Young Pope Replacements
March 8, 2017 6:58 PM   Subscribe

I found myself really in love with The Young Pope, but I have now finished all of the episodes. Please help me fill the hole in my heart with other TV or films. Vague spoilers lurk within.

Things I enjoyed about The Young Pope:
  • The music. I loved the soundtracking, the variety of styles and eras, the use of diagetic music (that Greenland scene!!!), how it was used sarcastically, humorously, seriously...
  • The kind of magical realism in the story. Miracles happen... or do they? It's hard to tell when fantasy sequences begin and end, or how trustworthy the "narrator" is. I love Murakami novels and this tickled the same spot for me.
  • The world-building. I liked that it was constrained to this really specific part of the world I know nothing about, but the supporting characters all provided little slices of the world outside the Vatican.
  • Love and sex was present but it isn't a romance story between two people, really. There is dark humor in it but it's not a comedy. There is a "misunderstood dude" but he's not a serial killer.
  • It is visually rich with costumes and sets and everything without being a period piece (The Crown) or feeling like CGI-overload (Westworld).
Looking for other media (hopefully bingeable TV but open to movies) to fill this weird niche.
posted by thirdletter to Media & Arts (15 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
Right off the bat I have to recommend the Bryan Fuller trifecta:
Pushing Daisies, Wonderfalls, Dead Like Me.
Legion also seems like a great fit, and bonus: the first season is still airing, so you can get in on the ground floor!
posted by Champagne Supernova at 7:36 PM on March 8, 2017 [4 favorites]

Your criteria definitely fit most of the oeuvre of Bryan Fuller, particularly as regards visual richness, dark humor, magical realism, and the blurring between reality & fantasy. In addition to the three mentioned above, I would add Hannibal even if you're not usually into horror.

I would also suggest you try Jane the Virgin. It also has a lot of visual richness, and it uses a wide variety of framing devices & motifs to get its points across. The romance is a large part of it, but there's definitely a lot more going on with it.

I wouldn't have ever expected to recommend Hannibal and Jane the Virgin in the same post, but here we are
posted by Johnny Assay at 7:48 PM on March 8, 2017 [7 favorites]

You might give Carnivale a try. When I tried to figure out what other fiction The Young Pope reminded me of, that was what came to mind.
posted by rjs at 8:21 PM on March 8, 2017 [6 favorites]

Haven't seen yours or anything else mentioned, but FWIW I had the flu recently and enjoyed The Collection, intrigue in a postwar Parisian fashion house. Amazon Prime. (While I'm at it, I also liked: Sneaky Pete and Good Girls Revolt).
posted by AnOrigamiLife at 11:06 PM on March 8, 2017 [1 favorite]

I have really liked Crazy Ex Girlfriend. You've got: music (it's a musical, and a lot of the numbers are really sarcastic and humorous) - magical realism (it's not a realistic show - there are literal ghosts of boyfriends past) - world building (sort of... there are a lot of side characters) - and love and sex but not excessively (personally, my favorite relationship on the show is between the protagonist and her female best friend). It's also very Technicolor in the same way that say Pushing Daisies or Jane the Virgin are!
posted by benadryl at 12:02 AM on March 9, 2017 [2 favorites]

Best answer: For gorgeous music, fantastic performances and a great glimpse into a world you might not know much about, you should try the criminally underrated 'Mozart in the Jungle.'
posted by nerdfish at 2:14 AM on March 9, 2017 [2 favorites]

Taboo reminded me of the Young Pope in that they both focused on charismatic and handsome men of mystery who are either magic or evil. Mozart in the Jungle shares the Young Pope's occasional foray into magical realism.
posted by Stanczyk at 4:01 AM on March 9, 2017

Seconding Dead Like Me. It's a fun little show that deserved more than a couple of seasons and a movie.
posted by lmfsilva at 6:29 AM on March 9, 2017

Seconding Legion and Wonderfalls. Both do a great job of making you ask what is really happening.
posted by xammerboy at 8:23 AM on March 9, 2017

I haven't seen it yet, but based on your description of what you liked, you might enjoy Sofia Coppola's film Marie Antoinette.
posted by Mchelly at 11:56 AM on March 9, 2017

Ok, this might be a little out there for this question but how about Donald Glover's Atlanta?

Music: It's probably not as eclectic as The Young Pope, but I think the soundtrack is a pretty great tour of contemporary hip-hop with some classic funk & soul mixed in. Here's a track listing.

Magical Realism: Yeah, it's got that but it's hard to describe without spoilers.

World-building: If you're not already familiar with the spectrum of contemporary black American experience, I think this show might provide an interesting window, especially into a variety different contexts.

Love and sex: Yup. There's a relationship in there but it's not the singular focus of the series.

Dark humor but not a comedy: Maybe not super-dark but it's also not a straight-up comedy either.

Visually rich: It's going to be hard to match up against The Young Pope's lavish Vatican sets and Kubrick-ian style. But I think they really took their time to put up good cinematography in the series.
posted by mhum at 12:06 PM on March 9, 2017 [2 favorites]

Caught a few episodes of The Young Pope while on vacation, so I don't have a complete sense of the show, but I think the movie Stoker has a similar vibe.
posted by Bron at 12:50 PM on March 9, 2017

Nthing Paolo Sorrentino's films. He's really an excellent director. Great Beauty is easily his best but I think This Must Be the Place featuring Sean Penn as a retired rock star, who looks like Robert Smith from the Cure, who goes looking for his late father's WWII SS tormentor is weird and interesting. A lot of his films have a similar look to the show - cinematographer Luca Bigazzi has worked on all of Sorrentino's projects.

For more Pope action how about the flawed but mostly entertaining Borgias.
posted by Ashwagandha at 6:05 PM on March 9, 2017

Johnathon Strange and Mr Norrell which is sort of a period piece but really not. It's a pretty cool show and meets most of your criteria except maybe the music.

So does Scrubs actually, which is a pretty great show if you've never seen it.
posted by fshgrl at 8:32 PM on March 9, 2017

I love Baz Luhrmann movies for a lot of the same reasons I like the Young Pope. Especially Romeo+Juliet. I was skeptical about his Netflix series The Get Down about the origins of HipHop (it doesn't get much whiter than Luhrmann). I ended up thinking it was a lot of fun but I don't really have the context to understand what he got right or wrong. It's probably about as meaningful an exploration of that particular culture/time as the Young Pope is of the modern Vatican (and actually have some experience with that).
posted by DarthDuckie at 9:37 AM on March 10, 2017

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