In the past few months indoors, I have not only needed high quality streaming content, but also the desire to be reminded of what it really means to be human. Fortunately for me, Netflix The Midnight Gospel, created by Comedian Duncan Trussell and Adventure timePendleton Ward creates both in an original, visually exciting way and makes it a series that I think everyone should see.
The animated show follows Clancy Gilroy (voiced by Trussell) on his journey into a number of dying worlds and interviews various creatures on his way to his "Spacecast" (the universe version of a podcast) with his faulty multiverse simulator. The show combines real conversations from Trussell's podcast The Duncan Trussell family lesson with trippy graphics that make it both accessible and surreal.
This series serves as a much needed reminder of the parts of life that connect us all, no matter where we are or who we are: love, pain, loss, hope, loneliness and much more.
As Clancy conducts his interviews with strange creatures, they move through imaginative worlds, each with their own ends. The psychedelic-looking images for Trussell and Ward's collaboration can definitely be confusing and sometimes even disturbing, but they're an important part of what makes this show so special. The animations allow each episode to tell almost two intertwined stories at once: one beyond and magical and one vulnerable and familiar, each somehow perfectly balanced with the other.
What I think is the most remarkable quality of The Midnight GospelHowever, it is so incredibly open. In each episode, interesting guests can be seen, such as the author Anne Lamott and the undertaker Caitlin Doughty, whose animated characters experience unimaginable adventures with Clancy and discuss philosophical questions about love, death, meditation and much more.
These conversations between Clancy and the various guests on the show are so vulnerable and authentic that each episode feels like you're listening to an intimate conversation between friends instead of two strangers talking. The way the characters openly discuss issues such as addiction, the meaning of life, and family relationships without dancing about the inevitable discomfort and pain that can go with them is very therapeutic from the viewer's perspective, and even helps normalize these difficult problems and emotions.
At a time of isolation and change, this series serves as a much needed reminder of the parts of life that connect us all, no matter where we are or who we are: love, pain, loss, hope, loneliness and so on much more. For an animated show that takes place in an alternative universe full of unfamiliar, strange looking beings, The Midnight Gospel is one of the most realistic human shows I've seen in a long time, and maybe ever, which is why I think it's definitely a must.