If you approached and asked me what my favorite show on Amazon Prime Video was, you would probably guess THE BOYS, GOLIATH or THE MAN IN THE HIGH CASTLE. But Amazon has been the one streaming service where I prefer to engage in their “artsy” shows instead of their more popular high budget offerings. The shows I have enjoyed on Amazon are the impersonation thriller SNEAKY PETE, the podcast adapted HOMECOMING, and the incredible MOZART IN THE JUNGLE. But no show on this streaming service has had more impact on my emotions than UNDONE. A show that re-embraces rotoscoping animation (A style that was reinvented famously in A SCANNER DARKLY), the incredible writing mixed with the animation which helps to enhance the ideas and themes that are presented makes this the best show on Amazon Prime Video that hardly anyone knows about.
UNDONE is created by Raphael Bob-Waksberg, creator of three of the best animated shows of the last decade. BOJACK HORSEMAN remains one of my favorite animated cartoons of all-time slipping in just behind THE SIMPSONS and SOUTH PARK. A show that dealt with a washed-up celebrity horse that suffers from crippling depression and the consequences of his impulsive behavior, BOJACK dove into psychology like no previous animated show ever has. The episode where Bojack gets a look into his mother’s dementia-riddled mind remains my favorite animated episode of a cartoon of all-time. In terms of TUCA & BERTIE, I have not watched this show but have taken it under advisement due to the recommendations given to me. As good as these shows are, UNDONE maybe Raphael Bob-Waksberg and Kate Purdy’s masterpiece.
The show dives into the grief that a young girl suffers after her father dies in a tragic car accident. Season 1 revolves around the consequences of this accident and how her grief and the history of mental illness in her family impacts her behavior. The show is an emotional drama wrapped around science fiction themes. Season 1 was an incredible watch. But then, Season 2 hit Amazon last month. Diving deeper into its science fiction themes, this season starts inside an alternate reality where Alma’s father has not died in a car accident, and she discovers that her sister can move into specific timeframes tied to a person’s memory. The brilliance of this plot device is that it allows the viewer to experience the trauma experienced by an ancestor. The story revolving around Alma’s grandmother Geraldine (Whose real name is Ruchel) and the memory that she has spent her entire life repressing is heartbreaking. The family ties this event to the actions of the matriarch in the family who has been hiding a secret from her husband and children for the entirety of their relationship. Because of advice given by her future mother-in-law during a small conversation, her reaction to this advice leads to unintended consequences for a person that the mother loves dearly. The animation style is used perfectly to enhance the storytelling and express what happens inside people’s minds. The show is an advanced look at human psychology and the impacts that small decisions can make that will affect future generations long after your life has ended. The season ends on a cliff hanger and let’s hope that Amazon has the temerity to give the show creators one more season to wrap up some loose ends. While Season 1 dealt with the theme of grief, season 2 is about acceptance. Who knows what Season 3 will bring?
I highly recommend this amazing show. Bob Odenkirk, who also stars in the pitch perfect prequel BETTER CALL SAUL as the protagonist Saul Goodman/Jimmy McGill, plays Alma’s father and is an incredible presence throughout the show. One of my favorite young actors, Rosa Salazar, who also starred in one of my favorite, recent Netflix shows, BRAND NEW CHERRY FLAVOR, stars as Alma. The mother is played by the underrated Constance Marie, who is most famous for being the matriarch on THE GEORGE LOPEZ SHOW. The show is about a biracial family and besides English, Spanish and Hebrew are spoken at specific spots. The rotoscoping animation is beautiful and is a necessary element for the type of writing and storytelling that this show requires. If you have an Amazon Prime Account (Like the majority of our nation), give this show eight hours of your time. You will absolutely not regret it.
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