Freeform is diving into the wellness industry with their new four-part docuseries The Deep End, which centers on one of the most controversial online spiritual gurus out there. The new trailer for the series gives viewers a glimpse of the influence of Teal Swan and how she tiptoes the line between online spiritual influencer and cult leader. Directed by Jon Kasbe, the series is set to premiere on the network on May 18 at 10 p.m. ET.
In the trailer, we’re introduced to Swan and her incredible grasp on her followers. Her most ardent devotees hang on her every word and action, even her bizarre channeling process which she claims is a vastly powerful tool. They get tattoos of her and claim her as a savior akin to Jesus for how she speaks on mental health and finding wellness in your life. Those that get closest to her practically worship her and will go to absurd lengths to follow her teachings to the letter. While so many find her uplifting, authorities find it all troubling. Swan‘s influence comes off as that of a cult leader preying on those that feel they don’t belong.
The worst fears of those who think Swan is running a cult are really tested in the trailer. Swan is incredibly ambitious, talking about eventually becoming a more influential spiritual figure than the Pope. What really gives up the game is the line that inspired the title, “If you want to come within 50 miles of me, you better be ready for the deepest end of the pool,” which definitely paints the influencer as one to pull her followers deeper into more dangerous activities as they devote themselves to her. Considering that one former subscriber to her teachings described being so under her spell he’d be willing to murder someone, it’s really building towards Swan as a modern-day cult leader.
Kasbe has been a prominent film festival fixture, racking up a number of awards and nominations for his documentaries and shorts including an Emmy win for his film Heartbeats of Fiji in 2013. Since 2021, he’s also been a talent director on The Talk and has another documentary on the way later this year in Sophia. Joining him for The Deep End is producer Bits Sola and executive producers Tom Yellin and Gabrielle Tenenbaum of The Documentary Group.
Here’s the official synopsis for the docuseries:
“The Deep End” is an arresting and provocative exploration inside the world of one of today’s most controversial spiritual teachers and her dedicated followers. Filmed over three years with unprecedented access, it is an unflinching portrayal of an unregulated wellness industry, and the incredible lengths people will go to in their search for connection.
The Deep End debuts on Freeform on May 18. Check out the trailer below to see Swan‘s grasp on the people who follow her teachings.