Making a television series or film that is based on an original idea in this day and age is bold, brave, and admirable.
Janine Nabers teamed up with Donald Glover to bring to life Prime Video’s newest show, Swarm. After collaborating on FX’s hit show Atlanta for two years, they decided to bring viewers a story so unique, it will force you to stop whatever you’re doing to pay attention as soon as you hit play. There are strong similarities between the two shows. As Nabers tells Complex, they thought of this new series as a sister show to Atlanta and they even brought on some of the hit show’s writers to help tell this new story.
Both shows use music and the music industry to tell a bigger story about common, everyday people. But at the root of it, the central relationships in both shows are between two family members. While cousins Earn (Donald Glover) and Al (Brian Tyree Henry) were the two forces we followed throughout four seasons of Atlanta, in Swarm, the story follows two sisters Dre (Dominique Fishback) and Marissa (Chloë Bailey).
On the surface, the show is about Dre’s undying obsession with a pop icon named Ni’Jah, a Beyoncé-like figure she idolizes excessively. While fans might think that the show is a criticism or making fun of fandoms like the Beyhive, it is actually much more than that. But either way, Nabers and the team don’t seem to mind that the trailer alone was enough to elicit strong reactions from people. “People are always going to kind of intellectualize and try to find some sort of meaning in a story, especially when there are iconic images or ideas at play,” Nabers tells Complex in regard to people’s comments. “We welcome all of them. We’re down to clown, and we’re just happy it’s making some noise.”
While music is a major component in Swarm, it also evolves into an examination of sisterhood, grief, and what obsession can become if not properly controlled. The show drops on Prime Video on Friday, March 17, and Complex briefly caught up with Nabers to talk about the inspiration for the show, Dre and Marissa’s relationship, and all that went into the creation of Dre.