WARNING: this review will contain some small spoilers for the first season of Undone.
Amazon Prime Video has been stepping up its game recently. The Boys was a great trope-breaking superhero show, The Man in the High Castle is my favorite historical (or at least semi-historical) show right now, and I’ve heard some great things about The Marvelous Ms. Maisel and Fleabag. Undone is certainly as good, if not better, than all of these. Let’s go over this great new original.
Undone is a new show from the creator of Bojack Horseman, Raphael Bob-Waksberg. Our main character is Alma, a seemingly normal millennial with a loving family and boyfriend. But weird things start happening when Alma gets into a car crash and starts having “visions” of her dead father (voiced by Bob Odenkirk). He tells her that he caused the crash that put her in the hospital, and that this finally awakened her powers to manipulate time. All of this information is conveyed through mind-bending vision-quest type dream sequences that are completely set out of time.
The first episode had me questioning the purpose of this show: I had read that it was a genre bending, psychological experience completely set out of time, but the first episode was just Alma going around conversing with her family in a sit-com fashion. It was in the second episode that my expectations were completely blown out of the water. The second episode is what I just recapped. The utilization of a cold-open was a surprise, to be sure, but a welcome one. It conveys a lot of important information, but it does so in a way that doesn’t seem too complicated or too simplified either. This means the “set out of time” concept I expected wasn’t just explained with “wibbly-wobbly timey-wimey stuff.”
Undone utilizes some of the best motion-capture animation I’ve ever seen, and this really enhances the psychedelic experience of the entire show. The vibrant colors and expressive faces on the characters just look so amazing, and I don’t think the show would have had the same effect without it.
I haven’t actually seen Bojack Horseman, but I knew it was an animated show with talking animals and that the main character, Bojack, was extremely crude. I never really felt motivated to watch it, but Undone has completely changed this opinion. From what I’ve heard about the show, once every season Bojack takes with him a bunch of psychedelics, goes on a psychological vision-quest, and confronts demons from his past. This is what the creator of both series does well, because this sounds like almost every episode of Undone.
Whenever I’ve tried to describe Undone to someone after watching it, I’ve always been at a loss of words. I think this is a good quality for a show or film to have, since it left me speechless (in a good way). I felt this way about the OA (rest in peace), a Netflix original from 2016, which is why I see these two shows in the same vein. They both have psychedelic imagery, open to interpretation endings, and a female protagonist that undergoes spiritual transformations regarding space and time. Also, if you haven’t seen the OA, it’s also a fantastic show.
Basically, Undone is a really great show. It seems like a lot of streaming-service originals recently boast both fantastic animation and truly unique story lines (i.e. Bojack Horseman, and Love, Death and Robots), and this blend creates truly excellent television. In short, just watch Undone already.