What The Midnight Gospel and Shrek Retold Share in Common

Henry Fairbanks
5 min readJun 17, 2020

The Midnight Gospel is the latest creation from Adventure Time show-runner Pendelton Ward in collaboration with podcaster Duncan Trussell of The Duncan Trussell Family Hour. It’s a trippy sci-fi series that can’t be compared to any other show. Each episode revolves around the main character, Clancy, going to a new planet in a simulated universe and interviewing one of its inhabitants as the world around them crumbles. These apocalypse ideas range from zombies to max security space-prison riots, some even more surreal than I can explain.

But what I noticed on my first viewing is that the show draws inspiration from elements of Internet culture. The show is essentially a Reanimated of Trussell’s podcast. A “Reanimated” is the product of creating animated visuals for preexisting media. Although animators at traditional studios have been animating characters to quotes from movies for decades, Reanimateds are an art movement of their own born out of Internet culture. These aren’t just character tests, they’re the polished product.

History of Reanimateds

To find the origins of the Reanimated movement, it was clear I had to look on NewGrounds. For the uninitiated, NewGrounds was the hub for animations, games, and art made in Adobe Flash back in the mid to late 2000s. Back in the day, most of their artists were teenagers who just made dumb stuff for fun, but the site would evolve into an incubator for some of the most revered web animators today.

But the origins of this movement go back to the early days of NewGrounds when low production values were the norm. Nearly all of these artists had no formal training or education on copyright law, and thus had no aversion to remixing other’s work. The earliest Reanimated I could find was “Falcon Punch Re-Animated” by UberCream and Indbro.

Only a few months later would the first Reanimated podcast be uploaded to NewGrounds, “Dv — Train Tracks” by LazyMuffin on NewGrounds from Jan. 1, 2009, which animated a clip from…

Henry Fairbanks