'See' Is So Bad You Have To See It
We've all had to stretch far and wide into the darkest corners of our streaming libraries because of quarantine, myself included. This journey brought me to Apple TV+, which brought me to See, a high concept drama starring Jason Momoa about a future civilization where humanity has lost the ability to see and, as a result, has reverted back into tribal societies. Now already you might be able to intuit that this may not go well. Maybe you can even "smell it" as the characters in the show will sometimes (and then, inexplicably, sometimes not) be able to do.
And you'd be right. It's absolute schlock and critics have panned it as such. What's good for us, though, is See is so clumsy, so nonsensical, and so bold, that anyone watching without choosing to take it seriously will laugh their asses into oblivion. It's become my favorite show of the quarantine and I believe it is my duty during these troubled times as a writer of Cracked, nay, as a citizen of planet Earth, to alert you of this show right away.
First off, the world-building is great, and I mean that without irony. You have this wonderful juxtaposition between Baba Voss's (Jason Momoa) tribe of skilled blind warriors vs. the almost steampunk/naturepunk hybrid aesthetic of Queen Kane's (Sylvia Hoeks) Payan Kingdom. And it's all set in the ruins of our modern world -- a powerplant, a theme park, etc. -- as characters reimagine uses for our current technology. (Like when we witness a gruesome execution with batteries for example.) Some aspects of this world feel so well thought out. The characters read messages with a language of knots. They hang a series of ropes to guide them as they move throughout their village. In deft hands you'd almost start to believe that this show could work as the serious drama it purports to be.
But, the logistical inconsistencies will begin to overwhelm you by the end of the first episode. A character feels a few knots on a rope and somehow that translates into long, flowery language. (Please tell us what the knot looks like for "a world anew?") In one instance, Jason Momoa is like half-Daredevil/half-Zatoichi, killing enemies as he's able to see with all of his other senses.
In another, he lets a bear sneak up behind him (Mother nature's silent killer). The actors will at times forget they are blind by responding to clear visual cues. Even worse, sometimes they will so overly indulge in acting blind that it would have to be offensive if any blind person could see it. There are so many moments where you're left wondering "how" or "why" that you can't help but burst out in laughter.
Watching See is like watching the first draft of a young-adult-novel on screen. Every choice swings for the fences without any regard for how silly it might look if it fails. It's how we get a blind Queen who prays by masturbating (I swear I'm not making this stuff up) and a "shadow" spy who masks her location by covering herself in what appears to be birdshit. (Or maybe she just does that for the look. Again, it's unclear.) But if that's not the formula for so-bad-it's amazing television and a perfect quarantine hangout show, then I don't know what is.
Top Image: Apple TV