Apple is launching its own streaming platform Apple TV+ on November 1, and they're at a distinct disadvantage compared to rivals like Disney+, HBO Max, and Peacock. Unlike those upcoming offerings, Apple TV+ doesn't have a deep catalog to entice TV and movie fans to sign up. Instead, it's focusing on original programming, with nine new shows premiering on the service's November 1 launch.
Among the new shows is See, a dystopian drama starring Jason Momoa. The show is set centuries in the future, long after a virus has wiped out most of humanity and rendered those who survived blind. Momoa plays Baba Voss, a celebrated warrior whose wife gives birth to twins in the pilot. While that would typically be seen as a joyous occasion, these twins are born with the gift of sight, making them immediate targets. Everyone--from a gang of witch hunters to a ruthless queen of the post-apocalyptic wasteland--wants the children for themselves.
It's an ambitious show, but can it live up to its potential? The answer is both yes and no. GameSpot was provided with the first three episodes of See Season 1--it's already been renewed for a second eight-episode run--and while there is potential for a good show, it takes a while to get there.
The first two episodes of See miss the mark. The show introduces what should be an exciting world to explore, only to not really explore it at all. Instead, viewers are plunged almost immediately into a war between two tribes with no real explanation of what's going on, except that it's Team Momoa vs. a group of witch hunters. The battle is impressive, but it's one of the very first things you see on the show, leaving you not particularly invested in one side or the other.
And that's unfortunate, because "impressive" is a word that can be applied to practically every visual the show presents. The world created in See is disturbingly beautiful and richly detailed, with sweeping scenery shots showing how nature has reclaimed the ruins of modern-day civilization and what remains of the world's freeway systems.
Instead of exploring these aspects of this world, the first two episodes spend their time torn between the ongoing struggle of Baba Voss's people and introducing Queen Kane (Sylvia Hoeks), a vindictive ruler that lives in a dam, listens to records, and masturbates when she prays to God. Why does she masturbate when she prays? There's no explanation.
Thankfully, the third episode--titled "Fresh Blood"-- is where See begins to shine. After a couple of time jumps in the first two episodes, the series finally begins to explore the world a bit through the eyes of the now-grown-up twins. That's when the production design for the show truly comes to life, as more areas are explored and more characters are introduced. While all three episodes show how the blind survived and thrived in this harsh world and built a new civilization, the addition of two kids who can see everything completely changes the dynamic of their tribe.
The third episode is also when the fight scenes take a significant leap forward. While the battle between Baba Voss's tribe and the witch hunters that opened the series was visually interesting and filled with a decent amount of blood--and one truly disturbing bit of gore--by the time you see Voss go to war against another group in "Fresh Blood," you care about his survival and the survival of those around him. Given that this is less of a battle between two tribes and more about one man taking on a group alone, the choreography is so much more intricate. Momoa is no stranger to fight scenes, given his roles as Aquaman and as Khal Drogo on Game of Thrones, but this is some of the best work he's done in terms of fight choreography.
Most importantly, though, this is where the story finally gets interesting. It's no longer about Baba Voss and his tribe trying to protect two children from a world that wants to get its hands on them. Instead, it becomes about these teenagers who have come to realize they are not like everyone else and coming to terms with that, while their parents struggle with trying to keep them safe, without actually ever being able to see them.
See has to get through a lot of exposition to set up the main story, and that's a lot of what the first two episodes of Season 1 are. Still, it shouldn't take until the third episode for a show to draw you in. While I'm intrigued to find out where See will go from this point, expecting potential fans to stick around through three hour-long? episodes of TV to get to a point where the show becomes interesting is a lot to ask.
As for the cast, everyone does well enough in their roles. Nobody is delivering a performance that will blow you away, but they're all just over-the-top enough that it seems believable in this post-apocalyptic world. If there is one standout, it's Alfre Woodard as the priestess Paris, who offers guidance to Baba Voss and his wife, Maghra (Hera Hilmar). It should be noted that after the time jump, Woodard is aged up with practically a full head of white hair, while the same can't be said for Jason Momoa, who still looks decidedly Aquaman-esque, even years later.
There's still room for See to become a worthwhile show. With 16 episodes of the series already ordered, there is still plenty more story to tell. Now, if only it had begun telling that story earlier than three hours in.