Two new cartoons have premiered in the last three weeks on two different streaming services, each created by masters of the medium. First there's The Midnight Gospel, created by Pendleton Ward, the genius behind Adventure Time, which premiered on Netflix on the 20th of April. The story follows a "spacecaster" (vlogs in spaaaacccceeee) as he interviews the creatures he encounters within computer generated simulations. Second there's Solar Opposites, created by the duo behind Rick and Morty (lick my balls, Marty), Justin Roiland and Mike McMahan, which premiered on Hulu yesterday (May 8th). This story follows a family of aliens who've crash landed on Earth while trying to find a new world to terraform and populate after a disaster has destroyed their home. As a fan of animation and a total geek who is stuck in home I could not be more excited, and I could not wait to get away from the slowly dying cesspool of YouTube (not to mention the "news of the day") with some sorely needed quality content.
I started with Solar Opposites, and I finally have the answer to the question "What would Rick & Morty be like if it was broadcast on Fox between The Simpsons and Family Guy?" Don't get me wrong, it isn't bad, but subverting the family comedy with aliens had already been done to death so the approach comes off as stale. You can even hear Justin trying to get his "comedy in the moment" stream of consciousness thing started but then the network calls and they're back to the formula with a little ultra-violence and the odd curse word for seasoning. After four episodes I was out. And yes I will go back, but I'm glad I stopped because... The Midnight Gospel.
Netflix shows what can happen when you are willing to back any goddamned idea that a production company brings to you. This shotgun approach has filled Netflix with an almost endless supply of dreck, but has also birthed some incredible programming (BoJack Horseman for example). This approach has succeeded again with The Midnight Gospel. Based on the podcast The Duncan Trussell Family Hour, the show is visually imaginative in much the same way as Adventure Time. The semi-experimental design almost brings to life the active surrealism of a Fillmore concert poster, and works beautifully with the content lifted from hour and hours of a comedy/philosophy podcast. It is both insightful and emotional, and manages to achieve that "moment of creation" thing that Solar Opposites wants to do but just isn't allowed.
This post looked a little short, so here's the trailer...
So if you have Netflix watch it now. And if you don't, then get the free 30-day and then cancel once you're done. But watch it now. And if have Hulu, then at least you can watch the next season of The Orville.