The Changeling (2023) Season 1 Review – Provides ample lessons on how to ruin a TV show

“The Changeling,” Apple TV’s venture into the fantasy-horror genre, has left many viewers contemplating the question: how can a TV show with such promising potential go so wrong? Spanning eight episodes, this adaptation of Victor LaValle’s 2017 novel had its fair share of highs and lows, ultimately resulting in a disappointing finale. In this review, we delve into the various aspects of the show and explore the lessons that can be learned from its narrative missteps.

A Betrayal of Expectations

From the start, “The Changeling” seemed like a captivating addition to the TV lineup. With its exploration of dark fantasy and horror elements, it promised to be a thrilling experience for viewers. However, as the season progressed, it became clear that the show had deviated from its source material in ways that could be considered a betrayal to fans of the novel. While creative decisions can lead to a tantalizing setup for future seasons, in this case, the changes only served to propel the show downhill.

A Twisted Tale of Destiny

The story revolves around Emma, who experiences a life-altering trip to Portugal that changes her destiny forever. Despite marrying Apollo and welcoming their son Brian into the world, Emma senses that something isn’t right. Strange texts from an unknown number challenge her sanity, always accompanied by photos of Brian and Apollo together. This drives a wedge between Emma and Apollo, leading him on a journey to uncover the truth about Emma’s unspeakable actions and the mysterious group known as The Wise Ones. Along the way, Apollo encounters an unusual companion who may not be what they seem.

Lessons for Producers and Creators

Looking at “The Changeling” as a whole, it serves as a cautionary tale for producers and creators. While taking risks and pushing boundaries can be admirable, there must be a balance between innovation and staying true to the essence of a series. “Mrs Davis,” for example, successfully maintains consistency and concludes with a satisfying ending that aligns with the rest of the show. Unfortunately, “The Changeling” fails to find this balance, resulting in a jarring mismatch between its beginning, middle, and end.

The Silver Lining: Stanfield’s Standout Performance

Despite its flaws, the show does boast a standout performance from its lead actor, Stanfield. His portrayal of Apollo is both terrifyingly real and emotionally moving. Stanfield’s talent shines through even in the midst of the show’s narrative inconsistencies, making him the best aspect of “The Changeling.”


“The Changeling” had the potential to be a thrilling fantasy-horror series but ultimately falls short of expectations. Its deviation from the source material and lack of consistency hinder its overall impact. However, it still manages to salvage some merit with excellent performances, particularly by Stanfield. This serves as a valuable lesson for future TV shows, reminding producers and creators not to underestimate their audience and to maintain a delicate balance between innovation and staying true to the essence of the story.

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