Myths and Monsters
Are you a fan of classical Greek Myths? What about Grimm Fairy tales? Star Wars or H.P. Lovecraft? What do they all have in common? They are all the stories we tell each other. Netflix’s series Myths and Monsters delves into this topic so crucial to 50% of what is Books & Brews. No, not the Brews part. This short docuseries delves into what compels us to continue to tell stories, whether around the campfire, around the D&D table, or written down in our books, and what these stories tell us about ourselves. In all honestly I might have just plagiarized the Netflix snippet about it, but as I have never read that snippet I have no idea. Cool just looked at it. Apparently I put in more effort than they did, so I’m good.
The Episode List
The show only has 6 episodes, clocking in at about 45 min a piece. So this is a day’s worth of quarantine we are talking about here.
Episode 1 – Heroes and Villians – This episode covers Campbell’s work on the Hero’s Journey. What makes a hero a hero, and what elements do we demonize in others.
Episode 2 – The Wild Unknown – When and where does civilization stop being civilized? What lurks in the depths of the places we seldom go? What monsters do we project into the wild places we cannot control?
Episode 3 – War – What do our stories of war tell us about ourselves? When is war ever just? What are the costs? And what lies do we try to shelter ourselves in when we glorify conflict?
Episode 4 – Love and Betrayal – Is all really fair in love and war? What is the difference between love and lust? And what happens when you have a more convincing love triangle than whatever the hell Twilight was trying to create?
Episode 5 – Change and Revolution – What happens when we challenge the rules of society? When is okay to break the law? How do we move forward in time instead of staying stagnant? And what monsters do we create when we move to fast?
Episode 6 – The End of All Things – What do our visions of the afterlife tell us about ourselves? What will happen at the end of time?
Flow of the Show
Each episode takes its theme and uses stories to indicate it’s point. But the way in which it does it is truly unique. Each episode starts with a story. One you may or may not know from one of the great mythologies. Each are read by Nicholas Day, a British Gentleman you have probably never heard of, but believe me, his voice is perfect for story telling. It is low and melodic and set’s the tone you would expect for these ancient tales. This first tale is used to exemplify the theme of the episode and is beautifully illustrated throughout. Each story progresses to the first cliff hangar, and then then rest of the episode begins. As it is a documentary series, professors of mythology and literature will make comments on what these stories mean to us. As they do so, other wonderful stories are brought in to make the point as well and the show feeds itself in these loops of commentary and fanciful tales. Each time another story is mentioned, the screen blossoms with classical or contemporary paintings of the stories being told. The show itself is as if you had asked someone to create a beautiful picture book for adults and then had the story read to you. As the main story comes to a close, and we make our conclusions about it, the show too comes to an end. Despite it’s design as a documentary series, you never feel like you are stuck in a classroom in middle school watching some terrible thing about Tut made in the late 50’s. This is a modern documentary and uses cinematic elements well to keep you invested, even if you do know some of the stories. And for those of us who are story tellers, you will come to understand yourself better as well.
I realize this is supposed to be a blog, and I’m supposed to write convincing pathos, ethos, and logos, to convince you, the reader, of my point of view. However, sometimes, it is better if I just shut up, and let the pictures speak for themselves. Because the art, if for no other reason, is enough to give this show a watch.