Arts and Culture

TV Show Review of “Undone”

As someone with a keen interest in studying film and media here at Wheaton College, certain advertisements carry the ability to pique my interest in rather unique ways. After mindlessly scrolling through Instagram one afternoon last week, I came across an advertisement for a new show on Amazon starring Bob Odenkirk (Saul from “Breaking Bad”), and became captivated almost immediately. Inspired by the previous animation from artist/showrunner Hisko Hulsing, “Undone” follows the story of 28-year-old Alma, who suffers a near-death experience after a catastrophic car accident. While in a coma, she is visited by her late father, who enlists her to help him find the person responsible for his death by traveling back in time and keeping his murder from happening. While the premise itself is intriguing on almost every level imaginable, there are particular elements that Hulsing uses in order to keep his viewer clicking the “next episode” button.

The first thing to note about this show is its animation. In my nearly 20 years on this planet, I have never seen anything like it. In order to create this visually appealing masterpiece, the show uses rotoscoping—which is a filming technique where animations are layered on top of filmed footage during the post-production process. Prior to “Undone,” this process has been used sparingly throughout the short, yet vast and seemingly endless history of film, but can be found in famous productions such as Walt Disney’s Snow White and the Seven Dwarves.

Animation of Rosa Salazar as the character, Alma Winograd-Diaz on “Undone.” Photo from Creative Commons.

Along with the animation, it goes without saying that “Undone” is one of the best-written television series since Breaking Bad. In order to establish a relationship with its audience, the show combines humor with serious, everyday subjects such as mental illness, infidelity, relationship instability, and at times, even death. By employing this technique, the audience is subjected to an immediate connection with its central character, Alma, who, like many of us, has suffered through the loss of a loved one, and is still affected by that death in her adulthood. Also notable are the performances of Rosa Salazar, who plays Alma, along with Bob Odenkirk, who plays Alma’s late father, Jacob. The chemistry between these two is absolutely astonishing, and ultimately creates the accurate portrayal of a rocky relationship between a father and his child.
If your eyes are still fixated on this article, I clearly have not done my job of inspiring you to stop everything you are doing and watch this show immediately. If you do not have Amazon Prime, ask a friend to use their account, or find another means of watching this show (I’m not encouraging pirating it though). When you ask your elders about which shows of their time were memorable, you might hear examples like The Sopranos or even Seinfeld, so please do yourself a favor and become a part of television history by cementing your time into this wonderful masterpiece.