Hi. Have you seen The OA? Did you finish it? Did you want to watch this show? If you answered “no” to any of these questions, allow me to present you with the single most important reason that you should watch this show:
the final ten minutes.
I realize that’s a lot to ask or suggest. That you should sit through an entire season just to reach the final ten minutes. But something happens in the culmination of season one of The OA, and it is something that is well worth the wait. But I have a feeling that you might need more convincing than that, so let me go all the way back to the beginning as I’m told it is a very good place to start.
Admittedly, I didn’t even want to watch the series at first.
Have you ever heard so many people talk about something and been so adamant about its greatness that you just think to yourself, “yeahhhh, I’m never gonna watch that.” It’s like its popularity makes it completely unappealing. If that feeling is something you’re familiar with then Hi, I’m like you. If you’ve never felt that way before then let me try and explain myself the best that I can.
For some reason I am disinclined to watch anything, Netflix original series, that the general public is overwhelmingly a fan of. So the more I hear and read people talking about how amazing Orange Is The New Black is, the less I can imagine myself ever sitting down by my own free will and watching it. And yes, that is a true example. I have never seen Orange Is The New Black and I probably never will. (I do, however, know a lot of people who LOVE it. . .people who will hopefully still continue to love me after that confession.) Maybe it’s me wanting to prevent myself from being a follower just for the sake of it or maybe it’s just my characteristic worry that what I choose to watch because of reputation won’t live up to its hype and I’ll have wasted my time on something mediocre. It makes me sound like I’m some kind of culture snob, but I promise that isn’t the case (my favorite movie is Clueless and I still watch Degrassi, okay). I just really don’t like being disappointed.
ANYWAY, all that to say that I had no plans to ever watch The OA. But I was between shows on Netflix, and had recently had some good luck with Stranger Things and Black Mirror (both of which I did not start watching on my own), so I decided on a whim to start The OA and see if it really was as good as I had heard or if everyone praising it just had poor taste.
As it turns out, they were all right. And what followed was something that, to me at least, was spectacular.
For those of you who don’t know, The OA, is the story of a girl named Nina/Prairie/OA who is able to lucidly travel to different worlds or dimensions by having near death experiences. When the show picks up, OA has just been reunited with her family after having been missing for seven years and has somehow miraculously regained her sense of sight which we learn she lost as a child. The rest of the series splits time between present day and OA’s life during the seven years that she was gone.
If that’s not enough to persuade you to watch this show. . .honestly, I’m with you. If someone were to pitch me that concept in effort to get me into The OA, I wouldn’t be convinced. But the storyline and all of its idiosyncrasies come with a strong gravitational pull. Not only are you learning about OA’s extraordinary life in great detail, but you also get a look into the distinct and grounded lives of several other main and secondary characters. It sucks you in without warning. And after one episode of this show that I was wholly anticipating to be underwhelmed with, I was completely wrapped up. Wrapped up in the way that makes you start pacing yourself, limiting how many episodes you will allow yourself to watch so that you don’t finish too quickly (something that speaks volumes for a chronic binge-watcher). Wrapped up in a way that forces you to think about the show outside of your computer or TV screen.
What makes this story even more compelling is the actors that tell it, and the characters through which they do so. The actors in this show do a great job at breathing life into characters who are real and tangible. And their storylines are really honest commentaries on trust, responsibility, mental health, therapeutic relationships, and family.
And whoever the director of photography was for this project deserves some kind of award, because there were some stunning moments and images in these episodes. And the choice of soundtrack helps to turn these moments into movements of magical and/or uncomfortable feeling.
To Recap (TL/DR):
- Cool storyline
- Great characters
- Stunning photography
- Perfect soundtrack
But most importantly, the last ten minutes. The last ten minutes of this show are what made me want to write this post in the first place, in hopes that my weird, emo passion for it would persuade someone to watch this show. Something happens within those final ten minutes that is so compelling and beautiful that, even if the rest of the season would’ve been boring and reductive, this one single moment would make the whole journey worthwhile. It’s something meaningful, something lyrical without saying a word. It’s terrifying and beautiful and confusing and special in a way that has transcended television for me. It feels like I have been given something ripped from someone’s heart. It feels like something was passed on to me that I wasn’t prepared for or worthy of but was given just the same.
Now, it’s completely possible that I’ve read too much into The OA, but it’s just a really damn good show and I highly recommend it. But I can only attest to the way that I felt when I finished the season, and it was a feeling of relief and completion that I think everyone should experience (all this from a television show? I know).
Am I being over-the-top? Maybe. Probably. I don’t know.