"Philipp StölzlFrank Schätzing, Steven Lally, Marissa Lestrade, Michael A. Walker, Chris Lunt8 March 2023 (2023-03-08)
8"Episode 8"Philipp StölzlFrank Schätzing, Steven Lally, Marissa Lestrade, Michael A. Walker, Chris Lunt8 March 2023 (2023-03-08)

Production

Development

Producer team at re:publica 2022

Frank Doelger announced in 2020 at Cannes, as part of the International Market for Television Programs (MIPTV), that his next TV series The Swarm was going to be the adaptation of novel The Swarm by Frank Schätzing. The series was produced by ZDF within the framework set by the European Alliance, with France Télévisions and RAI, and in co-production with ORF, SRF, Viaplay Group and Hulu Japan who formed the joint venture 'Schwarm TV Productions GmbH & Co KG'. The series is the first project from Doelger-led Intaglio Films, a joint venture formed in 2019 by the German production company Beta Film and ZDF Enterprises.[3][4]

Produced with an estimated budget of €40 million, this makes the series the most expensive German TV production (produced in English) of all time.[5] In an interview, Barbara Eder confirmed that there are ideas already for a second season, but their implementation has yet to be decided after the figures for the first season have been evaluated.[6]

Casting

The Swarm (German) on the red carpet at the Berlinale 2023

The international cast is selected by casting director Robert Sterne, and includes European actors, Cécile de France, Sharon Duncan-Brewster, Jack Greenlees, Lydia Wilson, Krista Kosonen, Alexander Karim, Leonie Benesch and German star Barbara Sukowa with Japanese actors Takuya Kimura and Takehiro Hira. American actors Rosabell Laurenti Sellers and Dutch Johnson, and Canadian Joshua Odjick also feature in the series.[7]

Writing

The script was written by Steven Lally, Marissa Lestrade, Chris Lunt and Michael A. Walker in consultation with experts, such as polar and deep-sea researcher Professor Antje Boetius, from the Alfred Wegener Institute, and Dr Jon Copley, professor of Ocean Exploration from the University of Southampton. Barbara Eder, Luke Watson and Philipp Stölzl directed the series.[4]

Filming

Filming began on 7 June 2021 in Italy and Belgium.[8] The final scenes of the series were filmed at a €23 million underwater studio on the outskirts of Brussels.[9]

Release

The Swarm had its world premiere at 73rd Berlin International Film Festival in Berlinale Series on 19 February 2023, where the first three episodes were screened out of competition.[10] The Swarm is available for streaming on ZDF from 1 March 2023.[11] It was also made available on RAI, France Télévisions, Viaplay, Movistar, ORF, SRF and Hulu Japan from March 2023.[12] It began screening in Australia on June 7 on streaming service Binge. The US distribution rights were sold to The CW in May 2023; the series premiered on September 12.[13]

Reception

Mike McCahill reviewing for Variety wrote that the series is reassuringly straightforward and familiar. McCahill opined, "Its briny pulp – dredged from Frank Schätzing’s 2004 novel, preys heavily on viewer fears of ecological collapse, and what might be lurking for us all beneath the planet’s watery depths".[12]

The series featured in the list of six international dramas to watch in 2023, published by Deadline Hollywood.[14] Oliver Armknecht reviewing for film-rezensionen.de graded the series 5 out of 10, criticised the visuals and opined that there was not much to do for the ensemble. In conclusion Armknecht wrote, "The global threat can only be felt in a few places. If you don't know the story, you may be surprised at the strange occurrences, at least at first - especially since some maritime attacks are really perfidious."[15]

References

  1. ^ "木村拓哉、初海外ドラマ『THE SWARM』メインビジュアル解禁 世界各国の俳優陣が勢ぞろい" [Takuya Kimura's first overseas drama "THE SWARM" main visual unveiled Actors from all over the world gather]. Oricon (in Japanese). 20 September 2022. Retrieved 6 March 2023.
  2. ^ "The Swarm (2023)". The A.V. Club. Retrieved 31 January 2024.
  3. ^ White, Peter (26 February 2020). "Scandinavian SVOD Viaplay Boards 'The Swarm' From 'Game Of Thrones' Exec Producer Frank Doelger". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved 6 March 2023.
  4. ^ a b Vena, Teresa (21 June 2021). "Shooting for the thriller series The Swarm by showrunner Frank Doelger starts in Italy". Cineuropa. Retrieved 6 March 2023.
  5. ^ "Frank Schätzing rechnet mit »Der Schwarm«-Verfilmung ab" [Frank Schätzing settles accounts with »The Swarm« film adaptation]. Spiegel (in German). Mirror Group. 15 February 2023. Retrieved 6 March 2023.
  6. ^ /Julia Staskowiak (17 March 2023). ""Der Schwarm" Staffel 2: Wie steht es um eine Fortsetzung der ZDF-Thriller-Serie – Ende erklärt" ["The Swarm" Season 2: What about a continuation of the ZDF thriller series - the end explained]. kino.de (in German). Retrieved 20 March 2023.
  7. ^ Roxborough, Scott (16 January 2021). "Diverse International Cast for Big-Budget Euro Series 'The Swarm' (Exclusive)". Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 6 March 2023.
  8. ^ "The Swarm". Crew United. 5 February 2023. Retrieved 6 March 2023.
  9. ^ Boffey, Daniel (8 October 2021). "Broadcaster ZDF targets international sales and will dub eight-part series for domestic audience". The Guardian. Retrieved 6 March 2023.
  10. ^ Whittock, Jesse (16 January 2023). "Berlinale Series Unveils Eight World Premieres & TV Jury". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved 6 March 2023.
  11. ^ Julia Staskowiak (1 March 2023). "Schon vor TV-Ausstrahlung: So seht ihr die Serienadaption eines maritimen Sci-Fi-Epos vor allen anderen" ["The Swarm" is now streaming - even before the TV premiere: broadcast dates, plot and cast at a glance]. Kino.de (in German). Retrieved 6 March 2023.
  12. ^ a b McCahill, Mike (20 February 2023). "'The Swarm' Converts Ecological Collapse Into Pacy, Briny Pulp: Berlinale TV Review". Variety. Retrieved 6 March 2023.
  13. ^ Vlessing, Etan (18 May 2023). "The CW Nabs Big-Budget Euro Series 'The Swarm' for U.S." The Hollywood Reporter. Archived from the original on 18 May 2023. Retrieved 1 June 2023.
  14. ^ Goldbart, Max (24 December 2022). "Six International Dramas To Watch In 2023: Dystopian Thrillers, Scandi Adaptations & Cult Indie Remakes". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved 6 March 2023.
  15. ^ Oliver Armknecht (23 February 2023). "Der Schwarm" [The Swarm]. film-rezensionen.de (in German). Retrieved 6 March 2023.