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The Midnight Club is Netflix’s new bet by director and screenwriter Mike Flanagan, who had earned to be considered one of the new masters of horror. However, the premiere numbers of The Midnight Club are dismal and are putting at risk the renewal of the series for a second season.
According to Netflix data, the premiere of The Midnight Club has accumulated some 19 million hours of playback after its first weekend on air. These numbers, which may seem high, are actually very low if we compare them with those of other premieres of the same genre that Netflix did not hesitate to cancel, such as the 22 million hours of Archive 81, or the more than 30 million hours of The First Death, whose cancellation was blamed on “lesbophobia.”
While the high degree of woke content in The Midnight Club may have been one of the reasons audiences have turned their backs on it for now, it seems clear that this is not the only problem with a series that has let down cult author Mike Flanagan’s legion of fans.
Mike Flanagan had been carving out his own name and style in the horror world since before his association with Netflix, with notable titles such as Oculus, Hush, Ouija: Origin of Evil, Gerald’s Game and Doctor Sleep.
When Netflix and Mike Flanagan decided to form a partnership, they provided horror genre lovers with exquisite productions such as The Haunting of Hill House and Midnight Mass, which have not only been critical and public successes, but also nominated and awarded in several prestigious industry awards.
In addition to the expectation of Mike Flanagan’s fans, The Midnight Club was joined by fans of the author of the books on which the series is based, Christopher Pike. However, it seems that they have not been enough to make this young adult horror series a success.
What is The Midnight Club about?
The Midnight Club tells the story of Ilonka, a 17-year-old girl who is declared terminally ill after being diagnosed with metastatic thyroid cancer. She decides to check herself into the Brightcliffe hospice for terminally ill young people, attracted by the legend of the miraculous healing of one of its former residents.
There she coincides with 7 other goner teenagers who meet secretly every night to tell each other stories in their clandestine club while waiting for their death, although Ilonka is willing to unravel the mysteries of the house in search of a cure for her and the rest of the guys.
Ilonka’s main story, in which she deals with ghosts, pagan cults, herbal remedies and satanic rituals is the main thread of the series, but it is too much interrupted by the time devoted to the stories told by all the members of the club.
What begins as a series with a mysterious and intriguing setting, and with a dark and deep story of young people facing death, soon becomes a succession of disjointed and unconnected stories that divert attention and end up being boring. The ten chapters of the series go on forever as they intersperse stories within the story that seem to be taken from The Twilight Zone or Tales from the Crypt.
Although these stories are supposed to help us better understand each case and connect with their protagonists, the disparity in subject matter makes The Midnight Club a confusing series with unbearable ups and downs.
A screaming Japanese ghost, a gay cyborg who comes from the future to save the world, the typical story of picking up hitchhikers in the middle of the night that ends badly, a pact with the devil (she-devil, in this case) that of course also ends badly, a high school love triangle told as if it were an old film noir movie, and a thermonuclear war averted by alien lights with time travel are stories that developed in isolation could be interesting, but mixed in this medley completely take the viewer out of this series.
In Mike Flanagan’s defense it should be remembered that in both The Midnight Club and his other Netflix fiasco, The Haunting of Bly Manor, he has not had complete artistic control, having to collaborate with Leah Fong, who in her interviews is often quite concerned with woke issues such as intersectionality and representation.
In The Midnight Club, Mike Flanagan co-writes all the episodes and only directs the first two, which probably contributes to the chaotic outcome of the series, which also suffers from the forced inclusion of ideological content.
Despite being set in the 90s, the series is full of references to current political issues, such as LGBT activism, homophobia, racism or illegal immigration. This is already commonplace in Netflix, which seems to have a template in which to check boxes with the favorite topics of leftism.
Although The Midnight Club‘s viewership figures suggest that there will not be a second season on Netflix, fans of Mike Flanagan will be able to enjoy his impending new series on the platform, The Fall of the House of Usher, in which he does seem to enjoy much greater creative control that will allow him to return to the path of his previous successes.
Ignacio Manuel García Medina, Business Management teacher. Artist and lecturer specialized in Popular Culture for various platforms. Presenter of the program "Pop Libertario" for the Juan de Mariana Institute. Lives in the Canary Islands, Spain // Ignacio M. García Medina es profesor de Gestión de Empresas. Es miembro del Instituto Juan de Mariana y conferenciante especializado en Cultura Popular e ideas de la Libertad.
Social Networks: @ignaciomgm