"The OA" - Netflix Original (2016)

DaveF

Moderator
Moderator
Joined
Mar 4, 2001
Messages
23,319
Location
Catfisch Cinema
Real Name
Dave
I binged Netflix's new original, "The OA" today.

I might liken it to Miyazaki films which inhabit their own space, with elements outside our conventional storytelling approaches, and plotting flaws, and yet are brilliant and moving films.

I loved it. It isn't for everyone, and there are good reasons you might find it unsatisfying and even unlikeable. But it was a marvelous one-day binge. It's as hard as Jessica Jones, as weird as Mr. Robot, and as unexpected as Stranger Things. I don't think it's as exquisitely crafted as JJ or Robot.

But The OA is fundamentally a hopeful story and an emotional television experience.
 

DaveF

Moderator
Moderator
Joined
Mar 4, 2001
Messages
23,319
Location
Catfisch Cinema
Real Name
Dave
It is hard to take “The OA” seriously.
I disagree almost completely with this review, but I understand the reviewer's opinion.
http://variety.com/2016/tv/reviews/tv-review-netflix-the-oa-brit-marling-1201941411/

THE OA MESMERIZES WITH A POWERFULLY BEAUTIFUL PECULIARITY (REVIEW)
http://nerdist.com/the-oa-mesmerizes-with-a-powerfully-beautiful-peculiarity-review/

One could say that the next eight hours consist largely of red herrings meant to divert our attention away from the most effective ending I’ve ever seen in a TV series, if indeed this is a TV series. Certainly, the final twist — which left me crying uncontrollably for nearly half an hour, so deeply was I affected — operates more in the cinematic than television tradition. (Although things are changing at the level of “The Sopranos” and “Lost,” television has a vested interest in leaving narratives open, stringing audiences along for season after season until they lose interest, and then pulling the plug when no one much is watching anymore. Consider “Orange Is the New Black”: As long as the show is popular, Piper ain’t ever getting out of prison.)

By contrast, “The OA” commits to a destination. Although its creators have suggested in interviews that they have ideas for how to do future seasons, this stand-alone eight-hour narrative is structured with a beginning, middle, and end, satisfying the demands this critic typically puts on movies, while providing a depth with which few two-hour mysteries can possibly compete.
Spoilers in full article: http://variety.com/2016/tv/columns/the-oa-netflix-brit-marling-film-critic-appreciation-1201948242/

The creators discuss a crucial aspect of the story, that has gotten mixed and confused critical reaction. Major spoilers
http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/live-feed/oa-creators-defend-movements-959026

A Close Read of The OA’s Controversial Ending
http://www.vulture.com/2016/12/the-oa-netflix-controversial-ending.html
 

Paul D G

Screenwriter
Joined
Dec 25, 2001
Messages
1,904
I enjoyed The OA. To discuss it would be to ruin it so I'll leave it at that. I would agree that it's not for everyone, and it's not something I would recommend but I found it engrossing.
 

Hanson

Producer
Senior HTF Member
Joined
Nov 1, 1998
Messages
5,224
Real Name
Hanson
I like the Miyazaki reference. The OA feels like it's from a different culture and a different point of view than we're used to from sci-fi, and not knowing what was coming next was irresistible. For that reason, I found most of the episodes absolutely engrossing. Like the 5 acolytes, I was on tenterhooks listening to OA's story. But it's clearly not everyone's cup of tea.
 
  • Like
Reactions: DaveF

DaveF

Moderator
Moderator
Joined
Mar 4, 2001
Messages
23,319
Location
Catfisch Cinema
Real Name
Dave
I enjoyed The OA. To discuss it would be to ruin it so I'll leave it at that. I would agree that it's not for everyone, and it's not something I would recommend but I found it engrossing.
That's what spoiler tags are for! Discuss away! :D
 

Paul D G

Screenwriter
Joined
Dec 25, 2001
Messages
1,904
That's what spoiler tags are for! Discuss away! :D
Ha! Well...

After watching I went online to see what others have thought because I've not heard any buzz on this show. A lot of people hated the ambiguous ending. People always expect there to be a clear ending and, unfortunately that's not how life works. I didn't have a problem with the ending, and personally, I thought she was crazy and everything was made up. But there's just enough to make you wonder - like her vision coming back and her scars.

I'm thrown off by what happened when the kid breaks into her house. I'm not familiar enough with the books shown to know if they were clues to the viewer. And why the hell was the FBI agent there?

I would totally watch a second season, but I kind of hope there isn't one. This is a self contained story.
 

Hanson

Producer
Senior HTF Member
Joined
Nov 1, 1998
Messages
5,224
Real Name
Hanson
The books

All fed into OA's story, especially the Odyssey (note that one of the fellow prisoners is named Homer). However, they all appear pristine and new, and that leads to the theory that the agent planted them to undermine her story.
 

DaveF

Moderator
Moderator
Joined
Mar 4, 2001
Messages
23,319
Location
Catfisch Cinema
Real Name
Dave
The books

All fed into OA's story, especially the Odyssey (note that one of the fellow prisoners is named Homer). However, they all appear pristine and new, and that leads to the theory that the agent planted them to undermine her story.
Ah! Interesting. That was one of the aspects of the show that felt like a flaw: why was the agent there? It was inexplicable and a seeming liberty with reality to have a moment with French. I like this idea much better.
 

DaveF

Moderator
Moderator
Joined
Mar 4, 2001
Messages
23,319
Location
Catfisch Cinema
Real Name
Dave
The books

All fed into OA's story, especially the Odyssey (note that one of the fellow prisoners is named Homer). However, they all appear pristine and new, and that leads to the theory that the agent planted them to undermine her story.
But, it was pointed out to me, OA never told the FBI agent those details of her story, such that he'd have knowledge (much less any motivation or ability) to do such a thing.
 

Paul D G

Screenwriter
Joined
Dec 25, 2001
Messages
1,904
Re the books... The one was obvious from the title, but I'm not familiar enough with it's story to see if there were any parallels to her story. Of the other books, I wasn't familiar with what Oligarchs was. I was thinking it might be a story but i guess it's a reference to her dad?

There were a lot of clues
that she was making it all up. Lots of little things that happened in the real world showed up in her story - like French's scar on his head, and the car accident someone biked past on the way to a meeting, then we find (I think that's the correct order of events) on of the captives nearly died from a car accident
, etc.

I think this is one of those shows we could debate and discuss endlessly. Many clues pointing to multiple answers were planted in the show.
 

DaveF

Moderator
Moderator
Joined
Mar 4, 2001
Messages
23,319
Location
Catfisch Cinema
Real Name
Dave
her father was a new-Russia oligarch. One of a handful of powerful business owners who exerted tremendous power in a ruling class

i didn't understand the car crash. It seemed random at the moment. What was it (possibly) paralleling?
 

Scott-S

Effects Supervisor
Premium
Joined
Aug 8, 2001
Messages
2,349
Location
The Land of Zion
Real Name
Scott
I watched all 8 episodes yesterday. After thinking about it overnight, I still don't really know if I like it. I like what it was trying to do, but I am not sure it really worked. I still don't really understand the ending and I guess that is expected.

One question I had:

I don't really understand why it was such a big deal that she was hanging around a group a highschoolers. There was another adult there. Why was she wearing an ankle monitor after they were "caught". I didn't realize that sitting in a group a kids was illeagal.
 

DaveF

Moderator
Moderator
Joined
Mar 4, 2001
Messages
23,319
Location
Catfisch Cinema
Real Name
Dave
One question I had:

I don't really understand why it was such a big deal that she was hanging around a group a highschoolers. There was another adult there. Why was she wearing an ankle monitor after they were "caught". I didn't realize that sitting in a group a kids was illeagal.
i took it as her parents forcibly put her on house arrest in conjunction with forced mental illness treatment.

And given her previous impersonation of Steve's step-mom, the parents would already be freaked out by her interaction with the high school kids. Turn that into clandestine, late-night, cult-like meetings and everyone's going to wig out.
 

Scott McGillivray

Supporting Actor
Joined
Sep 20, 1999
Messages
914
Well made. Well acted. Some good suspense but ultimately this was a giant waste of time for me.
Reminded me a bit of "Lost" where it has so many interesting things going on, but just wound up being so dumb.
My 2 cents.
 

DaveF

Moderator
Moderator
Joined
Mar 4, 2001
Messages
23,319
Location
Catfisch Cinema
Real Name
Dave
Finished Season 2 and (early cancellation) series finale of The OA (Netflix). The original — and then possibly only — season back in 2016 was and is one of the most moving single best seasons of TV I’ve enjoyed. A relatively simple construction, an intimate cast of characters, and some great twists that — with willing suspension of disbelief — created a wildly unexpected and wrenching experience.

Three years and cancellation notice later, Season 2 was released. Unfortunately, I see why it was canceled. It was for me a very unsuccessful attempt to continue the story. It suffered Classic Season 2 Syndrome: a sublime and exactingly constructed story followed by an erratic and clearly ill-considered continuation. Worse, I think it both violated its own rules and also fell back to worn out tropes of the genre.

The finale, particularly the final moments, suggested a thrilling and considered arc for a longer series. But for me, the Season was unsuccessful in getting me to that point.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Greg.K

Josh Dial

Cinematographer
Senior HTF Member
Joined
Jan 2, 2000
Messages
3,507
Real Name
Josh Dial
I thought The OA was an absolute triumph of experimental television. For me, the show is on equal footing with other recent entries in what I could call the "weird and strange art house" genre. Shows like Mr. Robot, The Leftovers, Maniac, Undone, Legion, Dark, Russian Doll, and Homecoming. There are moments of The OA that rival (and some that directly call out to) Twin Peaks.

Part of me wonders whether the show is even cancelled, or whether it's part of an in-universe meta guerilla marketing campaign in which the show will "return" a few years later.
 
Last edited:

Johnny Angell

Played With Dinosaurs Member
Senior HTF Member
Joined
Dec 13, 1998
Messages
12,235
Location
Central Arkansas
Real Name
Johnny Angell
Finished Season 2 and (early cancellation) series finale of The OA (Netflix). The original — and then possibly only — season back in 2016 was and is one of the most moving single best seasons of TV I’ve enjoyed. A relatively simple construction, an intimate cast of characters, and some great twists that — with willing suspension of disbelief — created a wildly unexpected and wrenching experience.

Three years and cancellation notice later, Season 2 was released. Unfortunately, I see why it was canceled. It was for me a very unsuccessful attempt to continue the story. It suffered Classic Season 2 Syndrome: a sublime and exactingly constructed story followed by an erratic and clearly ill-considered continuation. Worse, I think it both violated its own rules and also fell back to worn out tropes of the genre.

The finale, particularly the final moments, suggested a thrilling and considered arc for a longer series. But for me, the Season was unsuccessful in getting me to that point.
Knowing it it canceled and season 2 is, IYHO, not very good, would you recommend someone to watch only season 1?
 

Forum Sponsors

Forum statistics

Threads
344,068
Messages
4,699,089
Members
141,158
Latest member
Wombat