Podcasts are one of the best sources of entertaining and informative conversations. The audio-only format is in itself the advantage of the medium, but I never knew how much I needed to see a visual adaptation of one until I saw Midnight Gospel.
Created by Adventure Time creator Pendleton Ward and comedian Duncan Trussell, the animated show follows the main character Clancy Gilroy as he interviews a series of special characters. The story is set on a mind-bending dimension where multiple universes are technologically connected. Every episode is based from Trussell’s podcast and explores thought-provoking topics such as drugs and meditation, death, identity, existential dread, and more.
The contrast between Clancy’s serious conversations and the trippy animation is a charming one that adds depth to each episode. Not only do you engage with the characters’ thought process, but also form a connection with every newly introduced world since they each have their own story occurring simultaneously with Clancy’s interviews.
One of my favorite episodes presents Clancy’s encounter with a female knight, Trudy, in a medieval-style world. Trudy’s boyfriend is killed by an evil witch and Clancy follows her on a quest for revenge, while interviewing her on the topic of love. The episode proceeds to show Trudy’s actions as a secondary plot point to her and Clancy’s discussion on intimacy and the importance of valuing your time with others, regardless of how much you have left with them.
Adult animation is not for everyone, but Midnight Gospel is a great introduction to the freedom of expression encountered in such shows. Without the limits of realities, the characters and worlds shine without diverting from the real purpose of the show ¾ reflecting on the idea of self-determination, identity, and ephemeral life.
A Netflix original with 10 episodes of approximately 25 minutes each, Midnight Gospel is an animated gem that explores heavy topics in a unique approach without ever downplaying them.