The OA moves viewers with lots of drama and mystery


The main character of The OA, Praire Johnson (Brit Marling) is blind, and feels the face of a friend.

Ilana Hill, A&E Editor

Upon finishing the final episode of the first season of The OA, I could not tell whether or not it was actually good.

This is because the show exists on the borderline of artistic and bizarre, sacrificing character depth in order to maintain its aesthetic.

While the plot of The OA does not necessarily maintain its quality, it remains entertaining and hauntingly beautiful throughout its eight episode run.

Is the uniqueness of the show and its innovative design and concept enough to redeem its shortcomings?

At the commencement of this Netflix Original Series, Prairie Johnson (played by Brit Marling, who is also a writer, executive producer, and co-creator for the series), who has renamed herself The OA, reemerges after disappearing from her Michigan hometown seven years prior.

In this time, The OA has miraculously regained her ability to see, having been blind since childhood.

Following her homecoming, The OA recruits five volunteers to listen to her story and help her with a mysterious task.

While this plot is undoubtedly intriguing and unique, it does not take long for it to lose its footing.

Perhaps the best way to summarize the flaws of The OA is by examining the qualities of its titular character.

The OA struggles to see her own insanity or the faults in her story. She oftentimes takes herself too seriously, and is too wrapped up in her eventual goal to focus on the characters and backstories with which she is surrounded.

The series glosses over supporting character development in order to share the tale of The OA’s harrowing disappearance. The OA’s story, which becomes increasingly outrageous and unintentionally comedic, makes it nearly impossible to see her listeners as being anything more than half-baked stereotypes.

Although there are many aspects of the show that lack depth, The OA still manages to create emotional moments.

This is mostly due to the strong acting abilities of the series’ cast. While the characters fail to ascend beyond their stereotypical personas, they are able to invoke a sense of sorrow and loss that contributes to the quality of the series overall.

While The OA does venture into bizarre and confusing territory during the latter half of its short season, it does present some redeemable qualities in the undeniable beauty of its settings and the initial appeal of its plot.

The first few episodes of The OA are incredible, filled with the promises of unique plots, strange characters, mysterious plot twists, and beautiful aesthetics.

While the latter half of the show’s first season failed to maintain these promises, the strength of the first three to four episodes is enough to make the show worth watching.

Once the season reaches its midway mark, it becomes clear that the The OA’s past is meant to take center stage, with plots regarding her group of confidants appearing as unoriginal afterthoughts.

This particular plot decision, along with other stylistic choices that create unintentional comic relief cause The OA to falter before it can even fully convey its message.

The OA is an acquired taste. It is interesting and engrossing enough to be enjoyable, but flawed enough to be overlooked.

Regardless of whether The OA is worthy of acclaim, it is definitely notable for its utterly unique and unapologetically indie approach to science fiction.