Exploring Psilocybin Therapy in DOSE pilot “Ghost in the Mushroom”: TV Pilot Review
A man, Jeremy, enters his subconscious using psilocybin therapy in the DOSE tv pilot Ghost in the Mushroom. After years of research, Psilocybin-assisted therapy is becoming a legitimized form of treatment for people, in particular, with major depressive disorder. In Ghost in the Mushroom, psilocybin therapy is used experimentally to treat past trauma.
The stylization of the pilot feels more sci-fi than reality, with minimalist, Kubrickian rooms, hints of avantgarde costuming for the treatment scenes, and dialogue bits about the nature of reality itself. The pilot’s stylization contrasts the otherwise grittiness of the subconscious world which feels more intimate with tighter framing, and visceral, psychedelic imagery. The structure of the television pilot weaves in and out of past and present, and its fluid nature allows for the audience to piece the story together themselves.
Dominic Bogart plays Jeremy on a twisted journey back to a time with the woman he loved and the horrific car accident that ended her life. He embodies the complexity of loss effortlessly. His anger and fear boil under the surface of each scene. You see the monster and the man within as you watch how Jeremy’s addictions changed him into an emotionally manipulative individual while drinking. Conversely, off alcohol he had a successful, emotionally fulfilling future with Emily, and seemed like a nice guy.
Christine Jones offers a beautiful portrait of Emily, Jeremy’s love, who appears to be quietly suffering from depression. For such an intriguing character who questions the nature of reality in one scene, it felt as though she had some character incongruity in the script. She felt entirely passive in Jeremy’s subconscious when it came to her final moments. She seems more like the type of person to offer pushback, like she would order Jeremy to stay home and not pick her up from a parking lot while drunk.
Even with some characterization confusion, when it came to understanding Jeremy and the final moment of trauma, it was still powerful, tugging at every inch of your heart strings. Writer/director Peter P Clark leaves us questioning if we have accepted our own losses, or perhaps whether or not we can perceive reality, that we might invent an entirely new reality through the process of this brain-altering chemical substance.
DOSE has the potential to turn into an anthology series about people accessing their trauma, or follow along with Jeremy and the aftermath of treatment. While it isn’t clear where Clark would take this show as it already did have a cathartic pilot ending, the question intrigues.
Peter P Clark is the owner of ATTIC STUDIOS. DOSE: Episode 1 is his directorial debut. The only child of an Eastern European refugee and single mother, he has been pursuing socially conscious filmmaking from an early age. He is based in NYC and Miami.
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