The OA is a Netflix original TV series released back in 2016, back then i was not interested by the summary so i didn’t bother to watch it, and now that i have watched it, my opinion about it totally changed. Although there exists some over-used plot cliches, I can tell that the creators wanted to touch on the subject of the influence of beliefs or religions on people and wanted to bring up the discussion that whether unethical experiments should be allowed if the results they yield may indeed alter the human history. I can tell that the show wanted to demonstrate how unimaginably powerful people as a group can be and yet how diabolical human can become when they get greedy and obsessed. The show could have elaborated more on any .
Although this show has some minor flaws, it had done a marvelous job in the casting of the characters, gorgeous cinematography and moving scoring. Many characters’ performances are remarkable and very relatable. And the show did a brilliant job of showing the kind of influence positive thinking can bring to one’s life by the development of the four teenager and BBA and their changes of lifestyle after they got to know OA’s story. Unlike most people, I grew more and more fond of the Hap and Nancy, OA’s mom. Let’s first discuss Hap. In this show, Hap represents the kind of person that gets lost in his own obsession – the obsession of proving the existence of an after life. Because of this obsession, he illegally kept five people in captive for years and killed three people. But every once in a while, we got to see his vulnerable side, we see he becomes attached to OA and questions the morals of his study. I love this character because he is not one of those villain that are bad just because they are bad in nature. Hap, however, is firstly a human being, he is abominable yet relatable. His villainous deeds stem from a firm belief, an unswerving dedication to his own belief. This, to me, is very respectable. The other character I liked a lot is Nancy, OA’s mother played by Alice Krige. Her portrayal of a loving mother is so genuine and tearjerking. The scene in which she loses all of her self control after a girl asks to take a selfie with OA, and starts rambling about the terrible things people online are going to say about OA is a spot-on portrayal of an over-protective mother. This show made us question the decisions she made in the name of protecting her daughter yet empathize with her and feel incredibly sorry for her suffering.
But the show has a lot of problems, and i believe it is these problems that hindered this show from becoming one of the great shows of all time. The first one is that a lot of sub plots fall into the industry cliches. One prime example for this is that OA refuses to tell her parent her story because she believes the true story would only bring her mother pain. When i was watching the first episode and got to this part, i almost turned away because this is such an cliche excuse of causing conflicts. And what’s worse is that after we get to hear her story with the chosen five, it eludes me why would this story bring her mother nothing but pain, when truth is the only she is asking for. Another problem is that the show lack a more detailed depiction for some of the chosen five. For example, we barely know anything about Jesse, what is his struggle in life? And the show could have devoted a little more time explaining why is BBA feeling so hard to let go of his brother’s death. The most confusing part about the show, although why choose those bizarre movements to represents the rituals for healing the opening the inter-dimensional portal is also very baffling to me, has to be the school shooting in the end that came out of nowhere. The show could have ended with them using the movements to save the other four captives which is what the entire show leads us to believe is gonna happen. The fact that the show’s ending leaves it open to interpret whether this whole thing is OA’s imagination or not totally negated its own effort of bringing up all these profound topics that inspires us to rethink about our society. To me, all the build up from the previous episodes were just completely shattered by the last 30 minutes of the show.
Overall, I believe the show’s creators have some very interesting insight into the humanity and social problem, but their intension of bringing up these discussions got completely overshadowed by the lazy writing of minor characters and the climax. This show started the discussion but did not manage to close it. This show had a lot of potentials but sadly, they are wasted.