“The OA” is Netflix’s oddest show yet

It’s impossible to deny Netflix’s power, not only as a compilation of other great shows and films but as an original content producer as well. Netflix original series are on par with the offerings of the best networks out there, such as HBO, AMC, FX, and Showtime. This is more evident than ever with one of Netflix’s latest dramas “The Crown” taking home the Golden Globe Award for Best Drama TV Series.

Yet, in all their high octane awards caliber dramas and comedies (or a mixture of the two genres, as is the case with “Orange is the New Black”), the streaming site still manages to take chances on weird shows, often with surprising success. “Sense 8,” “Hemlock,” “Black Mirror’s” latest season, and the summer hit “Stranger Things,” which was reportedly rejected by at least fifteen other networks before finding a home on Netflix, are all examples of how the streaming media provider has welcomed and embraced the the bizarre and extraordinary.

“The OA” is the most recent Netflix original show, dropping virtually with zero prior promotion in late December, to follow this trend, and it’s easily the weirdest of the bunch. Trying to describe the plot or attempting to compare it to another series seems almost like an impossible task. I honestly recommend going into this show blind, knowing as little about it as possible. However, to give a basic outline, Brit Marling, who also co-created the show and helped write five of the eight episodes, plays a young woman who mysteriously returns after going missing seven years ago. Formerly blind, she is somehow now able to see and refuses to go by her name, calling herself “the OA.” She recruits a troubled neighborhood teen, his classmates, and their teacher (played by the wonderful, but underused Phyllis Smith), to tell her story to and help her on a secret mission.

The writing is sharp and inventive. The story, though confusing and hard to follow or necessarily believe is nonetheless intriguing and easy to binge watch. Viewers will finds that the visuals are striking, as is the quality direction. The ending is disappointing though, especially considering the lead up had been so well-done. I’m hopeful for a second season that will clear things up.

“The OA” is so strange and mystifying that many viewers may find it frustrating. It’s hard to pick a single genre the series falls into, as it has elements of a coming-of-age drama, science fiction, interpretive dance, mystery, and fantasy. One thing that can be said though is that is one of the stunningly most original, captivating, and surprisingly beautiful pieces of media I’ve ever had the pleasure to watch. And it’s right at home on Netflix.