The OA

Netflix has quickly established itself as a producer of high quality television shows and films, under their own cleverly named company – ‘Netflix Originals.’ Kicking off with House of Cards, its popularity soon rocketed, resulting in the likes of Narcos, Bloodline, The Crown, The Get Down and most notably; the biggest show of 2016…

Following on a few months after the release of the aforementioned ‘Stranger Things’, ‘The O.A’ made it’s debut on the streaming site. Due to being released in the shadow of a mega-hit, this show pretty much slipped under the radar. Both shows are very similar at a glance – spiritual, mystery, thrillers. But despite having received very mixed reviews, I really, really enjoyed ‘The O.A’ a lot more than I ever expected to.

I had just finished 7 seasons of ‘The West Wing’ and needed a quick filler which was easy to watch. Being a mere 8 episodes in the first season; this TV show fit the bill perfectly. 5 hours later, I had pretty much made my way through most of the series!

The concept of the show is the reappearance of a girl who went missing 7 years prior. Her whereabouts in that time isn’t the only mystery – during her absence, she also regained her sight, after losing it as a young girl. Obviously everyone is eager to hear her story, and thus the series begins…

I can’t really say much more than that, without spoiling the magic of the show as it unfolds. Fans of writer, Brit Marling’s other work (Another Earth) will no doubt be aware of her style and themes. The show has a few occasions where it seems to drag in places, but for the most part, the intrigue and reveals keep it moving along at a decent pace. Some of main characters are underwritten, which is the main shortfall of it being such a limited run of episodes.

Episodes can vary dramatically in length, for example – one lasting just over an hour and another runs at a mere half an hour! This feels a little odd when you’re not prepared for it but doesn’t take away from the overall experience.

The performances are all decent from the main cast; Brit Marling & Emory Cohen in particular are both very watchable (not surprising as Marling both co-wrote the project and served as producer.) Patrick Gibson puts in a good performance as a troubled youth who finds solace in new friendship and of course Jason Isaacs is always very watchable!

There really are some lovely moments in the show, both in terms of writing and cinematography. Coupled with the ethereal soundtrack, it makes for a unique viewing experience. A second season has just been announced, so it’s the perfect time to give it a go and see what you think…

Intriguing, beautiful, bizarre, a little pretentious at times, cheesy at others and strangely emotional at others still – it is easy to see why it has mixed reviews. The themes aren’t nearly as dark as ‘Stranger Things’, which is why a lot of people were disappointed I think. And sure, out of the two S.T gets my vote, for its sheer nostalgic wholesomeness. If you go into ‘The O.A’ with an open mind, you’ll get a lot more from it. Personally, I can’t wait to see where they go with season 2…

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