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Xealot
Nov 25, 2002

Showdown in the Galaxy Era.



I didn't see a thread for this, so I made one.



Click for trailer

Undone is a rotoscope-animation half-hour drama about mental illness, trauma, identity, and time travel created by Kate Purdy and Raphael Bob-Waksberg (of Bojack Horseman fame.) It's 8 episodes long and available on Amazon Prime now.

So, what is it about?

Alma (Rosa Salazar, Alita: Battle Angel) is a troubled young woman living in Texas with her mother and sister. One day, after a traumatic car accident, she begins to interact with the spirit of her dead father (Bob Odenkirk, Better Call Saul.) Having unlocked supernatural abilities, Alma is asked to control her gifts and try to undo her father's death by altering the past.

Sounds weird. What is it similar to?

Nothing, really. Aesthetically, like Waking Life or A Scanner Darkly. In terms of plot or character, imagine if Fleabag was actually The OA. But honestly, it's a very experimental and surreal show and I can't think of anything like it.

But it's extremely good, thought-provoking, and demands a ton of analysis. It's also beautiful and moving and occasionally devastating. Watch it, it's like 3 hours all-in and I really want to talk to some people about it.

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muscles like this!
Jan 17, 2005




Rosa Salazar is SO good in this. She does a lot of the heavy lifting of the plot and is more than able to carry it.

WeedlordGoku69
Feb 11, 2015

by Cyrano4747


the fact that Rosa Salazar hasn't blown up huge is a crime, between this and Alita I'm pretty confident in calling her one of the best currently-active actresses in the entire loving industry

Number_6
Jul 23, 2006

BAN ALL GAS GUZZLERS

(except for mine)


Pillbug

Yesterday I was browsing Amazon Prime video and came across this by accident. Completely blew me away, watched the whole batch of episodes last night.

Onomarchus
Jun 4, 2005



Xealot posted:

But honestly, it's a very experimental and surreal show and I can't think of anything like it.

The rotoscope thing is supposedly a first, but for substance television has actually been trying this or something close a lot (Mr. Robot, last season of Buffy, The Leftovers, others I forget or never saw, arguably Dexter) and I mean that as a compliment since only the show I find clearly better (The Leftovers) is anywhere near as good as this. And doing it so well is part of what made The Leftovers my favorite show of all time, so I'm not disappointed that 3 hours of content hasn't dethroned it for me. (And I caught what seemed like that nod to The OA too; good stuff, whether coincidence or not.)

So what is it like? Like a good part of the Leftovers expressed visually as an old Sierra adventure game, meaning just about perfect. Or two my favorite things anyway. Can't miss stuff. (I heard about it from a positively glowing NPR review for what it's worth.) Best current show with Bob Odenkirk in it and probably the best show featuring Bob Odenkirk I've ever seen.

There might be a potential flaw or "imbalance" in the writing of the finale, but it could just be me. I bet I need to think or comb over it more, and I'd want more people finished with the show and talking before getting into super-spoilery stuff like that. I hope I'm wrong because in Kubrick's Shining when the ghost just undeniably opened that door lock it killed the duality and ruined the movie for me.

muscles like this!
Jan 17, 2005




Actually a similar show in look and content (although more of a straight comedy) is Dream Corp LLC.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7bJwHYZnaiQ

The premise of that show is that people would come to this horrible little lab in a decrepit strip mall where they would be hooked up to a machine that would take themselves into their dreamscapes where the mad scientist who runs the place would help them with their problems. The real world is live action and the dreamscape is rotoscoped animation.

Shbobdb
Dec 16, 2010

by Reene


Bojack asks the question, "So, you are successful: where do you go from there?" The answer is "dark places" because ultimately we create our own hell. Undone asks the same question with the twist of "but what if you are a total failure." There are ways to ask that question but treating "struggling poverty" as a counterpoint to "unbelievable wealth" is, well, as tone dead as the main character is deaf. I get how there is a theoretical poor audience for Undone but do they watch Amazon Prime?


It seems extremely off-brand.

WeedlordGoku69
Feb 11, 2015

by Cyrano4747


I mean, poor people tend to just pirate poo poo if they're even remotely tech-savvy ime, so I don't think the service it's on really matters much.

e: I say, as a poor person who pirates everything I can't just bum off my parents. :v:

Aces High
Mar 26, 2010

Nah! A little chocolate will do






I never really took it as Alma or her family as being "poor" they just aren't blue-bloods like Reed and his parents. I mean, her dad was a university prof with a whole lot of grants so I don't think they ever wanted for anything and I'm sure Alma isn't working at that school as a volunteer.

Also this series confirmed for me that Rosa Salazar is one of the most sincere actresses working right now and she is very enjoyable to watch because you can tell she cares. I think she is my new celebrity crush (as if my Alita avatar didn't give that away)

Shbobdb
Dec 16, 2010

by Reene


Do you know any university profs? They make, like 60-90K/yr until the end of their career where they get maybe $150K-or-so unless they are at a major research institution. That's already poverty wages without factoring the life of a single mother with no career to speak of. If it's all downhill from "college professor" that family is poor as shiiiit.

socialsecurity
Aug 30, 2003







Aces High posted:

I never really took it as Alma or her family as being "poor" they just aren't blue-bloods like Reed and his parents. I mean, her dad was a university prof with a whole lot of grants so I don't think they ever wanted for anything and I'm sure Alma isn't working at that school as a volunteer.

Also this series confirmed for me that Rosa Salazar is one of the most sincere actresses working right now and she is very enjoyable to watch because you can tell she cares. I think she is my new celebrity crush (as if my Alita avatar didn't give that away)

She works at a daycare I assure you she is making poor people wages.

Shbobdb
Dec 16, 2010

by Reene


socialsecurity posted:

She works at a daycare I assure you she is making poor people wages.

And her boyfriend is a waiter at a crappy restaurant that makes him wear a uniform.

Lt. Danger
Dec 22, 2006

jolly good chaps we sure showed the hun



Shbobdb posted:

Bojack asks the question, "So, you are successful: where do you go from there?" The answer is "dark places" because ultimately we create our own hell. Undone asks the same question

??? odd take

Xealot
Nov 25, 2002

Showdown in the Galaxy Era.



socialsecurity posted:

She works at a daycare I assure you she is making poor people wages.

Sure, they're not rich, but I didn't get the sense they were in horrible poverty. Alma's mother appears to own her house, and her sister seems to be doing fine.

I don't think the show is "about poverty" in any particular way. Alma's life being lovely seems more related to her mental illness problems and her lack of ambition or concern for the future; it seems appreciably worse than the rest of her family. But even Jacob's death seems more about the emotional than the financial for her. The montage of "you weren't here" moments involved, like, missing graduations or not being there during her periods of self-harm. It didn't show Alma and her sister at a soup kitchen or her mom turning tricks to make rent or anything.

Aces High
Mar 26, 2010

Nah! A little chocolate will do






yeah the only inkling we get that Alma's family is "poor" is through the lens of Reed's parents and they are clearly :thermidor: level rich, as well as pretty racist and Alma is the only one willing to call attention to that behaviour.

also I think it is safe to say that Alma attempted suicide in that montage because it looked like she went up the street instead of across, not saying it wasn't self-harm but to me it had gone beyond that

Comrade Fakename
Feb 13, 2012




People who live in nicely furnished, spacious houses, have no problems with healthcare, and express no financial concerns about missing a great deal of work or even being fired: “struggling poverty”.

Xealot
Nov 25, 2002

Showdown in the Galaxy Era.



Comrade Fakename posted:

People who live in nicely furnished, spacious houses, have no problems with healthcare, and express no financial concerns about missing a great deal of work or even being fired: “struggling poverty”.

Yeah, the second point is the one I find most relevant. Alma is in a hospital for a while, is getting PT, and nobody cares about the cost or has any problems with their insurance. They're fine.

They're poor relative to Bojack Horseman, a show about literal multimillionaires in the most affluent strata of Los Angeles.

DaveKap
Feb 5, 2006

Pickle: Inspected.





For such a loving amazing show (that I just finished watching) this thread sure is talking about some weird and unrelated poo poo.

There's honestly too much to write about how much I loved this and am actually legitimately mad there isn't more. Maybe I'll come back to all the positives and instead just mention my only two issues.
First, if there was any reason we were supposed to think Alma actually is schizo, it's completely thrown out the window due to the 2 scenes where she actually used her powers in a way that other people could understand. The security guard who lost her sister and the mom's secret that she was in dad's lab. As such, without reconciliation of what we witnessed in these two cases, there is no way that we can perceive Alma as a mentally unstable person or question our views of what we've been watching. I don't think the show was ever trying to do that but if it was, if anyone saw it that way, or if they ever took it there, let it be known that there are 2 moments that would need reconciliation.

Second, there wasn't enough loving crazy trippy poo poo. I kinda expected a lot more awesome scenes like what we got as Alma became awakened to her powers. Hopefully we'll get a season two with a lot more time traveling and a lot more "what else can my powers do?" space fuckery.


An announcement of a renewal can't come soon enough.

Comrade Fakename
Feb 13, 2012




DaveKap posted:

First, if there was any reason we were supposed to think Alma actually is schizo, it's completely thrown out the window due to the 2 scenes where she actually used her powers in a way that other people could understand. The security guard who lost her sister and the mom's secret that she was in dad's lab. As such, without reconciliation of what we witnessed in these two cases, there is no way that we can perceive Alma as a mentally unstable person or question our views of what we've been watching. I don't think the show was ever trying to do that but if it was, if anyone saw it that way, or if they ever took it there, let it be known that there are 2 moments that would need reconciliation.

Those two moments are a lot less unequivocal than you are making out. With the security guard, she could have intuited all that information from her screensaver, as her boyfriend suggested. If she’s schizophrenic, she would have done all the deduction and imagining subconsciously. Similarly, Alma also has all the information required to deduce that her mother broke into the lab - she knows about the break in, and subconsciously she remembers her parents’ arguments and her father experimenting on her.

So it’s still up in the air regarding Alma’s mental state or magic powers. Although if they make a second season I’d imagine they’d lean further into magic as that just opens up more paths for freaky drama. That said, are they even hoping for a second season? This story seems very self-contained.

Xealot
Nov 25, 2002

Showdown in the Galaxy Era.



Comrade Fakename posted:

That said, are they even hoping for a second season? This story seems very self-contained.

This was my thinking. The last shot is so intentional about the ambiguity; if they wanted to provide answers, why go with this Schrödinger's Jacob ending? They'd have to provide an answer one way or the other if they make more episodes. Which could be fine, but it'd become a totally different show at that point.

The OA also plays this game: the first season is intentionally coy about the reality of Prairie's supernatural experiences, and the point becomes that her friends' belief in her message is more important than the question of its reality. Then season 2 happens, and not only is all of the multiverse empathy dance magic real, but it's 1000% more absurd than it sounded. To clarify, I loving loved The OA, but season 2 is...a whole other vibe.

So, I'd be fine with more Undone, but only if it goes totally off the rails. Chooses total batshit crazy.

Zachack
Jun 1, 2000






Comrade Fakename posted:

Those two moments are a lot less unequivocal than you are making out. With the security guard, she could have intuited all that information from her screensaver, as her boyfriend suggested. If she’s schizophrenic, she would have done all the deduction and imagining subconsciously. Similarly, Alma also has all the information required to deduce that her mother broke into the lab - she knows about the break in, and subconsciously she remembers her parents’ arguments and her father experimenting on her.

So it’s still up in the air regarding Alma’s mental state or magic powers. Although if they make a second season I’d imagine they’d lean further into magic as that just opens up more paths for freaky drama. That said, are they even hoping for a second season? This story seems very self-contained.

I think you can see all the evidence in the first example at the end of it and there's no way to have that level of detail without magic. The second one would be a big stretch without magic but I guess could be possible, but I don't see how the first would work.

I also think the not magic scenario undermines things because a lot of Alma's emotional growth is dependent on the magic; the stuff with Sam would shift into a really weird form of make believe being the foundation for (presumably) positive personal growth.

The ambiguity, imo, really only appeared in the last episode and I don't think it worked and kinda botched the end. The show felt like it was written around a "not crazy" scenario.

Khanstant
Apr 5, 2007

by Azathoth


Shbobdb posted:

Do you know any university profs? They make, like 60-90K/yr until the end of their career where they get maybe $150K-or-so unless they are at a major research institution. That's already poverty wages without factoring the life of a single mother with no career to speak of. If it's all downhill from "college professor" that family is poor as shiiiit.

60k isn't poverty wages, that's practically rich people from where I sit.

Aces High
Mar 26, 2010

Nah! A little chocolate will do






Zachack posted:

The ambiguity, imo, really only appeared in the last episode and I don't think it worked and kinda botched the end. The show felt like it was written around a "not crazy" scenario.

This was an interesting choice that I actually liked because, to me, it acted like a bridge where the audience and Alma have to come to an understanding that, sure, maybe we can see into other people's lives but that doesn't mean we can travel into the past and bring someone back from the dead. Even if a season 2 does show that she did bring her dad back, everything he was ever involved in is going to be turned upside down and be absolutely hosed.

Then again, I would be down for another season if it means we get to see writers struggle with how to piece a life back together that has been missing for 20 years, sort of like how every time Marty McFly goes back to 1985 his entire life as he has known it doesn't exist anymore.

Xealot
Nov 25, 2002

Showdown in the Galaxy Era.



Aces High posted:

S2 Speculation
Then again, I would be down for another season if it means we get to see writers struggle with how to piece a life back together that has been missing for 20 years, sort of like how every time Marty McFly goes back to 1985 his entire life as he has known it doesn't exist anymore.

I was imagining something like that, but only in part. My pitch is more she brings Jacob back, but the way that looks is some surreal split timeline she exists across, where in one he never died and they're both McFly time-doppelgängers who don't recall the past 20 years, and in the other he's still dead and her family is convinced she's schizophrenic, and it's hard for her to figure out or control which one she's in at any given moment.

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Hakkesshu
Nov 3, 2009




I liked Alita, but I wasn't fully convinced that Rosa Salazar was a great actor based just on that, but man she blew away my expectations here. Amazing show, probably the best I've watched this year, and also the rare case where nothing felt wasted - it was the perfect length for the story they wanted to tell.

I would be extremely surprised if we get a second season, or at least if we do get one I'd imagine they'd make it an anthology, because continuing this story seems like it would completely betray the ending.

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