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Swarm (TV series)

Swarm is an American satirical comedy horror thriller television series created by Janine Nabers and Donald Glover.

Swarm is an American satirical comedy horror thriller television series created by Janine Nabers and Donald Glover. It follows Dre (Dominique Fishback), a young woman whose obsession with a pop star takes a dark turn.

Swarm TV.png
Promotional poster
Created by
StarringDominique Fishback
Country of originUnited States
Original languageEnglish
No. of seasons1
No. of episodes7
Executive producers
Running time27–39 minutes
Production companies
Original networkAmazon Prime Video
Original releaseMarch 17, 2023 (2023-03-17)

The series debuted on March 17, 2023, on Amazon Prime Video. It received positive reviews from critics, who praised the direction, cinematography, soundtrack, and balance between its bright, vivid aesthetic and its elements of psychological horror—though the writing drew some criticism. Fishback's performance in the series has received widespread acclaim.


The series tells the story of Dre, a young woman who is obsessed with a pop star, whose fanbase is known as "The Swarm". The show is a deep dive into Dre's life, her fandom, and how it takes her to dark, unexpected places.[7][2]

Cast and characters


  • Dominique Fishback as Andrea "Dre" Greene, a young woman whose obsession with Ni'Jah, a world-famous popstar, leads her on a dark and murderous path across the United States



  • Damson Idris as Khalid, Marissa's boyfriend[8]
  • Rory Culkin as Marcus, a man Dre meets at the club and goes home with
  • Karen Rodriguez as Erica, Marissa's friend and boss
  • Paris Jackson as Hailey, a stripper who has an abusive boyfriend and who goes by the name Halsey, a reference to her supposed biracialism
  • X Mayo as Cheeks, Dre's boss at the strip club who is also a stripper
  • Atkins Estimond as Reggie, a man Dre is hunting who tweeted negative things about Marissa and Ni'Jah
  • Byron Bowers as George, a sound man whom Dre uses to get closer to Ni'Jah
  • Stephen Glover as Caché, a rapper and Ni'Jah's husband
  • Billie Eilish as Eva, a women's empowerment cult leader that takes Dre under her wing
  • Kate Lyn Sheil as Cricket, a girl who offers Dre a place to stay during Bonnaroo
  • Victoria Blade as Salem
  • Leon as Harris, Marissa's birth father who blames Dre for her death
  • Rickey Thompson as Kenny, a man who works at a phone repair store in Houston, who refuses to fix Marissa's phone for Dre
  • Heather Alicia Simms as Loretta Greene, a detective in the "real world" who has started to piece together that these killings have a common thread, the victims have all insulted a superstar with a vicious fan base on social media
  • Kiersey Clemons as Rashida, a graduate student with whom Dre falls in love
  • Cree Summer as Rashida's mother
  • Norm Lewis as Rashida's father

In addition, Nirine S. Brown co-stars as Ni'Jah, a pop star whom Dre idolizes.


No.TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal release date
1"Stung"Donald GloverTeleplay by : Janine Nabers
Story by : Janine Nabers & Donald Glover
March 17, 2023 (2023-03-17)
In 2016, withdrawn Andrea "Dre" Greene lives with her foster sister Marissa in Houston. While Marissa's interest in pop star Ni'Jah has waned with age, Dre is as obsessed with her as ever. After an incident at their job, Marissa decides to spend the night with Khalid and reveals her plans to eventually move in with him. Dre tries to stop her by telling her of Khalid's behavior and attempts at infidelity, which enrages Marissa. Marissa then storms out. When Ni'Jah releases a surprise album, an empowered Dre goes to a club and loses her virginity. She wakes up to find that Marissa has committed suicide following an argument with Khalid, having accused him of cheating, and Ni'Jah's fans on Twitter claim she did it over the new album. Dre goes to Khalid's house, and despite his clear display of remorse, impulsively kills him in a psychotic rage.
2"Honey"Adamma EboJamal OloriMarch 17, 2023 (2023-03-17)
Now 2017, Dre works as a stripper in Fayetteville, Tennessee, trying to find Reggie Wilkins, one of the people who tweeted about Marissa and Ni'Jah. A stripper with an abusive boyfriend latches onto Dre, and she kills the boyfriend after witnessing them arguing. The stripper discovers her moving the body and decides to help, but Dre kills her after burying him. A group of strippers ask Dre for a ride to a house call. She gets a flat tire on the way back, but Wilkins, a tow truck driver, runs into them and offers to fix the car at his house. Dre goes back into the house when he finishes and attacks him. He gets the upper hand and starts to strangle her, only for the strippers to come looking for her and kill him. She drives off, leaving them with the body.
3"Taste"Adamma EboJanine Nabers & Kara BrownMarch 17, 2023 (2023-03-17)
Four months later, Dre is tracking down and killing people who insult Ni'Jah on Twitter. She travels to Los Angeles and stalks her next target, only to notice a man working at the release party of Ni'Jah's husband's new album. She follows him home and seduces him, getting him to take her to the party and locking him in a freezer. She infiltrates the party and approaches Ni'Jah, but, overwhelmed, bites her and flees.
4"Running Scared"Ibra AkeIbra Ake and Stephen GloverMarch 17, 2023 (2023-03-17)
Another four months later, Dre is driving to Bonnaroo to see Ni'Jah when she is tailed by a police officer, only to be rescued by a girl at a gas station. The girl leads her to a "female empowerment" group of white women led by Eva, who takes a liking to Dre. She discovers that her bloody car has been cleaned and her phone is missing. Through a series of intense "counseling" sessions with Eva, she reveals her background with Marissa and that she enjoyed committing the murders. She panics during a ritual and tries to leave, but Eva attempts to manipulate and blackmail her into staying. Dre retrieves her phone and runs Eva over, driving away and killing a group member who clung to the top of her car. She makes it to Bonnaroo but finds that it is already over.
5"Girl, Bye"Ibra AkeTeleplay by : Janine Nabers & Malia Ann
Story by : Janine Nabers & Ibra Ake
March 17, 2023 (2023-03-17)
A month later, Marissa's phone number is deactivated by her father Harris, leading Dre back to Houston. She runs into her and Marissa's former boss and fabricates a story about working as Ni'Jah's mother's makeup artist. She breaks into Harris' house and steals his pistol, which she uses to coerce his wife into turning the number back on. Harris, blaming Dre for Marissa's suicide, tries to shoot her with a shotgun. She flees into Marissa's old room and freezes when she sees her old shrine for Ni'Jah, before narrowly escaping out the window.
6"Fallin' Through the Cracks"Stephen GloverKaren Joseph Adcock & Stephen GloverMarch 17, 2023 (2023-03-17)
The true crime documentary Falling Through the Cracks follows Memphis detective Loretta Greene as she investigates Dre's murders. She establishes a connection between the victims and their dislike of an immensely popular and influential artist implied to be Beyoncé, tracing it back to Khalid. She finds Dre through Marissa's Instagram page and visits Marissa's mother Patricia in Houston, who tells Greene that Dre stabbed one of Marissa's friends when they were younger, the incident that got her kicked out of the family. Dre's caseworker refuses to disclose her background to Greene, and accuses the filmmaker of wanting to ignore his own flaws by digging for Dre's. Greene eventually learns that Dre has been arrested for invading the stage during a Beyoncé concert in Atlanta, and sets out to talk to her. Interview footage of Donald Glover is shown where he claims he is working on a show about Dre. This, along with each character being played by a different actor, suggests that Swarm is a recreation of events implied to have happened in the real world.
7"Only God Makes Happy Endings"Adamma EboJanine NabersMarch 17, 2023 (2023-03-17)
In Atlanta, June 2018, Dre, having ditched her phone and posing as a man named Tony, goes home with a graduate student named Rashida. As the police find her car, she starts a relationship with Rashida despite her strong dislike of Ni'Jah. She eventually meets Rashida's parents and moves in with her. Dre gets Ni'Jah tickets for their anniversary, leading to an argument that escalates when she strangles Rashida to death. She burns the body, but accidentally leaves the tickets in Rashida's pocket. She kills a scalper for his ticket and runs onstage, but Ni'Jah, whom Dre envisions as Marissa, stops her security detail from restraining Dre and lets her speak to the crowd. She tells the fans that she loves them and leaves with Ni'Jah, tearfully resting her head on her shoulder as they get in her car.



In February 2021, Donald Glover signed an overall deal with Amazon Studios.[9] One of the projects in development included Hive, which would revolve around a figure inspired by Beyoncé, with Janine Nabers acting as co-creator and showrunner.[10] Glover is also credited as creator and executive producer, and directed the first episode.[7]


Glover compared the series to "post-truth Piano Teacher mixed with The King of Comedy".[7] Glover and Nabers wanted to create an anti-hero story, using Tony Soprano and Don Draper as inspiration.[7]

Malia Obama is among the writers of the series.[11] Nabers said, "We really wanted to give her the opportunity to get her feet wet in TV and see if this is something she wants to continue doing."[12]


In April 2022, Dominique Fishback was announced as the lead actress of the series, also joining as a producer.[13] Glover contacted Fishback to play the role of the lead's sister. Fishback convinced Glover to give her the lead role.[7] The series also stars Chloe Bailey as Dre's sister, Marissa and Damson Idris as Marissa's boyfriend.[8]


On March 17, 2023, the original soundtrack was released. The extended play included accompanying music from the series performed by Donald Glover and Kirby.[14][15]

1."Something Like That" (performed by Ni'jah and Kirby)Donald Glover3:36
2."Agatha" (performed by Ni'jah)Dockery3:00
3."Big World" (performed by Ni'jah and Kirby)
  • Christopher Lloyd
  • Dockery
  • Michael Uzowuru
  • Choker
  • Michael Uzowuru
4."Adventure" (performed by Ni'jah and Kirby)Dockery
  • Samuel Ivoko
  • Vikas
5."Hahaha" (performed by Ni'jah and Kirby)DockeryLeken1:53
6."Sticky" (performed by Ni'jah, Kirby and Childish Gambino)
  • Glover
  • Dockery
  • Dylan Wiggins
  • Donald Glover
  • Michael Uzowuru
Total length:16:58


Swarm premiered at the 2023 South by Southwest Film Festival on March 10, 2023.[16] All seven episodes were released on March 17, 2023, on Amazon Prime Video.[2]


Dominique Fishback received widespread acclaim for her role in the television series, with critics lauding her performance in the pilot episode's final scene.

Swarm has received positive reviews from critics, with the performance of Dominique Fishback receiving ubiquitous praise. On the review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, Swarm holds an approval rating of 85%, based on 54 critic reviews, with an average rating of 7.6/10. The website's critics consensus reads, "Swarm can be as unpleasant as a hornet sting, but Dominique Fishback's ferocious performance and the creators' bold creative swings add up to a truly subversive take on toxic fandom."[17] Metacritic, which uses a weighted average, has assigned the series a score of 66 out of 100 based on 26 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews".[18]

At RogerEbert.com, Nick Allen gave the series 3.5 out of 4 stars, calling it a "blood-splattered pop culture provocation" that "plays out like a funhouse mirror reflection of very real, however bizarre, trending topics of the recent past." He also wrote that Donald Glover's directorial pilot episode was "terrific" and that "the series' satire is all the more heartbreaking and compulsively watchable because of [Dominique] Fishback's dedication to every facet of Dre."[19]

TVLine named Fishback the "Performer of the Week" for the week of March 25, 2023, for her performance in the seventh and final episode "Only God Makes Happy Endings". The site wrote, "Fishback gets a shot at the spotlight and knocks it out of the park, blowing us away with a fascinating portrait of a obsessive fan who gets pushed over the edge and goes off on a deranged killing spree. Fishback was phenomenal throughout the series, but she saved the very best for Swarm's final episode, shape-shifting before our eyes to show us yet another layer to Dre."[20]


  1. ^ Mantilla, Ryan Louis (March 21, 2023). "Billie Eilish Reflects on Acting Debut in 'Swarm' With Behind-the-Scenes Images". Collider. Retrieved April 1, 2023.
  2. ^ a b c Chapman, Wilson (February 24, 2023). "'Swarm' Trailer: Donald Glover Takes on Stan Culture in Amazon Horror Comedy". IndieWire. Retrieved February 28, 2023.
  3. ^ Delgado, Sara (March 20, 2023). "Swarm Co-Creator Says Malia Obama Had "Wild as Hell" Ideas for Prime Video Series". Teen Vogue. Retrieved April 1, 2023.
  4. ^ Pulliam-Moore, Charles (March 17, 2023). "Amazon's Swarm is so close to being brilliant". The Verge. Retrieved April 1, 2023.
  5. ^ Seale, Jack (March 17, 2023). "Swarm review – Donald Glover's Beyoncé-inspired serial killer satire is cold and dull". The Guardian. Retrieved March 22, 2023.
  6. ^ Lowry, Brian (March 17, 2023). "'Swarm' delivers a stinging satire about excessive fandom". CNN. Retrieved March 22, 2023.
  7. ^ a b c d e Desta, Yohana (January 30, 2022). "Swarm: Donald Glover's Beyoncé-Inspired New Series Has Notes of Don Draper and Murder". Vanity Fair. Retrieved May 1, 2022.
  8. ^ a b Remley, Hilary (January 30, 2023). "First 'Swarm' Images Introduce Dominique Fishback and Chloe Bailey in Donald Glover's New Series". Collider. Retrieved February 1, 2023.
  9. ^ Petski, Denise (February 17, 2021). "Donald Glover Inks Overall Deal With Amazon Studios". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved February 1, 2023.
  10. ^ Goldberg, Lesley (February 17, 2021). "Donald Glover Sets Rich Amazon Overall Deal (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved February 1, 2023.
  11. ^ Sharf, Zack (March 25, 2022). "Donald Glover Confirms Malia Obama in Writers' Room of New Show: 'Her Writing Style Is Great'". Variety. Retrieved February 1, 2023.
  12. ^ Brathwaite, Lester Fabian (January 31, 2023). "Donald Glover's new show, Swarm, is like 'a sister to Atlanta' — and dangerously in love with Beyoncé". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved February 1, 2023.
  13. ^ White, Peter (April 14, 2022). "Dominique Fishback Set As Lead In Amazon's Donald Glover & Janine Nabers Series". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved May 1, 2022.
  14. ^ Renshaw, David (March 17, 2023). "Donald Glover shares soundtrack to new show Swarm". The Fader.
  15. ^ Hussey, Allison (March 17, 2023). "Donald Glover's Swarm Series EP Soundtrack Released: Listen". Pitchfork.
  16. ^ D'Alessandro, Anthony (February 1, 2023). "SXSW Second Wave Includes UAR's 'Bottoms', Donald Glover's 'Swarm' Series, Michelle Yeoh's 'American Born Chinese' & More". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved February 1, 2023.
  17. ^ "Swarm: Season 1". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango Media. Retrieved March 25, 2023.
  18. ^ "Swarm: Season 1". Metacritic. Fandom, Inc. Retrieved March 25, 2023.
  19. ^ Allen, Nick (March 17, 2023). "Swarm movie review & film summary (2023)". RogerEbert.com. Retrieved March 18, 2023.
  20. ^ "The TVLine Performer of the Week: Dominique Fishback". TVLine. March 25, 2023. Retrieved March 27, 2023.

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