Review: The Shivering Truth “Pilot”

Can you handle the truth?

Overview (Spoilers Below)

Anthology series are hot right now, HBO has Room 104, Hulu’s got Castle Rock, and networks like TNT and Netflix are looking to jump into the genre as well. The Shivering Truth is Adult Swim’s take. Produced by Vernon Chatman, The Shivering Truth is a constant boilerplate of societal trends that usually counts towards some sort of comeuppance for the central character of each bit. For the fat girl in school getting her bra snapped it’s being used as ham slices for the kids at school, for the depressed guy looking to take his own life, it’s the ironic nature of his constant failures at death that usually leads to some sort of good, and for a doctor that’s able to control the Butterfly Effect, what happens when those butterflies get minds of their own?

Our Take

It’s been a while since we’ve seen a 100% stop-motion series on Adult Swim (for those asking, the mouths on Robot Chicken are not stop-motion animated), not since Moral Orel, but this series is definitely cut from a similar cloth in terms of a dark and twisted take on the adult animation industry. Jonah Hill and Michael Cera star in the pilot episode, however, most of the episode is told by way of narration that finagles between the realms of condescension and silliness that wouldn’t seem out of place on say a South Park. 

The stop-motion production by the brilliant Shadowmachine showcases the studio’s stellar skills for the craft and I’m not sure another studio could’ve exhibited the dark and subdued elements that The Shivering Truth exhibits. In other words, it had to be Shadowmachine and no one else possibly save for Starburns Industries and their take on Anomalisa that appears to be some sort of a stepping off point for this presentation.

While there are quite a few instances in the pantheon of Adult Swim where the horror genre is clearly an inspiration, none have gotten anywhere close to what The Shivering Truth wants to be. Fans will notice way more in common with the subject matter of this show with that of true harbingers of death and mutilation the likes of which most are afraid of now. In an era where the Netflixes of the world are doing a great job in solidifying themselves as hot spots for animated dramedy, horror could be a great subgenre for the network to do something a little different than just run-of-the-mill comedy. The Shivering Truth would be a great way for Adult Swim to continue to show its fans that it’s still willing to take chances, something that the cable tv industry is slowly losing it’s grip on.