More people should be watching the strangest sci-fi show on Netflix

In 2016 Netflix he presented us with two very different shows about girls with weird super powers.

One was Stranger things. The other was The OA, a shocking mystery set in a small town with an evil scientist who conducted inhumane experiments.

One of these programs is no longer running. Yet The OA is still the second best TV show sunk in the mines of Netflix. We believe the best show is Dark German Sci-Fi Thrillerbut The OA is not far behind.

OA is difficult to describe, because it stitches a handful of different genres into its ethereal plane. OA is surreal at times. Yet, instead of floating images that gently slam into each other, the science fiction here is delivered with the ingrained confidence of a Christopher Nolan film. It moves with the same relentless force.


Messy things happen on The OA.

JoJo Whilden / Netflix

Our main host and heroine is Prairie Johnson. In the very first scene, Prairie, a young blonde woman, jumps off a bridge. When she wakes up, she is back home. She had been missing for seven years.

Nobody knows what happened to her. Her return is a miracle. Even more shocking: once blind, she can see again.

Prairie has scars on her back and experiences traumatic episodes, but she doesn’t burden her adoptive parents with her story. Instead, she goes online, finding like-minded friends via YouTube.

From here, the story works a bit like the mystery Yellow jackets. We don’t know if Prairie is telling the truth to her new friends or not. We don’t know if she really has supernatural powers. For them, it doesn’t matter at all. She brings together unhappy and trapped people, showing them the same kindness and understanding they offered her. By showing them an escape route.


Yes, Zendaya is in this show.


The OA comes from longtime creative team Brit Marling (who also plays Prairie) and Zal Batmanglij. The show seems to be the product of minds in turmoil enthusiastically launching one idea after another. OA is as intense as it is dense, it explores the human condition, mortality, the afterlife and … the multiverse.

Right. Forget wonder. This is the show to watch if you want a rich and existential look at the interconnectedness of all things. The world of OA is vast and the way it works follows the most unexpected rules.

Even the OA doesn’t stick to any rigid formula for TV series. Opening credits don’t appear until 57 minutes into the show. It was written as an eight-hour film, with a fictional approach. You don’t meet some of the main characters until a third of the way down.

And season 2 is even better than the first. It becomes a noir detective story set in Silicon Valley, where children, one of whom is played by Zendaya, disappear after competing in a VR game on an app. Shot with a more refined look, Season 2 is slightly less somber than the character’s drama from Season 1. There are also attempts at humor: Marling is no stranger to comedy, appearing in the community and British series Babylon.

From time to time, The OA’s literary voice hits a gem. “To exist is to survive unfair choices,” someone tells Prairie.

So it’s a bit disconcerting that Netflix canceled the show after two seasons. Somehow this ambitious ball of tangled threads straddling the genders is a coherent, life-affirming experience.

It glues together with realistic and loyal characters bonded by their heartbreaking shared trials. There’s even a believable love story, a glimmer of warmth between creepy science, cryptic puzzles, and sad imagery.

Netflix made a mistake canceling this show. Many fans believed it was a publicity stunt: there was no way the streamer would stop funding this acclaimed, albeit expensive, five-season series, each very different in style and setting from the previous one.

Surprisingly, the Season 2 finale works almost like an ending to the entire series. However, Marling and Batmanglij have the real conclusion hidden somewhere. We pray that they have a chance to bring Season 3 to the screen. Someone please skip the size and save this show from the realm of canceled TV.

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