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Welcome to Trailer Watch, a regular feature that helps put the spotlight on series that may fly under the radar in the crowded Peak TV landscape. Each installment of Trailer Watch will explain what the show is and why it looks interesting. This week it’s the sophomore offering of Brit Marling and Zal Batmanglij’s divisive sci-fi fantasy, The OA.
The first season of The OA seemed to appear almost overnight on Netflix and wasn’t preceded by any of the usual fanfare or mass promotion that a prestige television offering gets on the streamer. The show focuses on a young blind woman, Prairie Johnson (Brit Marling), who reappears after being missing for almost a decade, with her sight restored and a brand-new name, “The OA.”
While her loved ones and the FBI are baffled by her presence and enigmatic nature, she quickly gains a group of young followers, whom she enlists to help her secure the safety of other missing people she was held captive with during her disappearance. The show presented a mystery wrapped in a mystery, including one of the most divisive season finales in a long time.
Marling and Batmanglij’s atmospheric eight episodes delighted and frustrated viewers in equal measure, with The Hollywood Reporter‘s critic Daniel Fienberg stating that “The OA is a show of utter and ultimately self-defeating earnestness that also can’t follow through on its grand reveal once it comes.” Though that might not sound like the most ringing of recommendations, the reason that The OA season two has made it into Trailer Watch is because the preview has managed once again to ignite the same interest, intrigue and excitement as the entire first season did in December 2016.
Following on the final episode of the season one, which saw Prairie/The OA and her group stop a school shooting and create a portal to another dimension, the trailer opens with Marling’s character recovering in a hospital from being shot. All seems to be well, but as the nurse checks in on her cognitive abilities the grand twist is revealed: The OA did manage to travel to another dimension, and it’s one where Barack Obama was never president. It’s the subtlest of reveals that leaves an emotional impact and lets the audience know that the show isn’t holding back on the science-fiction roots it teased in 2016.
It’ll be interesting to see if Marling and Batmanglij can deliver on the promise of their debut season, especially if that means crafting a second season that can engage fans who were less than ecstatic about the unconventional ending of the first. The pair have dipped their toes into these waters before with their film Sound of My Voice, and now with a controversial but ambitious first season out of the way, maybe they can cement a solid entry to their cult canon with their second Netflix entry.
The OA season two launches Friday on Netflix.
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