I’d like to think that there’s going to be a group of kids or teenagers that heard that Pendleton Ward, the creator of Adventure Time, was making a new series and they were going to watch it expecting the same kind of wackiness that Adventure Time embodied so well. And then they decided to watch this trailer and their minds would begin to melt. The Midnight Gospel has been on my radar for months now but as we’re approaching its Netflix release, we were finally given an in depth look at the show and it’s… something I don’t think any of us were expecting.
I know this was never supposed to be an extension of what Ward previously covered in Adventure Time, but I’m shocked at just how different it is from that show. Sure, elements are similar towards material covered in later seasons, but The Midnight Gospel is the next level. With questions about the nature of life, death, and reality itself floating casually in the trailer, I fully expect there to be several episodes that are less wacky escapades and more deep existential discussions on humanity.
As far as the animation goes, this feels less like a regurgitation of what Adventure Time did and more like an homage to strange 70’s experimental animation. There are some serious Felix the Cat and Yellow Submarine vibes from the surrealness of it all, but I’m more reminded of the works of Ralph Bakshi than anything else. Bakshi was always more interested in exploring the adult side of animation (hi Cool World) and this feels like a spiritual successor to his work.
The Midnight Gospel will release on Netflix on April 20th, 2020.