Midnight Mass

Midnight Mass ★★

Don't usually log TV series on here, but this is what I wasted my weekend watching, so w/e. What if "Salems' Lot" was chock full o' discursive arguments about religion didn't exactly do it for me, sorry.

Flanagan, as usual, has real facility with atmosphere and scares –– there's a killer jump in the first episode that recalls the home video footage clip from SIGNS –– but he's not especially interested in that stuff at the end of the day and you kind of want to shake the guy and be like, "please lean into your strengths more." You can feel him constantly straining for a novelistic depth that just doesn't connect, so we get multiple excruciatingly overlong scenes where characters spout their ideas at each other in a very talky, writerly fashion that paints them more as sounding boards than actual people.

Cast is of varying quality: Siegel, who I thought was a weak point in Hill House, is burdened with some of the most egregious soliloquizing, including an absolute stinker at the very end that reads like an even sappier version of Rust Cohle's parting thoughts in True Detective. Linklater fares best, but again, he just looks like he's carrying a two-ton load delivering the umpteenth tortured sermon on "what it's all about."

But what about the plot? Maybe it's only because I recently read "Salems' Lot," but I guessed the "twist" and general trajectory of the story early into the run. Not a huge stumbling block, but Flanagan does indeed treat it as some big reveal, maybe under the Netflix-mandated assumption that viewers are only going to be paying half of their attention.

Peter liked this review