'The Midnight Gospel' by Duncan Trussell Review: A creative show with very deep themes

in Movies & TV Shows15 days ago

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When we think of television shows or movies that take place within simulated realities, they're often met with incredibly attractive worlds rich in culture, fantasy, and still maintaining some relevance to our own reality: apartments, cities, humans, and ultimately some form of a civilised society in which general peace has been achieved. We can take reference to the many installments of science fiction which have introduced the concepts of cyberspace to us.

This is stronger than ever, in fact, as even our own reality is making great lengths to suddenly pursue alternate realities under the guise of a metaverse structure where we escape our daily lives, but not really, in effort to transcend into beings that rely less on nature, and more on that of which doesn't exist. But in the case of The Midnight Gospel: what even is existence? It's seemingly quite rare that a show even asks such a question, and even more rare that one takes the concept of alternate realities, and twists them into what you can easily describe as absolute nightmare fuel.

Though, what is a nightmare? What does it mean to perceive a nightmare? Is there a deeper meaning to that concept or are we really just floating along carried by chemical reactions that ultimately serve no purpose? Now, what if you can alter that assumption of a lack of purpose by manipulating that very perception and turn it into something more positive, perhaps motivation to pursue something you've always wanted but never tried to?

These are the questions The Midnight Gospel doesn't just ask, but seeks out an answer for. By exchanging the words from the many characters our protagonist encounters in these strange, sometimes rather disturbing worlds in which he visits, each with a different body.

The Midnight Gospel

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I didn't know this to begin with, but I certainly had some curiosity: The Midnight Gospel's conversations are recorded from a podcast, with snippets of conversations removed and then a narrative made around them. Though, each narrative is more a visual mess of cartoonish horrors and oddities. Somehow, they can display a connection, albeit either literal or more metaphorical, to the conversation and topic at hand.

I really enjoyed this, since it never really felt like it was trying to tell you a story. Instead, the visuals are simply there just to keep your eyes busy while the main aspect of the show can be digested: the audio. It was really creative how in one episode detailing the concept of whether drugs are bad or whether it's simply our own perception of them that is bad, while the conversation was with the president as the two fight through a zombie outbreak; though in the end we see that the zombies weren't actually trying to cause harm, but instead offer everyone a new perspective of reality in which there's no more pain to be felt.

The real killers were instead those shooting them down and attacking them. Though we never really notice this issue until the very end. I found this to be quite an interesting take on the concept of drugs, where they're simply chemicals that exist within our world, but we've made them illegal despite their many uses in both medicine and people's understanding of their own existence and consciousness. The episode didn't just refer to these positives, but instead took a look into the political issues that have resulted in this consideration that all drugs are inherently evil.

Each episode has a similar structure to this. Where there's a topic at hand that's quite complex. One that takes many years and private experiences to have an opinion on. These opinions lightly clash with agreements and disagreements as they form a larger understanding together regarding the topic. There's plenty of spiritual discussions that handle the average person's way of thinking and how we can change our we act and think for the greater good of not only our own society, but the health of ourselves.

With each episode, we see a different topic regarding some aspect of life and the universe we're in. Even with the animation, it still very much feels like a podcast. It's very dreamlike which I believe contributes to the general themes of expanding the mind's knowledge of both itself and surroundings.

Philosophical influences

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Given the nature of each episode's dialogue, there's often heavy discussions that take pages out of general philosophy. But there's very little philosophy that's discussed and will result in any confusion. After all, often enough when people discuss philosophy, they're more likely to throw names around rather than go into great detail of the many thoughts such names had.

This makes the show very easy to follow. The dialogue is gentle, but doesn't shy away from telling you the truth about certain aspects of life. It's almost rather therapeutic. It pulls you in with the questions each episode asks and makes you want more from it. I actually had the thought of checking out th actual podcast episodes in search for more content like it, as I felt intrigued by its concepts.

While each episode is just snippets from a podcast, there's heavy philosophical influence in the discussions they're having. It felt rather inspiring as it opens up your mind to these very subjects we all face in our daily lives. And while philosophical subjects can be rather exhausting to most, each episode felt more like you were part of this discussion rather than attending a lecture.

Even if such subjects aren't really your thing, you can still listen in and learn from what's being discussed. All while taking in the strange, rather haunting at times visuals.

The personality behind The Midnight Gospel

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I don't really enjoy animated shows much. But I found myself heavily interested in The Midnight Gospel for its very authentic nature. You weren't simply listening in to voice actors reading a script, but instead listening to real people. It seperated the feeling of fiction alongside the imagery it had. Where we could hear and feel emotion in the voices that you knew were from real experiences in life.

Through this, you felt an actual connection to what was being discussed. You could feel the humanity in their words. Even at times it gets rather personal for them; particularly in the final episode in which our host talks to his dying mother about life and death, discussing the concepts of loss, love, and the universe. This episode comes out of nowhere, but it's such a powerful and incredible episode to end the show on after numerous episodes which discuss very similar emotions and events in life leading up to this.

I don't think the show would've had such a similar impact in the event that the entirety of it was scripted, with voice actors. I feel its subjects wouldn't have had such strength nor would they have been as engaging. As mentioned prior: the show simply didn't feel like the attending of a lecture.

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Amazing concept, perfect execution, one of my favorite Netflix projects

I remember checking it out a long time ago. But for some reason I just couldn't get into the first episode. I didn't last long.

Not sure what was up with that. But having given it an actual chance, yeah it was really good. Something really refreshing from Netflix. I still need to check out the actual podcast too!

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I watched a few episodes and it was a weird trip. I just don't know how people come up with this stuff, but their minds may work differently to mine. It was interesting though. I like to see something different on TV.

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I think the general weirdness of the episodes and their stories just adds to the audio for sure. By being so weird it takes you out of this traditional method of thinking and in a way opens up your mind to the subjects they're discussing. Essentially bringing you out of the reality that you know of and showing you others that are so far from what we can comprehend.

It conditions your mind into opening up to these new ways of thinking that they discuss. It's really creative for that.

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omg hell yes. I watched a few eps on mushrooms once and had a great time. the animation is amazing, and the topics are way deeper than 99% of media out there so it was pretty great to experience. Thanks for reminding me I should probably finish watching cuz I never saw the last 2 or 3 eps.

the topics are way deeper than 99% of media out there

Yeah it's so disappointing to see that most tv shows or films have no interest in implementing such human and complex themes. Usually they're just there to entertain, never really address anything other than politics. It's a shame since subjects like spirituality can offer such diverse range in storytelling. As this one does!

Hmm... Interesting and creative use of podcasts. I'm going to check this out.

Thanks for bringing our attention to this show.

Cheers!