The OA is a science fiction drama series created by Brit Marling and Zal Batmanglij. The show premiered on Netflix in December 2016 and was canceled after two seasons, with its last episode airing in March 2019. The show’s cancellation led to disappointment among its fan base, as the creators intended for the series to have a multi-season narrative arc.
The OA follows the story of a young woman named Prairie Johnson (Brit Marling) who resurfaces after having been missing for seven years. When she went missing, Prairie was blind, but her sight was restored when she returned. She now refers to herself as “The OA,” which stands for “The Original Angel.”
Interestingly, the show’s title, The OA, has multiple interpretations. It can stand for “The Original Angel,” which is a moniker that Prairie adopts after her return. However, it’s also suggested to stand for “The Omega Alpha,” which highlights the show’s enigmatic and multi-layered nature.
Prairie refuses to tell the FBI or her adoptive parents what happened to her during her disappearance, leading them to wonder about the mysterious circumstances surrounding her return. She eventually gathers a group of five local individuals, including a high school teacher named Steve, and begins to share her story with them.
The OA reveals that during her absence, she was held captive by an enigmatic scientist named Dr. Hunter Aloysius Percy, who conducted experiments on her and other captives to explore near-death experiences and the nature of consciousness. Prairie recounts her time in this alternate dimension and her interactions with other captives who had unique abilities.
The Netflix sci-fi series The OA was canceled in 2019, and fans are still waiting for its many questions to be answered.
Along with Brit Marling, who starred as Prairie Johnson, The OA featured a stellar cast of talented actors. This included Emory Cohen as Homer Roberts, Jason Isaacs as Dr. Hunter Aloysius Percy, Patrick Gibson as Steve Winchell, and Ian Alexander as Buck Vu. Brendan Meyer appeared as Jesse Mills, along with Phyllis Smith as Betty Broderick-Allen, and Brandon Perea as Alfonso “French” Sosa.
Interestingly, the show’s title, The OA, has multiple interpretations. It can stand for “The Original Angel,” which is a moniker that Prairie adopts after her return. However, it’s also suggested to stand for “The Omega Alpha,” which highlights the show’s enigmatic and multi-layered nature. The series also draws inspiration from real-life accounts of near-death experiences.
The concept of near-death experiences is central to the show’s themes, and the creators researched various reports and stories of individuals who claimed to have experienced these phenomena. Additionally, the “movements” are a series of intricate dance-like gestures that the characters use to open a portal to another dimension.
These movements were choreographed by Ryan Heffington, who has worked on various music videos and films. The unique and ritualistic nature of the movements became a signature element of The OA. The series is also known for its attention to detail and features numerous mythological hidden Easter eggs and references which fans enjoyed dissecting.
The OA received a mix of reviews from critics and audiences following its release. Its unique blend of genres, non-linear storytelling, and thought-provoking themes garnered praise and criticism. Some hailed the show’s ambition, complex narrative, and strong performances, while others found the storytelling convoluted and hard to follow.
Still, the cancellation of The OA after two seasons came as a surprise to fans and left a significant portion of the audience disappointed. Netflix cited low viewership numbers and a high production cost as reasons for its axing. The news sparked a passionate fan reaction, with many launching social media campaigns and petitions to save the series.
The Unanswered Cliffhanger
The OA ended on a major cliffhanger. In the final moments of the last episode, the characters perform a dance known as the “movements,” which they believe can open a portal to another dimension. A gunman enters the scene as they dance, leading to a chaotic standoff involving everyone.
The OA ended abruptly with the sound of a gunshot, leaving the characters’ fate and the story’s resolution unresolved. This ending intensified the frustration of fans, as it left numerous unanswered questions and unresolved storylines, making the cancellation even more disappointing for those invested in the show’s intricate narrative.
Fortunately, Netflix has previously revived canceled shows based on fan demand and the potential for additional storytelling. The success of revived series like Lucifer and Arrested Development shows that there is precedent for bringing back beloved shows like The OA to provide proper conclusions.