Hit Or Miss: Amazon's 'Undone'

From the producers of Bojack Horseman comes a new animated ghost story about time travel, trauma, and the desire for change. The show stars Rosa Salazar of Alita: Battle Angel fame, comedian Bob Odenkirk, Angelique Cabral, Constance Marie, Siddharth Dhananjay, and Daveed Diggs. The story centers around a young woman named Alma. After a strange occurrence during a near-fatal car accident, Alma finds that she has a new understanding of time and memory. This is the first original animated series to be produced for Amazon’s streaming service. It looks to be a highly intriguing entry and will surely stand out against the droves of Netflix animated series.

The animation style of Undone recalls the rotoscope animation films, A Scanner Darkly and Waking Life. In this way, the characters look just like the actors who play them. The style gives the show a dreamlike and otherworldly feeling. The trailer expresses many things while remaining relatively mysterious. Here is the gist: Alma lives what she believes to be an ordinary and boring life. She’s had the same job for a while and the monotony is slowly driving her mad. One day, she finds herself in a near-fatal car accident. Seconds before the collision, her deceased father suddenly manifested in front of her car. When she wakes up in the hospital, the specter of her father greets her and tells her that his death was not an accident. He begins to teach her new ways to interact with time and space. She seems to move in and out of hypnagogic states that begin to affect her daily life.

After laying out the exposition, the trailer quickly shows some stunning sequences that bend space and time. The dreamy sequences that implode and reconstruct like puzzle pieces recall the wildly creative animated film Paprika by Satoshi Kon. Seeing as this show comes from the creators of Bojack Horseman, there should be plenty of existential angst, thoughtful investigation of loneliness, and hopefully some outrageously memorable moments. Thematically, the show also seems similar to Netflix’s Maniac. Both shows attempt to explore trauma with sci-fi sensibilities. There is never a bad time to explore this subject and it seems all the more timely today.

Alma’s goal is to stop her father from being murdered, at least that is what the trailer leads us to believe. This plot point will certainly be expanded upon, but it is an interesting point nonetheless. The show seems particularly interested in our desire to erase our past traumas. There is a lot of room for exploration into this subject and the show offers a compelling entry point. Undone deserves an emphatic “hit”. Everything from the intriguing animation style to the twisting narrative begs to be engaged with on a deep level. The show is set to premiere on September 13th.