“Midnight Series” review: Thailand Is Woke


Courtesy of GMMTV

Ella Michna, Assistant Reviews Editor

“Midnight Series” is a trilogy from the Thai network GMMTV. It consists of three related miniseries that ran from December 2022 to March 2023: “Midnight Motel”, “Dirty Laundry”, and “Moonlight Chicken”.

In “Midnight Motel”, Mote, tech-nerd Doi, and sex worker Kat create a prostitution app in order to pay off their debts. When a wealthy client dies in their hands, however, they are the prime suspects. This series is addictive and suspenseful, filled with obstacles at every corner that keep the viewer stimulated. Despite all the struggles they face, even the darkest moments of this series are filled with dark humor. For example, in one of the key scenes, when all of Mote’s enemies come upon him in the same room at the same time, he turns to the camera and says, “Shit! This is just like a fan meet.” The way the characters can be so unserious in such drastic situations is refreshingly hilarious. The cinematography is also gorgeous, with dark lighting and bright tints of red, gold, and blue. The acting is good, and the romance is unique as it puts sex workers like Kat in a humane, respectful light. Despite the topics this show follows, it never gets too graphic with sex or violence, and it doesn’t need it to make its point.

Next, “Dirty Laundry” follows Neon, who works the night shift at a laundromat, and Night, a murder mystery writer. As they search for Night’s missing briefcase full of cash, they investigate the offbeat characters who use the laundry mat, such as a wannabe rockstar couple, a male stripper, and a transgender yogi. The comedy is especially strong in this series, as pretty much every character is used for comedic relief. I love how Neon unashamedly swoons and expresses her feelings for Night in a funny way. I almost want to criticize it for using the transgender character for comedic relief by making her seem like an undesirable woman, as Thai media has a reputation for not taking trans characters seriously, but it’s hard to say whether this one is any different from the show’s treatment of cis characters. Like “Midnight Motel”, the ending of “Dirty Laundry” ties all of its strings.

Lastly, the arguably most hyped part of the trilogy is “Moonlight Chicken” because it centers around two gay couples. Though this series has little involvement in crime or mystery like the previous two, it does also center around the financial struggles of underprivileged people. Jim, who runs a chicken rice diner, has a one-night stand with Wen. Things get complicated, however, when Jim’s diner is at risk of shutting down due to a project by the company that Wen works at. The subplot romance is between Jim’s teenage nephew, Li Ming, and his deaf peer, Heart. Gemini, the actor who plays Heart, has a charming way of using his eyes and body language, which makes him stand out from the rest of the already talented and handsome cast.

Rather than falling into tropes, these series demonstrate the complexity of love, which is often not “ideal.” It shows that, though the struggles they face are real, what really matters to have a relationship is that it is love between two people.

If you enjoyed the “Midnight Series,” a similar recommendation is GMMTV’s “The Warp Effect.”
“Midnight Series” is available on GMMTV’s official YouTube channel.

Illustration by Ariel Landry
Illustration by Ariel Landry