A couple of weeks ago, ComingSoon.net got the opportunity to chat with co-creator and star of Netflx’s The Midnight Gospel to discuss the animated adaptation of his hit podcast The Duncan Trussell Family Hour, including diving in to some spoiler territory for the arc of the psychedelic season.
Warning: Some Spoilers Lie Ahead for The Midnight Gospel Season 1
In describing the process of coming up with the format of the show, Trussell described developing the adaptation as “laborious,” with the writer’s room having to take an episode of the podcast and “boiling it down to 20 minutes” and then finding a way to attach it to “one of our many apocalypses that we had come up with.”
“We had a writer’s summit for two weeks where we just had a variety of people like Weird Al, Emo Phillips, Brendon Walsh, Johnny Pemberton, an actual witch, Maja D’Aoust, Jason Louv,” Trussell recalled. “In one of the episodes there’s an occult scholar and we all just came up with ways the world could end. It was so fun and weird. The prescient part kind of [the timing] fucks me a little bit, that part gives me goosebumps.”
In coming up with possible apocalypses, Trussell notes the time as “fun” but that the prescient timing of the show’s release with the global pandemic “kind of fucks me a little bit” and that it “gives me goosebumps.”
“In some horrific, childish narcissistic way I keep thinking, ‘Well what would’ve happened if we made the show about Utopia?’” Trussell explained. “I think we were all sensing at that time that something was coming, we just didn’t know what it was.”
After picking from the apocalypses, the writer’s room were able to find angles that “became the framework that the dialogue of the podcast was hung,” but that it helped also “evolve” the series past a gimmick into something with a “story arc to it,” including the final episode, which holds a very personal connection to Trussell.
“If you watch the entire series, the last episode is an interview I did with my mom when she was dying, two weeks before she died and the entire series is about this character who has been slacking and doing the thing that many of us do where you kind of pretend life isn’t important and you kind of pretend you can get by in the moment,” Trussell described. “A lot of people don’t think they have an impact on the world and that is a painful place to live in. So Clancy in these conversations he’s having with people he goes in worlds that are dying because he’s not taking care of his universe and later starts, in a very, very, very slow way, waking up to the realization of the impact that he’s having on the world and in his direct family in particular. The show’s kind of about that thing that happens to a person where you start feeling so irrelevant and think you’re not affecting the world.”
In The Midnight Gospel, traversing trippy worlds inside his multiverse simulator, a space-caster named Clancy explores existential questions about life, death and everything in between as he gets to interview beings living in other worlds by leaving the comfort of his extra-dimensional home. The series is set in a fantastical universe using interview clips from Duncan Trussell’s podcast, Duncan Trussell Family Hour.
The series is co-created by Pendleton Ward and actor-comedian Trussell and is available for streaming on Netflix now!