One of the first things you see in “Undone” is a car crash. One of the last things you see, in the pilot at least, is a car crash. One of the things you see the most over five episodes of Season 1 — in a myriad of different ways, interrupting various other moments — is this same exact car crash, where Alma (Rosa Salazar) gets T-boned after running a stop sign because she sees… something… on the side of the road. That “something” holds great meaning to the central mystery, but, as it first appears in the show, it’s just a few brush strokes on the giant canvas that is “Undone”; it’s an important part, but also a means to the bigger picture — and I’m not just talking about the show’s groundbreaking format.
“Undone,” the new half-hour original program from creators Kate Purdy and Raphael Bob-Waksberg (both of whom work on Netflix’s “BoJack Horseman”), is the first serialized TV show made with rotoscope animation. Rotoscoping is a process where artists trace over images that have already been captured, alter that footage with original artwork, or find a way to do both at once — you’ve seen it before in films like “A Scanner Darkly,” and the same team who made Richard Linklater’s 2006 film helped animate “Undone,” as well. The visuals, which are breathtaking in and of themselves, also compliment the series’ wide-ranging ambition, from the genres it smashes together to the themes of its core story.
Together, the animation and the writing compliment each other to form a unique new form of television; one that’s easy to get caught up in, even when it stumbles a bit while explaining itself. “Undone” is a fascinating project to examine, but it’s also a very good, very human story, sans the flashy packaging.
Leading up to the crash, Alma’s life is presented as mundane to the point of frustrating. She’s stuck in a rut, bouncing between her routine job at a daycare center and a quiet life at home with her live-in boyfriend, Sam (Siddharth Dhananjay). Further exacerbating Alma’s discontent is her all-too-normal sister, Becca (Angelique Cabral) and all-too-traditional mother, Camila (Constance Marie). Becca is recently engaged, which serves as a) a reminder for Alma that her best friend and drinking buddy will soon be domesticated, b) a trigger for Camila, who’s hoping Alma will soon follow in her …read more