The Midnight Gospel follows Clancy, a video podcast host in space or 'spacecaster' who travels to different planet simulations by putting his head inside a yonic machine. In his out-of-this-world adventures, he gets to interview strange creatures who'd give their two cents in real worldly matters about life, death, religion, and some socio-political issues. It is an eight-part animated series created by Pendleton Ward (Adventure Time) and Duncan Trussell (Duncan Trussell Family Hour podcast), with guest characters voiced with real-life pundits on each episode’s topic.
Watch this if you:
want a fresh take on R-rated cartoons. It has vulgarity, gore, and dark humor, but there’s more than just the common concoction of adult animation. It’s a psychedelic cartoon-podcast hybrid that’ll give you those easy laughs while putting the characters’ deep conversations at the forefront of the show. It’s as if Rick & Morty were onto a serious spiritual journey in scenarios that are equally-uncanny to their typical adventures; or if the Bojack Horseman world got bonkers but their reflective thoughts on life remained.
What I think:
It was nothing I expected. Having known that it was from the creator of Adventure Time, I have anticipated a great deal of weirdness distinct to the Cartoon Network show, but this time, with no holds barred. Yet lo and behold, what I thought would be a good pastime of a show actually begged for my focus and attention more than other serious dramas out there. It takes the typical R-rated cartoon, winds down the humor, puts the weirdness to a booming level, and sets its reflective messages at full blast.
The visuals are impressive and aesthetically pleasing with the use of vibrant colors and stunning gradients, while the simply bizarre character designs kept my eyes curious and engaged. On the other hand, Clancy's conversations with his spacecast guests are just so topical and ruminative, that the show’s dialogue felt distracting to the visuals, and vice versa. But this is also why this show can thrive on its platform, Netflix. It has so many symbolically-driven sequences that look random at first glance, but could actually relate to the spacecast guest's dialogue. So instead of a straight binge-watching sesh, you'll want to give each episode a rewatch or two, before you can better appreciate the show's full potential.
The Midnight Gospel is now streaming on Netflix. Stream it here.