Autumn is upon us, and as we wrap our sweaters around our shoulders, sip on warm cider, and spend our weekends apple- and pumpkin- picking, the chill in the air reminds us of the rich mythological and historical tradition that makes the Halloween season so spookily sweet. So for this year’s Halloween special, sit back with a candied apple and join us on a journey to ancient myth as we untangle a long and complicated history—that of the witch. We’ll question the contemporary renaissance witches enjoy and follow the breadcrumbs to her origins in Greek, Roman, and Ancient Near East mythology. We’ll trace the line from Lilith of the Talmud to the Salem witch trials, from Medusa to the Kavanaugh confirmation hearings. All that and more on this week’s Midnight Myth.
It’s another Boomerangerang—because we felt the world needed some levity, some laughs, and a dash of cosmic nihilism. If nothing matters, we might as well fight to the death over the casts of Rick & Morty and Bojack Horseman, debating nonsense with your favorite cartoon existentialists. Listen and vote along on Twitter (@themidnightmyth) to determine which adult animated franchise takes the cake.
Content Warning: This weeks episode deals with themes of sexual assault.
On this weeks podcast Derek and Laurel dive into season 5 of Netflix’s original hit cartoon series, BoJack Horsemen. As we watch BoJack’s perpetual self-destructive cycle, we are left to ask if there is a reason to be moral in a post-Enlightenment world where rationality gives life little reason to behave. From Philosophy to Hollywoo cover ups of sexual assault, no topic is off the table. We must ask, Hollywoo stars and celebrities, what do they know, do they know things? Are they condemned to be free? Let’s find out in this weeks Midnight Myth.
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?
It’s another edition of your favorite pop culture storytelling debate—the Boomerangerang! This time, we’re inspired by last week’s conversation about Dr. Watson and the sidekick, so we’re pitting the great sidekicks and henchmen of stories against each other in a one of a kind debate. We’ll each pull a sidekick or henchman from a hat, then argue who’d be the best right hand confidant of a particular hero. Tons of nerdy arguments, deep insights about Spongebob Squarepants, and weird surprises await.
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.
As we wait with bated breath for the final season(s?) of HBO’s Game of Thrones—another delay, ugh—the Midnight Myth is here to quench your thirst with another deep dive GoT character study. This week, we’re exploring one of the series’ most charismatic and manipulative monsters, Cersei Lannister. We’ll compare the ruthless queen of the seven kingdoms to the philosophy laid out by medieval author Niccolo Machiavelli, and introduce modern psychology’s dark triad. We’ll dig into feminist studies and examine how Cersei intersects with the monstrous feminine, and the long line of literary ladies who came before her, with ambition as her tragic flaw.
Some artists leave their mark on everything they make. This week on the Midnight Myth Podcast, we’re surveying the work of Christopher Nolan, with a particular focus on four of his most popular and important films: his Hollywood breakout Memento, the second installment of his Batman trilogy The Dark Knight, the mind-bending Inception, and his sci-fi epic Interstellar. As one of the few contemporary directors to garner both critical acclaim and box office mega-success, Nolan appears to have captured something universal in the way he tells stories. With a close look at these films and the global context surrounding them, Derek & Laurel unpack the themes Nolan tends to revisit, the choices of his contemporaries in post-War on Terror Hollywood, and the cinematic and historical influences on his filmmaking. As an overview of Nolan’s body of work relatively early in his career, we hope this episode will open the door for even deeper dives into his art to come.
Hot on the heels of the Boy Who Lived’s birthday, Derek & Laurel are revisiting the Harry Potter series for a discussion of the mentor role in storytelling. The Obi-Wan’s, Gandalfs, and Mr. Miyagi’s of the world inspire our heroes, give them strength, and hold them to a standard of morality and courage. To unpack Harry’s many mentor relationships, we’ll focus in particular on the one that develops between Harry and Defense Against the Dark Arts professor Remus Lupin in the third installment of the franchise, Harry Potter & the Prisoner of Azkaban. What makes Remus a great mentor? To answer this question, we’ll consult Thomas Aquinas, Thomas Jefferson, and more.
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.