Netflix and Spill: The OA

When a new series claims to be along the lines of another (namely, Stranger Things), it better well live up to such a grandiose claim.

Yet exactly how do we describe The OA, which is on one level a show about a woman who vanishes and then mysteriously turns up 7 years later, and on another level a show about the supernatural and angels?

Following the exploration into alternate universes and metaphysical states, it does get confusing.

OA (Brit Marling, who co-wrote and produced), or Prairie as she is known to her adoptive parents, faces similar struggles of characters who cannot communicate exactly what they saw during her disappearance. Once legally blind, she returns with her sight fully restored and mysterious scars on her back.

Every night OA meets up with a motley crue that comprises of delinquent Steve (Patrick Gibson), motherly teacher Betty (Phyllis Smith), orphan Jesse (Brendan Meyer), scholarly Alfonso (Brandon Perera) and transgender student Buck (Ian Alexander). Only they know what really happened, and they alone have been entrusted to save others from a similar fate.

Near death experiences or NDEs are not a new concept in science fiction, but what makes this series so compelling is the way that it grasps at the frequency of their occurrence. Indeed, they are not something to be feared, but chased, seized as a way to tie together the past and future of one’s life.

They serve as both the portal and the speed hump to the story.

At times, the pace of the series halts as we encounter more of an auteur’s perspective on the story.  The climax is hugely anticipated, and does not quite deliver, but we are still graced with thorough exposition and gratuitous conflict.

The OA is out of this world.

A Netflix Original Series.