Friday, December 30, 2016

TV Show Review: The OA

I was not sure what to expect with this new Netflix show but was blown away as the mystery unfolded. This show was an easy one to binge watch as each episode unfolded with mind-bending twists and interesting characters. The premise that drew me in was that of a young woman who goes missing blind and returns with her sight several years later. The show was created by the star Brit Marling and Zal Batmanglij.

Marling stars as Prairie Johnson, the girl who went missing. She recruits several people from the local high school to relate her story to and teach a succession of moves that have some sort of special power that is only hinted at throughout the first season. The story operates in a present tense where high schoolers live out their lives forming an investigative group and the tale of Prairie and her captivity.

Leading the high school kids is the troubled drug dealer Steve (Patrick Gibson). Also in the group is the Lacrosse player French (Brandon Perea), choir singer Buck Vu (Ian Alexander), and the teacher Betty (Phyllis Smith). Each one has his own personal issues but is intrigued by Prairie's story that helps them cope with their own problem. In the flashbacks, Prairie survives a near-death experience, which gives her a special musical ability and is adopted by her parents from the present, Abel (Scott Wilson) and Nancy Johnson (Alice Krige). She receives a premonition and leaves to find her real father.

In New York, as she waits to find her father, she meets Dr. Hunter Hap (Jason Isaacs) who specializes in studying near death experiences and the resultants talents. He invites this blind woman back to his home on a plane and leads her down to a basement where she ends up being captured with other survivors of near-death experiences. Homer (Emory Cohen) is another captive of Dr. Hap who also survived a coma along with two others. During the studies, they learn special movements that help them explore the afterlife.

Riz Ahmed shows up in later episodes as victim specialist Elias Rahim. The story takes some strange twists towards the end but I found it highly entertaining and would recommend it to any who likes a good mystery but has patience for the payoff as the finale doesn't wrap a ton of the questions that originate from the first season. This show continues to illustrate Netflix's capability to produce great new television. 

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