Tuesday, 19 December 2017

TV69: The OA



Having a special affinity for Another Earth, Sound of My Voice and The East, Janelle and I have been wondering for quite a while what Brit Marling and Zal Batmanglij have been up to. The answer is that they were making a Netflix TV serial called The OA. As one would expect of these creators/writers, The OA is very weird television. This is by no means an insult. On the contrary, Marling, who stars as the OA, is an actor who excels in conveying weird, making me a fan of all of her work. The OA is no exception, though it’s not perfect.

Prairie Johnson is a young woman who suddenly returns to her community (and family) after a seven-year disappearance. When she went missing, she was blind. Now she can see. What happened? Is it a miracle or something more suspect? Why is Prairie calling herself the OA, why are there scars on her back, and why won’t she tell the FBI or her parents where she has been? She does tell her story to a group of carefully-chosen locals (mostly high school students), whom she calls upon to help her rescue others who have experienced a similar fate. As to what that fate is, you’ll need to watch it yourself, but let’s just say it is supremely weird (for Janelle and me, the jury is still out as to whether Brit and Zal are actually aliens). 

The OA is well-made, binge-worthy, slow-paced television, with a fascinating premise, good acting and interesting characters. One or two episodes are absolutely brilliant (and mind-blowing), easily worthy of ****.  Unfortunately, The OA stumbles in the last few episodes (there are only eight), getting less and less credible as the weirdness accelerates, entering the realm of ‘silly’, which is not good. There’s a second season coming next year, and I will watch it to see where it’s going, but my expectations aren’t high. Still, The OA, which might be sci-fi or something stranger, gets a solid ***+. My mug is up.

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