‘Undone’ is trippy Television at its best


Friday night, the 13th annual PaleyFest featured the new Amazon original animated series, Undone.

The adult sci-fi drama co-created by BoJack Horseman’s Raphael Bob-Waksberg and Kate Purdy is surreal, dreamy and trippy and we love being sucked right away into its escapist world. It’s that gripping.

Reminiscent of USA’s Mr. Robot, another series that takes a deep look at mental illness, we meet 28-year-old Alma (voiced by Alita: Battle Angel’s Rosa Salazar) who nearly dies in a horrific car accident. When she awakens, she finds that she has a new relationship with time and develops a newfound dialogue with her dad (Voiced by Better Call Saul’s Bob Odenkirk).

Who happens to be dead.

The eight-episode series follows Alma as she begins to investigate her father’s death after discovering she can travel through time.

So, communicating with spirits, time travel, surreal animation. I’m in. Watch the trailer below:

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One of the first things you notice about Undone, is its look. The animation certainly adds to its trippy style. That’s accomplished by using rotoscope animation, a meticulous process whereby artists “draw” over live-action scenes frame by frame to create a vivid visual effect.

Dutch animator Hisko Hulsing oversaw the team behind Undone’s unique visual style. What it meant for the actors was performing their scenes on blank sets, with animators drawing in the backgrounds in post-production.

Amazon's Undone
(Cast of Undone at The Paley Center for Media’s 13th Annual PaleyFest Fall TV Previews celebrating Amazon’s Undone at the Paley Center in Beverly Hills on September 6, 2019. © Brian To for the Paley Center)

Speaking at PaleyFest in Beverly Hills, Waksberg said, “I’d say there are certain similarities, as far as the ‘lostness’ of the character, the melancholy, the prickliness, some substance abuse issues, mental health issues.

Salazar spoke about the production, “I’m always looking for new ways to stretch the boundaries of my craft and what I’m capable of in the ways of storytelling. She continued, “So it was wonderful. It was like black box theatre. You have a very limited surroundings, limited props. It’s very stripped down, it’s all about that moment. I really really enjoyed it. It also works you to the bone. They got their money’s worth.”

Undone is what great TV is all about. The series pushes every boundary while never losing sight of losing its audience. It’s gripping and fresh. I can’t wait to see how Alma’s story plays out.

Undone premieres on Amazon Prime September 13.

Contact Colin Costello at colin@reelchicago.com.