Valentine’s Day is nearly upon us! To celebrate the spirit of the day of love, The Midnight Myth goes back to the middle ages and the Renaissance. That’s right, it’s a Shakespeare episode. We’re dishing up historical context and analysis for one of the most important pieces of literature ever written: Romeo & Juliet. An early work in the bard’s long line of tragedies, comedies, and histories, Romeo & Juliet can be viewed as the work that invented our modern understanding of love. And the poet himself may be the man who invented modern man. All this and more in a very special Midnight Myth episode for lovers, fools, poets, and madmen.
This week on the Midnight Myth Podcast, we look to the film Dead Poets Society, the lessons it hopes to teach, and the new significance it has taken on in the years since the death of its star, Robin Williams. We examine the themes that his character John Keating recognizes and hopes to impart to his students: carpe diem! Gather ye rosebuds while ye may! Sound thy barbaric yawp. We recognize that our perspective has shifted when we watch this film. We are, in a way, looking down from standing atop our desks, watching for the signs, trying to understand why a great talent, great artist, and great man would take his own life. We follow that question into the characters of DPS, who must ask themselves the same. We wonder what’s most important—the art or the artist? The legacy or the life?
We spend a lot of time here at the Midnight Myth discussing heroes, villains, epic adventures, and feats of derring-do. But it’s easy to lose sight of those characters just outside the realm of glory, just to the right of the protagonist, propping them up in times of need. This week, we’re talking about the sidekick—through the eyes of one of the greatest sidekicks in all of storytelling, Dr. John Watson. As he accompanies the great detective Sherlock Holmes and chronicles their adventures, Watson may seem like a lesser man, but time and again proves himself essential to Holmes’ success. We’re taking a close look at the pilot episode of the BBC series Sherlock, ‘A Study in Pink,’ to break down what makes Watson both so ordinary and so exceptional.
Great rivalries throughout the ages: Harry Potter and Draco Malfoy, Black Swan and White Swan, Black Panther and Killmonger, Batman and the Joker… but few rivalries have the intensity, longevity, or singularity as the one between Buffy Summers and Faith Lehane. Two girls in all the world, chosen to defeat the vampires, the demons, and the forces of darkness, when two slayers come head to head, it’s a clash of destinies. Fresh off the announcement of a Buffy the Vampire Slayer reboot, Derek and Laurel unpack one of television’s most fraught relationships. Friends, enemies, or frenemies, Buffy and Faith give us the perfect literary foils, supernatural doppelgängers, and philosophical opposites. We’ll dig into Ancient Greek Cynicism, Kantian ethics, 19th century literature and more as we unravel the ties that bind the two slayers together.
Last week we began a conversation about what makes a good king. To continue probing the possible answers, we had to go back to one of our favorite monarchs in storytelling, The Lion King. In this episode, Derek and Laurel explore the connections (and departures) of the Lion King and Shakespeare’s Hamlet, the historical roots of the political systems laid out in the animated classic, and the ultimate philosophical messages it leaves us with. It may seem easy and ideal to say “no worries” for the rest of your days, but of course, we know there is no problem-free philosophy. Be prepared for a sensational podcast.
On this week’s episode, we step into the strange dystopian world of the Hunger Games Trilogy. By tracking the evolution of the films themselves and their thematic intentions, Derek & Laurel draw real-world conclusions about the horror of war, the collective amnesia of humanity, and why revolutions fail. Spoilers within for the Hunger Games films, Rogue One, and V for Vendetta!
Sloths are cute. I mean, they are really really cute. Do yourself a favor, and google cute sloth videos. This brings us to this weeks episode where the 90s classic “Jurassic Park” is discussed. We are re-imagining the blockbuster classic as an intellectual treatise on the role humanity has on biological systems, as we grapple with manmade climate change. Derek & Laurel trace the evolution of the age-old conflict between man and nature, exploring Jurassic Park’s modern man vs. nature narrative (and its parallels to Mary Shelley’s classic story, Frankenstein). The debate is palpable, and reminds us of the many false actors in today’s turbulent climate change discourse. But don’t let it bum you out, cause there will always be sloths on the internet. At least, I hope.
The Midnight Myth returns to JRR Tolkien’s iconic Middle Earth as Derek and Laurel talk about the legacy of the one ring to rule them all. They examine the role of power, and the cyclical nature of good vs evil while exploring the iconography and symbolism in Tolkien. Be sure to listen and check out the website www.midnightmyth.com/blog for additional content.
And given unto Derek and Laurel was a podcast of power, forged in the concrete of South Philadelphia, and in it, they poured their nerdiness, love of mythology and story telling! Listen this week as we scratch the surface of JRR Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings, as we examine the structure, history, and lore behind the modern world’s most famous fantasy series. We take time to look at where Wizards are from, and why Dwarfs are the conservatives of Middle Earth. We talk about how the Elves came to being, and the cyclical nature of good vs evil. We also take a look at the villains of Middle Earth and the corruptive influence of Sauron’s lidless burning eye. If you like journeying to a magical realm where anything is possible, then listen, enjoy, and tell a friend!
Ever wonder if your choices are your own or if you are caught in the web of destiny? Listen to Derek and Laurel break down stories that deal with prophecy, fate, and free will and the evolution of narrative relationships to fate. We look at Oedipus in the ancient world, Macbeth in the Renaissance, and the Boy Who Lived in the modern day—all grappling with their own choices and the cruel hand of fate. Enjoy this episode, and don’t forget to play along with the game at the end!