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Donald Glover’s New Thriller, “Swarm,” Imagines the Scary Side of the Beyhive

by Emily Lauletta

Donald Glover has another masterpiece on his hands with his new thriller series Swarm, created by both Glover and playwright Janine Nabers, streaming on Amazon Prime Video starting on March 17th.

The show stars newcomer Dominique Fishback (Judas And The Black Messiah) as Dre, a shy, neurotic young woman who is obsessed with the fictional pop-star “Ni’jah.” In the universe of Swarm, Ni’jah has a cult-like following of fans who are referred to as the “Killer Bees.” Ni’jah also surprise-dropped an album about her husband cheating on her, gave birth to twins, and headlined a flower power music festival. And although each episode begins with the disclaimer, we can’t quite put our finger on who, but Ni’jah reminds us of another pop icon. (Yes, she is inspired by Beyoncė.)

The show follows Dre’s growing obsession with pop-star Ni’jah, and how she turns to her parasocial relationship with the star in the face of grief. Throughout the series, we learn just how far Dre is willing to go to protect her fave (and it is very far). 

With this, the show offers a stellar commentary on how fandoms have evolved with social media, and addresses how race and the patriarchy play a role in both our daily lives, and in stan culture. As he has proven with Atlanta, if anyone can perfectly blend a dark comedy with important statements on systemic oppression, it’s Glover.

Glover’s signature dry humor and avant-garde style make this show a lot like a car crash in that way you can’t look away, but, in a good way. The shows’ humor and style, combined with the comedic timing and pacing of the series, make Swarm—with its  ability to be funny, meta, and terrifying—something that is really special.

As Dre, Fishback is hypnotic and truly frightening in this series. Throughout the show, you can see how Dre is driven further and further in her descent into madness, a trope we love when it comes to women in horror. 

Swarm also features a stellar performance from pop star and actress Chloe Bailey. We wouldn’t be surprised if Bailey or Fishback earn a Golden Globe nom from the series. 

Be sure to check out Swarm when it arrives on Amazon Prime Video on March 17th. It’s not only a series you won’t want to miss, but one you’ll also want to binge.

Top Photo from Swarm: Courtesy of Prime Video, © Amazon Content Services LLC

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