Netflix has surpassed itself with the OA. It’s a feast of creativity, originality and puzzlement.
Frankly it’s not the sort of show I’d expect to like, loaded to the hilt as it is with mysticism, other dimensions, expressive movement, spells, spiritualism and a central character (the Original Angel) that is as near to a full on hippy as we’ve seen on our screens in forty years. It’s a fantasy show that’s grounded in reality and borrows in style from Cronenberg and Jonathon Demme.
Part mystery, part meaning of existence it centres on the story of OA who starts out life as a blind Russian girl, daughter of an oligarch who has a near death experience at the age of six when her bus full of junior oligarchs is attacked on a bridge by a terrorist group. All but her die and for safety she is shipped to America where she is adopted by an ageing couple who, on doctors orders, heavily sedate her for the next 15 years to treat the possible impact of schizophrenia.
On her 21st birthday she goes to meet her father (one of many premonitions) at the foot of the Statue of Liberty but instead meets Hap. The man who is to become the central feature of her life for the next seven years.
I will stop with the storyline here as the rest will just become spoilers.
What emerges is a hugely complex plot that is impressively gripping and impossible to second guess. Ten more characters perform as a brilliant ensemble as the story plays out.
It’s odd how Netfilx works, isn’t it?
There are no ads. Indeed for this there were not even any trailers.
And because there is no ‘schedule’ the episodes can be as long or as short as they need to be which is very refreshing and makes them essentially unairable on traditional television. One episode is around 65 minutes long, and one only 31, with a variety in between.
The OA is spectacular viewing. Right up there with Stranger Things as the revelation of 2016 on ‘TV’. It’s not for everyone but I’d imagine it is for most.
The ending has divided opinion but I for one thought it was good and after a bit of post showing research it’s entirely relevant and actually closes off a huge number of loose ends.
Enjoy. Wish I could see it again without knowing its meaning.
One last thing. the Title. The OA. It probably means Original Angel but I wonder if it could also derive from Oral Administration (of drugs) or could it be an inverse of Alpha and Omega? As in Jesus Christ proclaiming, as God, that he is the Alpha and the Omega (meaning the beginning and the end of existence). Just a thought.