Netflix is second only to Adult Swim when it comes to unusual animated fare and with this latest series it seems like they’re trying to take the crown from them, it’s certainly something you’d never see on a mainstream channel. It’s unlikely to happen though as rather unfortunately this first episode of The Midnight Gospel is one of the most irritating things I’ve ever seen, a dull one note discussion that offers up very little that’s original or even vaguely interesting.
A kind of surreal spin on Ready Player One the series sees our bored hero Clancy (Duncan Trussell, who co-created the show with Adventure Time’s Pendleton Ward) go in to a virtual reality simulator and explore a number of Earths, with him starting off in one which is going through a zombie apocalypse at the time. After meeting with the President (Trussell again) rather than fighting the undead with him Clancy just gets in to a conversation about medical marijuana, in what’s initially a vaguely thoughtful exploration of the substance, even if it’s a little light on the downsides of the drug.
As the president continues to shoot zombies from the White House roof the rambling conversation carries on as they discuss benzos and the idea of good drugs and bad drugs, and how it’s the relationship humans have with drugs that is the issue. It’s a nice enough idea and watchable for a few minutes, but it’s a joke they stretch painfully thin and after five minutes I was hoping they’d move on and do something a little more inventive.
Unfortunately that doesn’t happen, and there’s just more dull discourse on how different drugs effect people. The visuals become more appealing as they leave The White House and do battle against various zombies, but the conversation becomes utterly tedious as Clancy starts rambling about mindfulness and the discussion becomes blander and blander by the second. It does have one great idea at the end when we get to see life from the perspective of a zombie, but it doesn’t make up for the tedious bullshit that came before.
It’s frustrating as initially it’s vaguely watchable and the idea of two people having a conversation against bizarre visuals is a decent one, but it quickly became a case of being forced to listen to two people (or in this case, one person pretending to be two) ramble on for twenty minutes, and though I don’t necessarily disagree with some of their views it got to the point where I was moaning “Oh for god’s sake just shut the fuck up” at the screen.
Perhaps if these arguments or suggestions hadn’t been made countless times before it might have been more involving, but these are tiresome, lazy observations, and it soon felt like being stuck talking to a stoner at a party who follows you from room to room never letting you escape, and though he thinks he’s saying something truly original and fascinating rather frustratingly the opposite applies.