The OA
The OA
Brit Marling, Zal Batmanglij
Sci-Fi & Fantasy, Mystery, Drama

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The OA - Review

This Review was written following only one rule - binge-watching the tv-show for around 10 hours with a lot of popcorn and then wirting down the thoughts - so you can trust this review is honest and truthful.

Plot Summary:

The OA is a mystery drama series that possesses elements of science fiction, fantasy and supernatural elements. It revolves around Prairie Johnson, an adopted blind woman who went missing for seven years. After her mysterious disappearance, Prairie returned to her foster parents and now self-identifies as the OA (aka “Original Angel”), with the ability to see and scars on her back.

The FBI and her foster parents directly asks Prairie as to what happened to her, but she refuses to answer the questions of either party. Instead, she gathers a group of five locals (a teacher and four high school students) to whom she discloses the information. In addition, she asks for their help to search for other missing persons because she believes she can rescue them.Casting:

Brit Marling is cast as the titular character OA, along with her normal identity of Prairie Johnson. Scott Wilson and Alice Krige star as Abel Johnson and Nancy Johnson, Prairie’s adoptive parents. Other members of the cast include Emory Cohen as Homer Roberts, Phyllis Smith as Elizabeth “Betty” Broderick-Allen (BBA), Patrick Gibson as Steve Winchell/”Patrick Gibson”, Brendan Meyer as Jesse, Brandon Perea as Alfonso “French” Sosa, Ian Alexander as Buck/Michelle Vu, and Jason Isaacs as Hunter Alosysius “Hap” Percy/Dr. Percy/”Jason Isaacs”.Production:

Brit Marling and Zal Batmanglij are executive producers of the show
and their third collaboration together. Work on The OA began as far back as December 2012. They spent two years refining the concept of the show before making their pitch to the studios. When they finally met with the execs, it was difficult for them to summarize the series in a written story, so they did their pitch aurally. After some difficulty, Brit and Zal told the execs the whole story from beginning to end, acting out the roles of all the characters that are included in the series along with highlighting key events that occur.

They also worked with Brad Pitt’s production company Plan B Entertainment to share notes and connect the story prior to bringing it to the studios and networks. After a bidding war between multiple networks, Netflix made an announcement that it would order eight one-hour episodes with Anonymous Content and Plan B backing it. They also announced that Brit Marling would have a starring role in the show, and Zal would have a role as director and executive producer.

Rostam Batmanglij wrote the show’s main theme music and is one of the composers for the show. He was chosen based on his previous work as a composer for The East and Sound of My Voice (the former which Zal worked on prior to The OA). Dance choreographer Ryan Heffington created The Movements as part of the project, and has worked with both Rostam and Zal previously on The East. Alison Wilke Gryphon became a producer for the series and helped with the final episode of Season 1 before she died of breast cancer.

The show is primarily streamed through Netflix. It is also available to be viewed by subscribing through Amazon Prime and Hulu.Review:

The OA is a unique specimen among the TV lineup that occupies Netflix. After perusing through some of the episodes they give off a unique vibe, watching The OA will force you to set aside preconceived notion of what passes off as logic and reality versus fantasy and illusion. Comparisons can be drawn between this series and Stranger Things (the later which is also featured on Netflix). The show revolves around Prairie Johnson, who was chosen by her adoptive parents Abel and Nancy over a baby boy.

The pacing of the story is a bit slow at first, as it takes some time before the plot elements begin to sink in. This is the kind of series that invokes thoughtTrivia:

  • Brit Marling became friends with a man that became blind at age nineteen to mentor her in the daily chores of a blind person. They would meet in the downtown area of Manhattan and spend six hours per day learning to make omelets, cleaning an apartment, etc. Brit would be blindfolded throughout the sessions in order to better grasp blindness.
  • Zal Batmanglij’s brother Rostam Batmanglij also created and produced music for Vampire Weekend.
  • Brit Marling broke her nose while filming the dog attack scene in Episode 1 of Season 1.
  • The series’ opening title does not show until one hour into Season 1 Episode 1.
  • The OA is Brit Marling’s first TV show since Babylon aired back in 2014. It was also originally conceived as a feature film instead of a television series.
  • Monroe-Woodbury High School in Orange County, New York was used for part of the show’s filming.
  • In Episode 4 of Season 1, one of the scenes shows Jesse watching television with his sister. The show on display is Stranger Things, which is another Netflix Original Series.
  • When Prairie has near death experiences, a woman named Khatun appears and speaks classical Arabic. “Khatun” is a title of female nobility that was used in the Mongol Empire and the Turkic Khaganate that came before it. In the modern Urdu and Bukhara language, it refers to any woman.
The OA
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