I finally caught up on the Amazon series Undone, which I’ve been wanting to watch since getting a glimpse of its wonderful rotoscoped style. I think I complained in one of these columns recently that, upon rewatching A Scanner Darkly, I felt like its animation was underused, barely scratching the surface of what such a dark, trippy film could do with that dreamy style. Undone gets it right.
The series does a wonderful job of using its dreamy look to tell a story where characters are constantly going in and out of memories, leaving moments behind only to return to them later, mid-conversation. It’s something that could easily be overdone, but the story keeps it all grounded, even as the visuals help to express just how disorienting and occasionally wonderful the feeling of slipping in and out of time can be.
And ultimately, the show’s characters are just so strong and colorful on their own that it’d be worth watching even if people weren’t constantly slipping through time and space. The rotoscoped style could have distanced us, but instead it gives the actors space to be even more expressive, as the scene focuses us on their eyes, mouth, or hands, making simple motions feel large and impactful.
Check out seven trailers from this week below.
J.J. Abrams and Jordan Peele are two of the executive producers behind this new HBO series, which basically boils down to: what if the Jim Crow South also had Lovecraftian monsters? It looks like a very cool blend of genres so far. The show starts in August.
The Painter and the Thief
A painter confronts — and befriends — a man who stole two of her paintings in the documentary The Painter and the Thief. It looks like a fascinating story, and it’s worth checking out the trailer just for a glimpse at the relationship the two build, particularly as she begins to paint a portrait of him. The film comes out May 22nd.
It’s probably been over a decade since I’ve seen an episode of Reno 911, but this revival of the show looks like it hasn’t lost a step from the ridiculous series I remember. The show is coming to Quibi, which, alright fine. It returns May 4th.
Amazon has a new season of Homecoming coming up, and this installment has Janelle Monáe in the lead, which seems like a solid reason to revisit the show. The new season premieres May 22nd.
Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt
A year after ending the series, Netflix is bringing back Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt for a special episode to take advantage of its Choose Your Own Adventure-style (TM?) tech. The revival arrives May 12th.
Hulu has a new animated comedy coming up from two of the producers behind Robot Chicken. The comedy feels a little cheap, but I really like the animation style, which has the characters and world all looking like little woodblock toys. The show premieres June 12th.
Jerry Seinfeld: 23 Hours to Kill
Here’s the first real look at Jerry Seinfeld’s new comedy special, his first in more than two decades. There’s something very charming about seeing bits of Seinfeld’s routine — he has his style down so perfectly, it feels a little like listening to a forgotten track on an old album you used to love. The special comes to Netflix on May 5th.