Servant of the People (2015 TV series)

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Servant of the People
Servant of the People poster
GenrePolitical satire
Comedy
Created byVolodymyr Zelenskyy
Starring
Theme music composerDmytro Shurov
Composer
  • Andriy Kiryuschenko
Country of originUkraine
Original languagesRussian
Ukrainian
No. of seasons3
No. of episodes51
Production
Executive producer
  • Volodymyr Zelenskyy
Producers
Production locationsKyiv, Ukraine
Running time40—90 minutes
Production company
Original release
Network1+1
Release16 November 2015 (2015-11-16) –
28 March 2019 (2019-03-28)

Servant of the People (Ukrainian: Слуга народу, romanizedSluha narodu, Russian: Слуга народа, romanizedSluga naroda), sometimes also known as Servant of the Nation, is a Ukrainian political satire comedy television series created and produced by Volodymyr Zelenskyy, who stars as Vasily Petrovych Goloborodko, a high-school history teacher in his thirties who is unexpectedly elected President of Ukraine after a viral video filmed by one of his students shows him making a profane rant against government corruption in his country.[1][2][3] The series ran for three seasons from 2015 to 2019, and a film adaptation was released in 2016.[4]

The series was produced by Kvartal 95, which was founded by Zelenskyy.[5] It would become much more involved in Ukraine's actual politics; in 2018, a political party named after the television series was registered,[6] and Zelenskyy was elected president of Ukraine in 2019.[7]

Plot[edit]

After being filmed by a student engaged in a profane rant about corruption in Ukraine and the student uploading the footage to YouTube, Vasily Petrovych Goloborodko (Volodymyr Zelenskyy), an absent-minded high-school history teacher who lives with his parents, turns into an Internet sensation overnight. Goloborodko's students launch a crowdfunding campaign for registering his candidacy in Ukraine's presidential race unbeknownst to him, eventually propelling their flabbergasted teacher to political victory as the new president of Ukraine. While in office, Vasily is confused at his newfound responsibilities, but gradually eases into his presidential duties and decides to weed out corruption by the oligarchy in his government.[8][9]

Cast and characters[edit]

Volodymyr Zelenskyy, the current President of Ukraine, portrayed President Vasily Goloborodko and Grisha in the series
Actor / actress Role(s) Note Seasons
1 (2015) 2 (2017) 3 (2019)
Volodymyr Zelenskyy Vasily Petrovych Goloborodko,
Grisha
A high school history teacher in his thirties who is unexpectedly elected President of Ukraine, following a rant against government corruption in his country secretly filmed by one of his students.

Zelenskyy also portrays Grisha, a government employee who received plastic surgery to serve as Goloborodko's body double.

Main
Stanislav Boklan Yuriy Ivanovich Chuiko A corrupt politician who serves as the Prime Minister of Ukraine and is later exposed as an ally of the oligarchs. Main
Yevhen Koshovy Serhiy Viktorovich Mukhin The Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine and a former actor. Main
Olena Kravets Olha Yuriyivna Mishchenko Vasily's ex-wife and the director of the National Bank of Ukraine. She later becomes acting Prime Minister. Main
Yury Krapov [ru; uk] Mikhaylo Ivanovich Sanin The Minister of Fiscal Affairs of Ukraine. Main
Mykhailo Fatalov [ru; uk] Mikhail Ashotovich Tasunyan The head of the Ukrainian Secret Service (SBU) Main
Oleksandr Pikalov [Wikidata] Ivan Andreyevich Skorik The Minister of Defence of Ukraine and a former navy captain. Main
Viktor Saraykin [ru; uk] Petro Vassilyevich Goloborodko Vasily's father Main
Kateryna Kisten [ru; uk] Svetlana Petrovna Sakhno Vasily's sister and briefly first deputy of the Ukrainian tax service. Main
Nataliya Sumska Mariya Stefanovna Goloborodko Vasily's mother Main Minor
Olha Zhukovtsova-Kyiashko [uk] Oksana Skovoroda Mukhin's secretary. Minor Main
Heorhiy Povolotskyy Tolya The Chief of Security and a bodyguard who is initially part of Vasily's security detail before he is dismissed after Vasily regards the detail as unnecessary to his work. Minor Main
Dmytro Surzhykov Dmitry Vasilyevich Surikov Prime Minister of Ukraine, former chairman of the supervisory board of the National Bank Minor Main
Halyna Bezruk (Season 1)
Anastasia Chepelyuk (Season 2)
Anna Mikhailovna The General Adviser to the President, a former specialist of the Development Department, and Vasily's mistress, who is exposed as an ally of the oligarchs.
Anna Koshmal [Wikidata] Natasha Sakhno The niece of Vasily Goloborodko
Valentyna Ishchenko Bella Rudolfivna Secretary of Vasily Goloborodko
Stepan Kazanin Speechwriter Assistant to Vasily Goloborodko

Minor roles[edit]

Actor / actress Role Note
Oleksiy Kiryushchenko Sergei Pavlovich Former president
Tetyana Pechonkina Nina Yegorivna Tretyak Former teacher of Goloborodko, former head of the SBU
Yuriy Hrebelnyk Plato
Oleksiy Vertinsky Sergey Susseldorf Designer (Episode 5) / Louis XVI (Episode 20)
Oleh Maslennykov Oligarch Oligarch
Olena Bondareva-Repina Raisa Andriivna School principal
Oleksiy Smolka Serhiy Leonidovych Karasyuk Leader of the faction
Anastasiya Karpenko Yana Klymenko Opposition journalist
Mykhailo August Andriy Volodymyrovych Yakovlev Minister of Culture
Danilo Oskin Mykhailo Semenovych Oligarch
Vitaliy Ivanchenko Vitaliy Romanchenko MP from the Dobrobut faction
Rinat Khabibulin Dima Vasily's son
Oleksandr Danylchenko Nikolay Pavlovich Pilipenko Chief of ZhEK
Alexander Ignatusha Judge/Monk Sebastian Judge/Monk
Nazar Zadniprovskyy
Andriy Romaniy Host of political talk show
Dmytro Melenevsky Karasyuk's bodyguard
Andriy Danylko Verka Serduchka Ukrainian pop singer
Darya Pitsul Journalist

Episodes[edit]

Season 1[edit]

Season 2: From Love to Impeachment[edit]

Season 3: Choice[edit]

Development[edit]

Production[edit]

  • Concept: Volodymyr Zelenskyy, Andriy Yakovlev, Oleksiy Kiryushchenko, Serhiy Shefir, Borys Shefir
  • Scriptwriters: Andriy Yakovlev, Oleksiy Kiryushchenko, Yuriy Kostyuk, Yuriy Mykulenko, Dmytro Hryhorenko, Mykhailo Savin, Dmytro Kozlov, Oleksandr Bragin
  • Directed by: Oleksiy Kiryushchenko
  • Cinematographer: Serhiy Koshel
  • Production designer: Vadim Shinkaryov
  • Composer: Andriy Kiryushchenko
  • Soundtrack: Dmitry Shurov, Potap and Nastya
  • Make-up artist: Nina Kremeshna-Lavrinenko
  • Costume designer: Veronika Yatsenko
  • Executive producer: Victor Yarish
  • Creative producer: Yuri Kostyuk
  • Producers: Volodymyr Zelenskyy, Borys Shefir, Serhiy Shefir, Andriy Yakovlev, Oleksiy Kiryushchenko

Release[edit]

Servant of the People aired on the 1+1 channel in Ukraine.[1] The studio also posted all episodes for free on YouTube.[2] The first season of the show was added to Netflix in select countries in 2017.[2] Sometime in 2021 Netflix lost licensing rights. In March 2022, after the Russian invasion of Ukraine began, Netflix re-licensed the first season, and in May 2022 added the second and third seasons for 33+ countries.[10][11] The Netflix release combines the first two episodes into one in both season one and two, resulting in 23 episodes instead of 24 for both seasons.[12]

Belarusian TV channel Belarus-1 started broadcasting the show in evening prime time on 11 November 2019.[13]

The Russian channel TNT aired the pilot episode of the show's first series on 11 December 2019, claiming it did so as "a marketing move to raise awareness of the platform".[13] TNT cut a scene from the episode in which president-elect Goloborodko asked if Russian President Vladimir Putin wore a Hublot watch, a joke referring to a well-known anti-Putin chant in Ukraine.[14]

In the United States, HITN presents the series in a Spanish language version.[15] Jewish Life Television carries the series in its original Russian and Ukrainian languages, with English subtitles.[16]

Sequels[edit]

A film adaptation of the series, Servant of the People 2, was released in 2016. The second season used footage from the film to expand on its plot and was released in 2017, bringing the film into the series' main continuity.[17] The third season was released in 2019.

Impact[edit]

2019[edit]

Zelenskyy would later mirror his character's rise to political power in being elected President of Ukraine in 2019. After his victory was announced, Zelenskyy walked onto the stage at his campaign headquarters with the show's theme playing.[18]

2022[edit]

In the wake of the 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine and Zelenskyy's wartime leadership, the show's popularity received a notable boost. Broadcasting rights have been requested by various foreign companies.[19] On March 16, Netflix announced that season 1 of the series would be available to US streamers again due to popular demand.[20][21][22] On May 16, Netflix added seasons 2 and 3.[10]

Broadcasting rights[edit]

During 2022, Zelenskyy won widespread admiration as a resistance figure against Russia and Putin, leading to the series becoming more popular in turn. Foreign broadcasting companies have sought to air Servant of the People on their own channels.

Remakes[edit]

An American remake was ordered by Hulu, with British writer Simon Farnaby involved in its development, though the show was scrapped when Donald Trump became the 45th president of the United States.[46]

After the premiere of the original show, the rights to make Poland-based remake were bought by Okil Khamidov, however no studio wanted to pick it up. In 2022, in the wake of the Russian invasion of Ukraine and Zelenskyy's wartime leadership, the original show's popularity received a notable boost internationally. Considering that Polsat had picked up the remake. The show, titled Servant of the People, was premiered on 4 March 2023. It was created by Okil Khamidov, and directed by Khamidov and Maciej Bieliński. It was made by Polot Media, and distributed by Polsat. Currently it has one season of 24 episodes, and a second season is in production.[47][48] The first episode of the series was sent by Khamidov to Volodymyr Zelenskyy, who reportedly liked it, and was glad that the series was finally made, after years of attempts.[49]

See also[edit]

  • Man of the Year (2006), American film with a similar concept, starring Robin Williams as a talk show host who is elected president following an offhanded remark.
  • Welcome Mr. President (2013), Italian film with similar concept, starring Claudio Bisio as a librarian who is elected president due to a joke vote.
  • Nayak: The Real Hero - 2001 Indian Hindi-language political action film in which a TV journalist is challenged to take over the Chief Minister's job for a day.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Jacobsen, Katherine (13 December 2016). "How a Fictional President Is Helping Ukrainians Rethink Their Absurd Politics". Foreign Policy. Retrieved 25 August 2017.
  2. ^ a b c Kao, Anthony (6 June 2017). "Ukraine's 'Servant of the People' is a hidden gem of political comedy". Cinema Escapist. Retrieved 25 August 2017.
  3. ^ Kao, Anthony (22 August 2017). "Interview: Vladimir Zelenskiy on playing Ukraine's president in 'Servant of the People'". Cinema Escapist. Retrieved 25 August 2017.
  4. ^ "Sluga naroda". iMDB. 16 October 2015. Retrieved 20 March 2022.
  5. ^ Jacobsen, Katherine (13 December 2016). "How a Fictional President Is Helping Ukrainians Rethink Their Absurd Politics". Foreign Policy. Retrieved 25 August 2017.
  6. ^ "Минюст зарегистрировал партию 'Слуга народа'" [The Ministry of Justice registered the party 'Servant of the People']. Ukrainian News Agency (in Russian). 26 April 2018.
  7. ^ Wilson, Jennifer (26 April 2019). "Ukraine Elected a Sitcom Star President. His Show Tells Us What to Expect". Slate. Retrieved 20 December 2019.
  8. ^ Heritage, Stuart (7 March 2022). "Zelenskiy's Servant of the People: the TV show that made Ukraine's president". The Guardian. Retrieved 20 March 2022.
  9. ^ McFarland, Melanie (18 March 2022). "'Servant of the People' is an example of a politician living up to the promise he plays out on TV". Salon. Retrieved 20 March 2022.
  10. ^ a b Moore, Kasey (24 April 2022). "'Servant of the People' Seasons 2 & 3 Coming to Netflix in May 2022". What's on Netflix. Archived from the original on 24 April 2022. Retrieved 31 July 2022.
  11. ^ "Netflix Global Search on uNoGS". Retrieved 31 July 2022.
  12. ^ "Zelensky's 'Servant of the People' Returns to Netflix". Newsweek. 16 March 2022. Retrieved 18 April 2022.
  13. ^ a b "'Слуга народу'" в Росії: після вирізаного жарту про Путіна серіал зняли з ефіру" ["Servant of the People" in Russia: after the cut joke about Putin the series was removed from the air]. Ukrayinska Pravda (in Ukrainian). 11 December 2019.
  14. ^ "Russian TV abruptly pulls Zelenskiy's sitcom after cutting Putin joke". Deutsche Welle. 12 December 2019. Retrieved 20 December 2019.
  15. ^ "HITN Estrena La Icónica Serie "Servidor Del Pueblo" protagonizada por el Presidente Ucraniano Volodymyr Zelensky" [HITN premieres iconic "Servant Of The People" series starring Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky]. HITN (in Spanish). 29 March 2022. Retrieved 9 April 2022.
  16. ^ "Servant of the People". JLTV. Retrieved 25 October 2022.
  17. ^ "Ukrainian political comedy series 'Servant of the People' Season 2 will be released in October 2017". kvartal95.com.
  18. ^ Walker, Shaun; Roth, Andrew (7 March 2020). "Volodymyr Zelenskiy: 'My White House invitation? I was told it's being prepared'". The Guardian. Retrieved 21 June 2022.
  19. ^ Roberto, Melissa (3 March 2022). "Comedy series starring Ukrainian President Zelenskyy gets boost in popularity". Fox News. Retrieved 3 March 2022.
  20. ^ @Netflix (16 March 2022). "Netflix: You asked and it's back!" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  21. ^ Whitten, Sarah (16 March 2022). "Netflix makes Volodymyr Zelenskyy's show 'Servant of the People' available to U.S. streamers". CNBC. Retrieved 20 March 2022.
  22. ^ Weprin, Alex (16 March 2022). "Netflix to Stream Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky's 'Servant of the People'". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 20 March 2022.
  23. ^ Fantinato, Giovanna (19 April 2022). "Servo do Povo: série com presidente da Ucrânia chegará ao HBO Max". TecMundo (in Portuguese). Retrieved 19 April 2022.
  24. ^ "Eксклузивно: Нова Броудкастинг Груп ще представи в България хитовия сериал "Слуга на народа" с участието на Володимир Зеленски" [Exclusive: Nova Broadcasting Group will present in Bulgaria the hit series "Servant of the People" with the participation of Vladimir Zelenski]. nova.bg (in Bulgarian). Retrieved 6 April 2022.
  25. ^ "Servant of the People". www.visiontv.ca. Retrieved 1 April 2022.
  26. ^ Liiv, Urmas Eero (22 March 2022). "TV3 toob eetrisse Ukraina komöödiasarja 'Rahva teener'" [TV3 broadcasts Ukrainian comedy series 'Servant of the People']. TV3 Eesti (in Estonian).
  27. ^ В свободном вещании теперь восемь каналов: добавился 3+ [There are now eight channels in free broadcasting: 3+ has been added]. Эстония (in Russian). 1 April 2022. Retrieved 1 April 2022.
  28. ^ "Yle näyttää Ukrainan presidentin Volodymyr Zelenskyin tähdittämän tv-sarjan" [Yle shows a TV series starring Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy]. Yle Uutiset (in Finnish). 15 March 2022.
  29. ^ "Serviteur du peuple – Séries et fictions" [Servant of the People – Series and fiction]. ARTE (in French).
  30. ^ a b c d e Roberto, Melissa (3 March 2022). "Comedy series starring Ukrainian President Zelenskyy gets boost in popularity". Fox News.
  31. ^ "Diener des Volkes – Fernsehfilme und Serien" [Servant of the People – TV movie and series]. ARTE (in German).
  32. ^ 'Υπηρέτης του Λαού': προβολή στον ΑΝΤ1 της σειράς του Ζελένσκι ['Servant of the People': ANT1 broadcast of Zelensky's series]. antenna.gr (in Greek). Retrieved 1 April 2022.
  33. ^ Πρεμιέρα για τον Υπηρέτη του Λαού: Τι τηλεθέαση έκανε η σειρά του Ζελένσκι [Premiere for the Servant of the People: What audience ratings the TV series starring Zelensky performed]. dikaiologitika.gr (in Greek). Retrieved 8 March 2022.
  34. ^ "Az RTL Klubra érkezik Volodimir Zelenszkij vígjátéksorozata" [Volodymyr Zelensky's comedy series arrives at RTL Klub]. rtl.hu (in Hungarian). 10 March 2022. Retrieved 1 April 2022.
  35. ^ Servant of the People – Prossimamte Su LA7 [Servant of the People – Coming Soon on LA7] (in Italian), retrieved 1 April 2022
  36. ^ Martínez, Alonso (20 May 2022). "Servidor del Pueblo: la serie del presidente de Ucrania ya está en Netflix y HBO". GQ Latin America (in Spanish). Retrieved 27 June 2022.
  37. ^ "Seriāls 'Tautas kalps': ko tas atklāj par Zelenski un Ukrainu" [TV series 'Servant of the People': what it reveals about Zelenskyy and Ukraine]. TV3 (in Latvian). 23 March 2022.
  38. ^ Gonçalves, Bruna (24 March 2022). "Série cómica de Zelensky vai mesmo chegar a Portugal (e só o trailer faz rir até doer a barriga)" [Zelensky's comic series will even come to Portugal (and the trailer alone will make you laugh until your belly hurts)]. MAGG (in Portuguese). Retrieved 20 April 2022.
  39. ^ "Markíza odvysiela komediálny seriál s ukrajinským prezidentom Zelenským" [Markíza broadcasts a comedy series with Ukrainian President Zelenskyy]. Živé (in Slovak). 17 March 2022.
  40. ^ "Serija, s katero je zaslovel Volodimir Zelenski, tudi na VOYO" [The series which made Volodimir Zelenskyy famous, also on VOYO]. 24ur.com (in Slovenian). 14 April 2022.
  41. ^ "Mediaset España adquiere los derechos de emisión de 'Servidor del pueblo', la serie que lanzó la carrera política del presidente ucraniano" [Mediaset España acquires the broadcasting rights for 'Servant of the People', the series that launched the political career of the Ukrainian president]. Mediaset (in Spanish). 17 March 2022.
  42. ^ "SVT visar Zelenskyjs serie 'Folkets tjänare'" [SVT shows Zelenskyy's series 'Servant of the People']. Dagens Nyheter (in Swedish). 29 March 2022.
  43. ^ "Ramadan 2022: La série du président Ukrainien Volodymyr Zelensky sera diffusée sur Hannibal TV" [Ramadan 2022: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky's series will air on Hannibal TV]. Tekiano (in French). 7 March 2022.
  44. ^ Kemp, Ellie (6 March 2022). "How to watch Servant of the People comedy series in full in the UK". Manchester Evening News.
  45. ^ "Servant of the People - All 4". Channel 4. Retrieved 20 March 2022.
  46. ^ "Kermode and Mayo's Film Review - Simon Farnaby, The Phantom of the Open, Paris 13th District, Master, X, Deep Water and Three Floors". BBC Sounds. 18 March 2022.
  47. ^ "Polsat stawia na "Sługę Narodu". Ruszają zdjęcia do drugiej serii". wirtualnemedia.pl (in Polish). 14 June 2023.
  48. ^ "Polsat podjął decyzję. Wiadomo, co dalej ze "Sługą Narodu"". teleshow.wp.pl (in Polish). 14 June 2023.
  49. ^ "Zelensky praises Polish version of 'Servant of the People'". polskieradio.pl. 5 March 2023.

External links[edit]