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The OA Season One Review: Pompous Tosh

Brit Marling as Prairie aka The OA in Netflix's The OA
Brit Marling as Prairie aka The OA in Netflix’s The OA

Netflix’s The OA is an enigma; on one hand it is a wholehearted look at the triumphs and failures of humanity but on the other it is disconnected drivel that takes itself far too seriously.

Ignoring ridiculous descriptions describing it as a Stranger Things-esque romp, The OA starts off seemingly compelling. Born with a tantalising mystery, an established sci-fi concept pertaining to other dimensions and an enviable cast, the series had all the makings of another hit for the streaming service.

Plot holes … plot holes everywhere

Unfortunately the series, from creators Zal Batmanglij and Brit Marling (who also leads the show), is infested with plot holes, head scratching revelations and an undeserved conclusion.

Characters who are allergic to tomato paste will, for one reason or another, have a tub of it in their home. Characters you spend time with and grow to actually like are revealed to be false creations … I think? Character motivations are all over the place and flit from one side of the spectrum to the other with no impetus.

It feels like Batmanglij and Marling fashioned this complicated ‘narrative’ on one intoxicated night and that’s all they ever wrote. After Netflix decided to through a budget at it and the creators realised this was actually happening, they decided to make an actual show.

The good is instantly crushed

And that is the problem. All the pompous tosh that destroys this show is highlighted and accentuated above what actually works. There are moments between Marling’s OA and her adoptive parents Abel (Scott Wilson) and Nancy (Alice Krige) that are genuinely heart-warming, saddening and engulfing. Jason Isaacs plays an ultimately wasted character with a sense of purpose and internal conflict. Phyllis Smith plays a high school teacher with her own problems and perhaps she should have been the lead and focus of this wasted nonsense.

And that is the ultimately insult. The OA had so much potential. But in a sea of interpretive dance – you don’t want to know – stupid twists and a school shooting that appears out of nowhere, The OS is nothing but a stinking pile of mess.

The OA is infuriating and horribly misleading with every other scene. It is a show that purports to be something good but actually transpires to be something horrendous.

I have never, ever, looked forward to giving any Netflix show a bad rating on its own review system. But when the final episode ended with a ‘cliffhanger’ – I don’t even know what the show was trying to say – I looked around at my empty room for a corner to grovel in. That’s what The OA will do to you.

Score: ★



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