200 words about Midnight Mass

No place for children

“Religion is the opiate of the masses,” yet Mike Flanagan’s Midnight Mass imagines it as a harder sort of drug. This passion project of Flanagan’s seems an attempt to reconcile his altar boy past with his professed skeptic present. As such, it involves a lot of talking: dialogues, monologues, Christianity, Islam, rationalism, and a hundred other conversations swirl around here into a strange, chunky brew. But the devil’s in the details, and this show’s got them by the boatload. The central conceit (a confluence of a mythic horror trope with Catholicism) is a bit of brilliance and the series is rife with realized characters and stark imagery that bring that conceit to its fullest possible fruition, even if the dramaturgy does run a bit too zealous. At the end (or beginning) of the day, Flanagan has seemingly equal amounts of appreciation and terror for the various belief systems we choose to live by. Midnight Mass tries to find a harmony between the different songs we sing in the face of the darkness that engulfs us. The song it settles on is a mashup of “Nearer My God to Thee” and, uh, “Life’s a Bitch.” Awkward but, still, kind of slaps.