A new Netflix original series was released today without any of the usual pomp and circumstance we expect from the streaming service. Somewhere between The X-Files and their own recent hit Stranger Things is The OA, an eight episode mystery-drama from Zal Batmanglij and the multi-talented indie darling Brit Marling who also stars.
A blind girl named Prairie Johnson went missing seven years ago and has suddenly been found with her sight miraculously restored. And….that’s it. The trailer doesn’t offer much beyond that simple premise but there is clearly so much more going on. Secret government types, a brief hypnotic narration that would be right at home in Westworld, spiral staircases, a gun, some gorgeous cinematography, and the rest is left to the imagination or some nightmarish fever dream induced by taking too much cough medicine, but what’s so unusual about this show, besides the obvious, is again how little was made of its release. Stranger Things had a trailer released months before it the show was available but the trailer for The OA was dropped on Monday without any other announcement. Is Netflix so confident about their original content that they are no longer bothering to promote it? Is this an experiment to see if they can create a viral phenomenon without promotion? Or is this first season so quietly mediocre that they are avoiding drawing attention to it? The comparisons to Stranger Things are inevitable and as much as I’d like to avoid them it should be noted that Zal Batmanglij and the Duffer Brothers share one thing in common: they are all three alumni of the M. Night Shyamalan vehicle Wayward Pines.
Besides Marling in the lead there is plenty of talent attached with Alice Krige (of Star Trek fame), the phenomenally talented Jason Isaacs, Scott Wilson from The Walking Dead, Paz Vega, as well as Phyllis Smith from The Office among others. I’ve attached the trailer below and without getting into too much detail or spoiling the experience it’s clearly swinging for the fences in terms of visual panache and cryptic dialogue. I have a feeling the pop culture gods are going to process this show and render a verdict pretty quickly, so make sure to get in on the fun before the hype gets there. As a huge fan of every show I’ve referenced so far, I’ll be sitting down with The OA the first chance I get with a snack, probably a beer, and definitely my tinfoil hat.
The OA is now streaming on Netflix.