Apple TV+ review: 'See' is no 'Game of Thrones'

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in iPod + iTunes + AppleTV edited December 2019
"See" is Apple's stab at a high-budget post-apocalyptic dramatic series, meant to reverberate faint echoes of "Game of Thrones." Sadly, the table-setting for the show's future is akin to that of a slog, bruised by a concept that lacks the compulsion to seduce viewers out of the gate.

Jason Momoa in
Jason Momoa in "See," premiering November 1 on Apple TV+. (Photo courtesy of Apple)


In the not too distant future, a catastrophic virus kills off most of the world's population, while leaving all of the few survivors blind. Centuries more pass, and most people believe that sight was a power that humans simply never had. That is, until a woman gives birth to twins, who can see. This sets off a battle, with those children becoming valuable in the eyes of a villainous queen (Sylvia Hoeks, best known from Blade Runner 2049.)

See allegedly cost $15 million an episode, which is comparable to the price tag for Game of Thrones towards the end of its run. That Game of Thrones vibe is amplified by Jason Momoa, who starred on the first season of that show, is the star here.

But unlike, say, The Morning Show, which cost Apple a fortune in actor salaries, most of See's budget appears to have gone towards effects.

While the series starts slow, there are a handful of intriguing moments in the first three episodes, which AppleInsider has seen. Notably, there's an especially nerve-wracking sequence in the first episode in which the blind characters lead each other across a rickety bridge, which provides the show with some palpable tension that it's missing most of the rest of the time.

Eventually, things pick up, as the babies grow up, gain the ability to read books, and therefore regain human knowledge beyond anyone else alive.

The series was filmed in British Columbia, and features lots of vistas familiar from that province's tourism commercials. That leads to some amazing photography, much of it of trees and rivers. Given the location and conceit of the show, it was inevitable that Momoa would fight a bear, and he does, early in the second episode.

And yes, there's some sexuality and violence, beyond the level of what one would find on network television. In the third episode, in fact, one character shoves a sword down the throat of another -- so this is in no way the "nice" Apple that was predicted.

The score is by Bear McCreary, of The Walking Dead and Battlestar Galactica, which sounds more than a little like the music of Momoa's former show.

A lackluster world


Jason Momoa and Hera Hilmar in "See," premiering November 1 on Apple TV+ (Courtesy of Apple TV+)


But ultimately, the series is set in a world that's not all that interesting. The great 2006 film Children of Men had a slightly similar premise in the shocking arrival of a baby disrupting a post-apocalyptic world. Not only does See not take as much advantage of the premise, but isn't nearly as visually inventive as Alfonso Cuaron's film was.

It also doesn't help that Momoa, who's shown himself to be a compelling performer in his 2018 Aquaman movie and in a recent Saturday Night Live hosting stint, isn't given much opportunity to show his personality beyond the great name of "Baba Voss." Hera Hilmar plays the mother of the twins, while veteran character actress Alfre Woodard is Paris, the leader of a tribe.

The series has eight episodes, but they'll be spread out a little different from most of the Apple TV+ shows. The first three will arrive at launch on November 1, and the fourth through eighth episodes will arrive weekly, on Fridays, with the season finale debuting December 6. Each first-season episode was written by English screenwriter Steven Knight (Eastern Promises and Peaky Blinders) and directed by Francis Lawrence, best known for The Hunger Games.

See, like three of the other debut shows, has been renewed already for a second season, although The Hollywood Reporter revealed recently that a different creative team will be running the series going forward -- and we think this is a good thing.

It continues the trend, with the new Apple TV+ shows, that the series with an entrenched creator are more successful out of the gate than those without one.

This is not Westeros


Jason Momoa in "See," premiering November 1 on Apple TV+. (Photo courtesy of Apple)


Based on what we've seen thus far of See, it has a chance to appeal to fans of dystopian fantasy anad sci-fi, as well as those who who are big Jason Momoa fans, and would prefer to see him lead factions and fight bears rather than crack wise and otherwise show his personality.

In the current streaming wars, it appears, most networks and streaming services are looking for their own Game of Thrones.

Apple TV+ may one day have one of those, but See, at least based on its start, is not that.
philboogie
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 66
    Joe PiervincentiJoe Piervincenti Posts: 26unconfirmed, member
    Kinda sad that the only thing that matters is how the show compares to GoT.  While, of course, that's not the only thing you mentioned, it still was mentioned far too often.  That shouldn't be one of the main factors.
    StrangeDaysrandominternetperson15ngcs1AppleExposedlolliverwatto_cobraedredjahbladecy_starkmanjohnbsirius
  • Reply 2 of 66
    I'll want to see this one, but I can see one plot point that I want explained before seeing a single episode.  How can people who can't see tell that a couple of babies, who presumably have the same lack of communication skills that real world babies do, can see?
    randominternetpersonwatto_cobracy_starkman
  • Reply 3 of 66
    Mike WuertheleMike Wuerthele Posts: 6,516administrator
    I'll want to see this one, but I can see one plot point that I want explained before seeing a single episode.  How can people who can't see tell that a couple of babies, who presumably have the same lack of communication skills that real world babies do, can see?
    Reading books.
  • Reply 4 of 66
    macguimacgui Posts: 2,192member
    I'll want to see this one, but I can see one plot point that I want explained before seeing a single episode...
    Huh? You don't think that will be explained as the story unfolds, in due course?? I'm sure if you wait, there will be spoilers all over the 'net to help you cope with viewing.
    StrangeDays15ngcs1AppleExposedJaphey
  • Reply 5 of 66
    fumifumi Posts: 21member
    This sounded utterly lame from the moment Jason Momoa appeared on stage back in the Spring at that Apple Event and asked everyone to close their eyes. Apple will quickly learn that throwing millions of dollars at rubbish will still still give you rubbish. To be honest, I haven't seen a single trailer for anything on AppleTV+ that's made me think Oh, wow. I have to see that.

    HBO's Watchmen is currently the most compelling thing on TV, in my opinion.
    asdasd
  • Reply 6 of 66
    I'll want to see this one, but I can see one plot point that I want explained before seeing a single episode.  How can people who can't see tell that a couple of babies, who presumably have the same lack of communication skills that real world babies do, can see?
    Reading books.
    That's the part I can't sort out. Who taught them to read?
    llamarandominternetpersonasdasdwatto_cobra
  • Reply 7 of 66
    Mike WuertheleMike Wuerthele Posts: 6,516administrator
    I'll want to see this one, but I can see one plot point that I want explained before seeing a single episode.  How can people who can't see tell that a couple of babies, who presumably have the same lack of communication skills that real world babies do, can see?
    Reading books.
    That's the part I can't sort out. Who taught them to read?
    Solid question. We don't know yet.
  • Reply 8 of 66
    It helps when you base a story (TV series) on a well known and liked book.  

    Apple...there’s thousands of them out there.  Pick one!
  • Reply 9 of 66
    As soon a you place a character in some sort of fantastical environment the series gets compared to GoT... Nothing will be the phenomenon that GoT was, they pioneered in the genera and storytelling style. Killing your main character while sprinkling grotesque violence with some nudity is not a formula that anybody else follows, certainly not Apple. I doubt this series is a GoT wannabe, so why not judge the series for what it really is?
    15ngcs1watto_cobragoodbyeranch
  • Reply 10 of 66
    Kinda sad that the only thing that matters is how the show compares to GoT.  While, of course, that's not the only thing you mentioned, it still was mentioned far too often.  That shouldn't be one of the main factors.
    I disagree.  While I never got into GOT, many others did.  A whole lot of others.  If there were more seasons of GOT people would watch.  That is a big void that anyone would be silly not to fill.  Of course, the show still needs to be good but if I were a betting man (or an investor)...shows like GOT definitely have a place in the lineup.  Tomorrow when the world goes Ga-Ga over shows about Circus Clowns...we can switch gears to that.  But for now, GOT like shows.


    watto_cobra
  • Reply 11 of 66
    It helps when you base a story (TV series) on a well known and liked book.  

    Apple...there’s thousands of them out there.  Pick one!
    I think I read somewhere that Apple is doing a show on Issac Asimov's Foundation series?  That will be a good one.  Sorry can't fact-check my own post...but I believe I did read that.  Excited.
    15ngcs1asdasdwatto_cobracy_starkmangoodbyeranch
  • Reply 12 of 66
    Mike WuertheleMike Wuerthele Posts: 6,516administrator
    amarkap said:
    It helps when you base a story (TV series) on a well known and liked book.  

    Apple...there’s thousands of them out there.  Pick one!
    I think I read somewhere that Apple is doing a show on Issac Asimov's Foundation series?  That will be a good one.  Sorry can't fact-check my own post...but I believe I did read that.  Excited.
    You did. It's coming, but not for launch.
    StrangeDaysamarkap15ngcs1AppleExposedwatto_cobracy_starkman
  • Reply 13 of 66
    StrangeDaysStrangeDays Posts: 12,203member
    AppleInsider said:
    Based on what we've seen thus far of See, it has a chance to appeal to fans of dystopian fantasy anad sci-fi, as well as those who who are big Jason Momoa fans, and would prefer to see him lead factions and fight bears rather than crack wise and otherwise show his personality.
    I haven’t seen the show and have no idea whether it’s any good, but I don’t consider not having a character make wisecracks with the actor’s personality, rather than the character’s, to be a fault. Not everything needs to be the wisecracking MCU. If this character has a serious or harsh life, that’s what the actor should portray. 
    edited October 2019 philboogielolliverwatto_cobra
  • Reply 14 of 66
    davgregdavgreg Posts: 965member
    Apple is going to learn and expensive and hard lesson about TV/Movie production- you cannot just throw money at it and succeed.
    bigtdsmobirdGrayeaglemacplusplus
  • Reply 15 of 66
    davgreg said:
    Apple is going to learn and expensive and hard lesson about TV/Movie production- you cannot just throw money at it and succeed.
    Entertainment is full of hit-or-miss material. That's the nature of the business. Companies that have been producing movies and television for decades have plenty of misfires, and so will companies like Apple, Amazon, and Netflix. 
    15ngcs1AppleExposedlolliverwatto_cobraelectrosoft
  • Reply 16 of 66
    philboogiephilboogie Posts: 7,674member
    The series has eight episodes, but they'll be spread out a little different from most of the Apple TV+ shows. The first three will arrive at launch on November 1, and the fourth through eighth episodes will arrive weekly, on Fridays, with the season finale debuting December 6.
    According to IMDB, the series has 10 episodes, ending Dec 20th:
    https://www.imdb.com/title/tt7949218/episodes?season=1

    You're sure it has 8 episodes?

    15ngcs1
  • Reply 17 of 66
    Each show will find their audience eventually. Apple doesn’t have to deal with ratings, just like Netflix.
    15ngcs1AppleExposedwatto_cobracy_starkman
  • Reply 18 of 66
    AB101AB101 Posts: 27member
    Bomba.
    AppleExposedbigtds
  • Reply 19 of 66
    macgui said:
    I'll want to see this one, but I can see one plot point that I want explained before seeing a single episode...
    Huh? You don't think that will be explained as the story unfolds, in due course?? I'm sure if you wait, there will be spoilers all over the 'net to help you cope with viewing.
    I interpreted his comment as "Even though I haven't seen a  single episode I am intrigued by ..." rather than "if this isn't explained I won't watch a single episode."

    I had the same reaction.  If everyone is blind (and has been for generations) it's going to be tough to be good parents to seeing kids.
    lolliverwatto_cobra
  • Reply 20 of 66
    It helps when you base a story (TV series) on a well known and liked book.  

    Apple...there’s thousands of them out there.  Pick one!
    It also helps when you base a story not on a book.  Star Wars, Star Trek, BSG, Friends, CSI, Miami Vice, ER, Hill Street Blues, Lost, Seinfeld, etc., etc.  Sure there are TONS of examples of hits based on prior works, but that's hardly the only path to success.
    15ngcs1lolliverwatto_cobraleavingthebigg
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