See is a science fiction drama show on Apple TV Plus. You might consider it to be just another show to land in our laps that tells a dramatic tale with flavors of action, suspense and intrigue, but one aspect that really sets it apart is that all characters in this show are blind. It is set in a time when the few humans who have survived a virus have all lost their vision.
Because everyone in this show is blind, it was very important to show them as people who needed to do everything it takes to not only do daily activities but also navigate the wilderness, face dangerous situations and take action (fight, in many cases), and support each other in their community.
But who made sure that people with visual impairment were depicted realistically? It was associate producer and blindness consultant Joe Strechay, who is blind as well.
Joe, who lost his vision to retinitis pigmentosa, made sure to avoid typical stereotypes surrounding people with disabilities. Traditionally, in a movie or TV show, anyone with a disability is shown as someone who needs help. But in See it’s different – drastically different. The blind characters are heroes, lovers, protectors and villains, and all of them are at the centre of the plot. To make the plot and the depiction as real as possible, Joe introduced lots of real life techniques used by blind people. For example, In one scene, several characters, all in a raft, are required to communicate with each other without talking. That’s when they grab each other’s arms and start squeezing until everyone on the raft knows what’s going on. These hand signal “alarm systems” are used by Joe in real life with his wife. Through such methods, See goes on to show that even though the characters are blind, they are able to do a lot more than what’s been typically shown in such shows.
Even though the main two characters, Jason Momoa and Alfre Woodard aren’t blind, the rest of the characters and crew are.
Ultimately, through these shows, people like Joe are not only helping entertainment be more real but also showing people with disabilities in the right light. In addition, it goes without saying that Including disabled actors in the shows bring equal opportunities to them and helps them grow their careers.
What other areas do you think should have blindness/deaf/disability consultants?
Watch Joe Strechay provide his insights on the show at its premiere last year.