‘The OA’ Creators Explain Netflix’s Mysterious New Drama (SPOILERS)

'The OA': Producers Explain Netflix's Mysterious
Courtesy of Netflix

SPOILER ALERT: Do not read until you’ve watched all eight episodes of “The OA,” which debuted today on Netflix.

A young woman reappears after a seven-year absence — with the ability to see after years of blindness and a incredible story about her ordeal. So incredible, in fact, that she’ll only share it with a small group of teenagers and a high school teacher — not even her adoptive parents, who’ve spent the intervening years desperately searching for her.

This is “The OA” — Netflix’s mysterious new drama, written and produced by Brit Marling and Zal Batmanglij, and starring Marling as the titular character, who once went by the name Prairie but now calls herself “The OA.” It’s a tale woven with near-death experiences, mystical adventures, and a torture-laden kidnapping — even as the characters bond over their mutual yearning for any sort of human connection.

The questions raised by the show — is she telling the truth? — will keep viewers talking, long after the final scene. Here, the creators talk to Variety about their inspiration for the series, their plans for a second season — and, yes, that big mystery.

Let’s start at the beginning. How did you first come up with the idea for the show? How did you get interested in near-death experiences?


TV Review: Netflix’s ‘The OA’

Marling: It’s funny because Zal and I were laughing the other day that you know that this will be a question later. At the time of when something starts to come together, you try and be vigilant and think, “Well, how does this actually come together?” For some reason, it does sort of escape you. There were a lot of different things, I think, colors in the water that started to pool together. I had met a young woman at a party once, quite randomly, like maybe a decade ago, who described to me a near-death experience she had. I was really moved by the encounter, and also by her electric way of being. It just felt like she was humming at a different frequency from everybody else, like she had touched something at the other side, whatever that is, and she had come back, and was invested in life with a kind of passion and ferocity of someone who just knows more than everybody else.

We started reading more about it, and we would read these case studies of people who would flat line and come back seven minutes later, 20 minutes later, with perfect pitch, even though they’d been tone deaf before, or they’d come back with fluency in a language, or with perfect artistic rendering ability, they could draw with a photographic realism, if they’d never been an artist before. These things are really interesting ideas. What’s happening? Is something opening in the brain? I think it was a sort of springboard to a kind of science fiction concept of, “If all these stories converge around a similar set of themes, and an idea of leaving the body behind and going somewhere, where is that somewhere? Are people going to different places? Are they going to the same place? Is it a metaphysical experience?” Every one of these things was an early part of the form that we started brewing.

Batmanglij: I think there were a lot of things that were interesting at the time we started this story. One of them is how do you survive trauma and then integrate after you’ve been traumatized or experienced a traumatic experience? How do you integrate back into society? That’s something that fascinated us in our own lives, to a lesser degree, and then also when you read about these horrific experiences that people like Elizabeth Smart experienced and the bravery that she had is just remarkable. When you see her interviewed or you read things that she’s written, you can tell that she has been somewhere and come back, and she can’t fully tell you where she’s been because you’re not ready for it, but you feel it.

Another theme of the series is the restlessness among teenage boys. What interests you about that?

Marling: We spent some time traveling around the Midwest of the country, and we sat in classrooms, and we met kids, and we talked with their parents, and we hung out at their sports’ practices, interviewed their teachers, trying to figure out what it’s like to be a young person right now. We really wanted to make sure we weren’t writing about our experience of high school, which was so different and it’s influenced by all the John Hughes films we’ve taken in. We wanted to talk to these kids and sort of figure out where they’re really about. I think what we found is there’s this sense of kind of dislocation. It feels like my generation, when we were growing up, felt this great sense of purpose, and there was still some kind of investment in the American dream. I think these kids feel that something has sort of hit the wall or been derailed. It’s hard to answer the great questions of, “How shall I live my life? What is the meaning of life?”

Batmanglij: We were struck by how grown up these kids all seemed. They all had a wisdom to them, a sense of an awareness of something bigger than themselves. We thought that it was interesting that Prairie can’t tell her story to her parents or the FBI, but she can tell it to these kids. These kids have some quality that allows them to receive a story like this. Then I think it just naturally came about that not only do they have a capacity to understand the story, but that they desperately need it, and that when they are faced with their own trauma, that there’s something in the story that guides them, which I think is the thing that’s missing a lot from our lives these days.

Marling: I think young boys in particular feel that their female peers still feel a sense of expansion from the feminist movement of the ’70s, and so the idea of what it means to be a woman is still opening and changing. You can have a credit card in your name, and run a company, and wear pants. But there hasn’t really been an accompanying movement for boys that has expanded the definition of masculinity. You get the sense that they’ve sort of been left behind, and coming of age and becoming a man feels fraught and complicated and narrow, constricted.

That really seems to play out in particular with Steve (Patrick Gibson).

Marling: Steve as a character, I think, was born out of all of that. This young man who’s getting into his more hyper-masculine side, and has this violent expression, but beneath that is this really sensitive creature with a deep yearning for something bigger or more meaningful than what he feels he’s being offered, and this woman, this trauma survivor, comes and meets this group of boys with this story that I think allows them to access something wild that is missing from their lives. All those things are kind of in the earliest stages of it, and then of course the story leads to some pretty wild places from there, but those are the early seeds.

The OA’s story also resonates particularly with their teacher, Betty (Phyllis Smith).

Batmanglij: I had teachers like that, and she has turned off a lot of things in her life, or they’ve been turned off for her. Phyllis has told me that she feels a lot of times, as an older woman, that she’s invisible. The idea of someone who feels that invisible being seen by this survivor, it’s interesting. The moment you just say that line, the story just erupts, especially stories that don’t have anything to do with her finding love late in life. Her story just seems really organic to her. One of my favorite parts is when she saves Steve and gives up her brother’s money to save him. That’s one of the things that I think is so cool about this story that I didn’t expect at all, is that these characters evolve over the course of the eight hours. I believe that’s a genuine evolution.

So, let’s get to the burning question: Is the OA telling the truth? Or is that the question you want the audience to be asking?

Marling: I think there is something really delicious in the mystery about questioning the storyteller’s truth. Certainly, you go back and forth on it. As an audience member, the boys are kind of your surrogate. I think just as the boys go back and forth on the truth of her story, you do, too. I think the place it kind of ultimately arrives at is that it maybe doesn’t matter as much the details are true, because there’s some essential core that she’s imparting that smacks of honesty. Whether part of the story is a metaphor, or it is a literal truth, tends to matter less when you get to the end and see that the DNA of the story contains something that just this group needed.

Batmanglij: I guess I believe the trauma in her story is true. Maybe she couldn’t tell her story as it actually happened, but she experienced something. I don’t think the details matter. I think that there are lots of different interpretations. I think that’s what’s going to make it fun, if people do connect to it. If people see the show.

Do you believe her?

Marling: It’s funny, Zal and I a couple of years ago had this tiny film called “Sound of My Voice,” and we made it for very little money. It had an ending that was very open. It was about this woman who claimed to be a time traveler living in the basement of her house in the San Fernando Valley. What was really cool about the ending is that there was something conclusive that happened. Peter, the person who we’re experiencing the story through, is a deep skeptic, and by the end, you can tell his skepticism is more broken. It is open-ended as to whether or not she was really a time traveler. The delicious thing about that is the audience really takes sides. We would do Q&As, and be like, “How many people think she’s a time traveler?” Half of the audience raise their hands for this. “How many people think she’s not?” All the other half. I think it revealed something about how you think about the world.

I think we felt that’d really be good about the ending of this, that our interpretation is less important than the audience’s. Certainly as an actor playing a part, I have to believe it as I’m playing it, but as writers, we’ve always maintained the idea that our interpretations of them doesn’t matter as much as the audience’s. There’s no right or wrong answer, it’s just what you feel, which is kind of what being alive is like. If you’re going to have faith in something, you have to have it in the face of incredible doubt. Nobody can take your doubt away.

Talk about the resurrection. At the end of episode 5, she and Homer (Emory Cohen) bring another one of the captives, Scott (Will Brill) back to life. 

Batmanglij: It’s the thing I think about the most on my own, as if I had just watched it. It really moved me when they did it. I don’t know if it’s because I saw it happen in real life, where Brit and Emory communicated to each other using movement. That was not scripted. It was scripted that they get up and do the movements, but it’s not scripted that she’s so angry with him that he cheated on her, even though they can’t have a romantic relationship, right? As I see it, she gets up to do the only thing she knows how, this gift that she’s been given of these movements, to do it as sort of an elegy for Scott. Then I think he feels embarrassed for her that she’s doing these crazy movements, and so he gets up so that she knows she’s not alone, but then she rejects him in that moment. That was not scripted. He is so hurt that she rejects him. I remember it being on set. When the electrician was crying, you knew that something was happening.

What do you want viewers to take away from the show?

Marling: I think for people who have recently experienced a loss of a loved one, Betty Broderick Allen’s storyline really leaks to the surface. I think if you’re a parent and you have a young teenage boy who’s troubled like Steve, I think that really leaks to the surface. If you’re a young woman, and you’ve been through a traumatic experience, and you feel like most of the stories out there keep you in the realm of the passive victimhood, and now you’re watching this story, the classic kidnapping story. It’s about a victim taking agency and ownership over her recovery, with a sense of a mission. Then I think that’s what leaks to the surface. I think we’ve tried to make it honest at every turn, and see what the audience then tells you about what it means. We think of this as like an eight-hour film, or like a novel. I think it’s true with films, they really do have to meet their audience, and then you give it away. It belongs to the world then. It doesn’t belong to you anymore. That’s the funny part of this process, because you feel like you’ve been carrying a baby, you went through the labor, and you’ve gotten them through their toddlership, and then you just have to like let the kid go, and you have the world receive it.

Do you have plans for a second season?

Marling: Oh my goodness, that would be so much fun. We spent a good three years just cobbling the mathematics of the labyrinth of a mind-bender that could go for many, many hours. We wanted to solve the riddle. We wanted to know what was at the center of the labyrinth within the very first chapter. I would think that’s one of the exciting things about where we leave the ending, is that in some ways, it resolves in a satisfying sense, especially with the boys, but it also leaves something open. It’s exciting to leave that gap between one season and another and see how people feel about it and what they’re thinking, and then to get to continue, to actually answer the questions. If we get to be so lucky as to get to another round, I would be so excited.

Batmanglij: Yes, we designed it that way. Whether it will happen or not, I think that’s up to you guys. All of you in the world. If people connect to it. I would like to see this story continue… Brit and I figured out the whole thing. The whole thing’s a riddle. There are a lot of clues. Very few people have really picked up on all the clues. Our sound engineer picked up on a major one that kind of blew my mind. I was like, “That is designed for only the closest, creepiest viewer to find.”

Filed Under:

Want to read more articles like this one? SUBSCRIBE TO VARIETY TODAY.
Post A Comment 93

Leave a Reply


Comments are moderated. They may be edited for clarity and reprinting in whole or in part in Variety publications.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

  1. Brassgody says:

    I loved the show there are many clues I think AO
    Counselor is Hap and I do think that Homer has been with SO this whole time. That explains the Homer mirror incident and I think the other 4 characters are the same people she has been locked up with too. Now it also looks like the guy who took down the school shooter was Hap I’m wondering if her Dad has been with her the whole time as well because of how he looked at her right before they decided to adopt her. I sooooo hope it’s a season 2 so I can get answers lol.

  2. Kayce says:

    I watched this on a whim. Thought it was just a regular movie, didn’t realize it was a series. I watched it in two days. I want to see more. I don’t understand the full meaning of the story. Is it all in her mind, or is it reality. It definitely held my attention but so many unanswered questions. I may have to watch it again.

  3. Cassandra says:

    when I first watched it I believed her story. But when I watched it for a second time I think a lot of her story is a process of her brain trying to cope. First of all, she says her father owned a mine at the very beginning. OA’s captor was living at/owned a mine, in not sure which. What are the odds of that? Also it shows her playing that song she played in the subway, at her window as a kid. Supposedly she had gained the ability of music but she was playing the violin as a child so I’m cunfused as to what “gift” she received from her NDE. I do believe that she was tortured and that she was held captive but I find it odd that she was held captive in basically an aquarium and her nightmare as a child was that she was stuck in an aquarium drowning. I just think all of those coincidences are because her brain tried to process a traumatic experience and the story she formulates is a product of that. I do however believe that Homer is real and that all of the people she was stuck with were real people

    • Shannon says:

      So it doesn’t say that she got the gift of playing music after she had her NDE. Just that when she came back she had somehow gotten much better at it. Also something that makes me think she maybe telling the truth is that before she went missing it seems she was actually blind and then came back with sight. Lots of wholes in the story at the moment so its hard to judge if she is telling the truth or not for me. Also it looked like she was in a penitentiary at the end so maybe the whole thing was in her head

  4. Jess says:

    I stopped watching this show halfway through and then finished it bc I wanted to know what happened but that never happened. I hated it. Answers never came. Was she making this all up? How did she lose her sight initially? How would they survive years of drownings with such poor nutrition and lack of sunlight? Why the need to feed them like lab rats? Did they never need any medical care? Did Hap no contact with any family or friends? How would they possibly be able to do those carvings on their own bodies? How did they avoid complete mental breakdown?It was just too out there. I found the characters interesting and it was well acted but there were too many unanswered questions and I do not like watching a show where the audience was left not knowing what the heck was truth. Not my type of show but looks like I’m in the minority. 😂

    • Michele says:

      O darn,Jess.Another thing to obsess about,How DID those carvings get on their backs? I loved it.The actors, the surprises.Especially the movements Don’t like the unanswered questions, and as you
      mentioned, health inconsistancies.

  5. Maureen ennis says:

    I love the series AO I watch it every night I feel I have a connection with it . I had two heart attacks and felt I had a NDE. The sound that the dr said like a shhh is what I heard and felt I was somewhere so peaceful with no fear or pain . I haven’t felt the same since I feel there is something after life but what or where it is I haven’t a clue . All I know is it’s a deffinate peace . And feeling of lightness . So please make a second series I would deffinately watch .

  6. There’s got to be a second season to this. There’s so many unanswered questions! We need these answers!

  7. Suzanne says:

    I was captivated by the end of the 1st episode. I connected with all the main characters, like blurred memories of faces I’v met long ago which shaped my perception. The concept of reaching so deep into a river that you pull a star out of the sky is imagination without boundaries. This story did this for me. Story telling is a link which connects our individual realities to experience one another’s realities. I enjoyed going to the abandoned house for story time. It’s not easy to surrender your stories, once you set them out into the world/to others, they no longer belong to you. It is like abandoning a part of yourself that will be edited over and over again as it becomes a part of others. Was she crazy, no & yes. The world is crazy and we all have crazy in us to survive the world. OA’s story had me wanting to believe the angelic magical bits and not believe the captivity but I found the kidnapping real and the rest fantasy. If a 2nd season is never done, I’m sure many will continue the story on their own.

  8. Lolita says:

    I’m not usually one to write reviews…but damn. This show took a little while to get into but I think that was the intent of the writers. I loved how real the characters and their experiences were. I think even the villain, Hap, could be related to on some level…he just wanted to know what happened after he died. OA was a beautiful character. The writers even had me believed she was crazy at some points. But in the end, I think she was telling the truth. I do have a few questions though (why was the FBI councilor in OA’s house that night? I absolutely cannot come up with an explanation for that. Why did OA jump off the bridge in the very beginning of the show? Why did they need to leave their front doors open?) and so many more. This show genuinely moved me like no other has, but I think it really is only for a select few…I would never recommend it so someone I didn’t know well. All in all, I’m very excited for the second season, and I’ll be watching the show again to pick up on more of the important clues.

    • Sabrina says:

      I think the FBI guy saw him go in her house or something?
      And she jumped off the bridge to die so she could go to the other side, because when She went to the hospital She kept asking if she flat lined and so on.

  9. Sita Leila says:

    I could not stop watching … watched it in one eight hour session. Brilliant. Thank you. I’ve just started to watch the series again… will take my time this time to contemplate and be curious about the internal responses that are triggered to heal my own trauma’s. Again, Thank you.

  10. Sandra says:

    Season 2! Season 2! Season 2!

  11. Yvonne says:

    PLease do season 2!!!

  12. I started watching The OA yesterday and I finsihed it today. I thought it would be me only watching 1 episode, but after every episode I would say “Just one more”. I loved it, and every suggested it to a family member. I really hope there is a 2nd season. I didn’t want to reach the last episode. I will probably watch it a 2nd time…absolutely amazing. My boyfriend ended up watching 2 of the last episodes with me and I didnt explain to him much because it has so much depth to it.

  13. Thomas Macleod says:

    This story held me from the first episode to the last, and I want it to continue, I feel like I am one of the kids being drawn into the story, while I am watching from my couch. You can’t help but feel what the writer’s wanted you to feel. I am so tired of scripted reality TV and have been waiting for something to entertain me and take me out of my comfort zone. I applaud the creator’s and Netflix for going outside the box.

  14. TM says:

    I have to say Netflix and the creators of this show did an outstanding job… I had no idea what this show was about just thought the title was interesting and decided to check it out. Watched all 8 episodes over 2 days and was completely blown away by episode 8. Watched it twice to fully take it in and try and make sense of it all. Great amazing job and would really really love to see a 2nd season.

  15. Renee Darby says:

    I watched it all and it was very disappointing. These new movies and series bring tons of questions to the table and don’t seem to have a need to answer any of them. So, why watch it? Don’t waste your time on this one. Reading the news does just about the same thing.

  16. Adrian Gill says:

    I watched the piece over 2 evenings & enjoyed it more than anything that I have seen since “The Booth at the End” or “In Treatment” which were both outstanding television. Some of The OA is difficult to watch, but there are truly joyous elements which delight the viewer. As to another season, I think that would be difficult because of the inevitable comparisons with this one. I am yet to view some of the other work done by the writing/production team but I would highly recommend to all my friends that The OA is ESSENTIAL viewing and to the producers – whether it is a 2nd season of The OA or something new – please keep going as this is a genuinely outstanding example of quality drama, thank you very much for the work you have put in.

  17. S. Kantor says:

    As a Senior Citizen, I felt the need to tell the authors that they must continue. The young people living in this world today need to know that there are things in this world that cannot be explained with reason, but rather by the heart. I am recommending this story to as many people as I can. Especially my grandchildren.

  18. LB says:

    WOW! That was one wild ride!! I cannot remember ever being so mesmerized by a TV show. Yes, bring us more!!!!

  19. nerdrage says:

    Oooh now I gotta figure out what that “creepiest viewer” clue is! Love a challenge…

    Maybe this is the creepy viewer clue, since I haven’t seen it discussed much: how did the purplish liquid that August was immersed in, in the bathtub, keep her from decaying and presumably stinking up the whole house so badly that OA would have bolted the minute she stepped in the door, since it would basically smell like Murder House even to someone whose sense of smell was not sharpened by blindness? She definitely would have gotten a whiff of it when she entered the bathroom.

    The purple liquid was seen again in the morgue where Hap drowned his evil (well eviler) colleague.

  20. guy says:

    it makes no sense for this reason to me if the after life is just other realm of choices we didnt make how do that work for some one who die of old age it still would all come to a end. the 90 year old man didnt choose to die so what would the after life be for him.. sorry but that right there makes it nonsense. i was into it till then..

  21. joyjoy2013 says:

    Thanks for this interview. I was totally transfixed and extremely moved by this series. The OA is very thought-and-feeling provoking for me. It is not like anything else out there. It is not predictable. The writing is impeccable. The acting superb. The direction sublime. After finishing it, I am now a bit obsessed at discovering what others say. Reading the reviews by “professional critics” and everyday viewers alike, it seems that it is a show that one either loves or just doesn’t get AT ALL. I think there are many subtle and coded messages that speak to some of us and not to others. That’s fine. I say THANK YOU NETFLIX for producing this highly unique show. PLEASE GIVE US ANOTHER SEASON!

  22. D.J. Northwood says:

    IMO the producers and writers need to pay homage to the Magical Passes made popular by the followers of Carlos Castenada from the 80’s and 90’s which were centuries old movements taught by the ancient Toltec purportedly allowing practitioners to travel through time and to other worlds. Just sayin’…

  23. Greg says:

    Another yes to the second season! Now that I have watched the series from a superficial perspective, I now need to go back and watch it again for some of the geeky clues.

  24. Maura says:

    Yes yes yes a second season please. Fantastic on many levels

  25. Logan says:

    I actually hated the ending as soon as I watched it. But after reading some articles and thinking about it, I realised something. The show was never about the NDEs, or rescuing Homer and the others, there’s a deeper meaing, or maybe several that exist beneath the surface. It’s about surviving trauma, and feeling invisible and living with pain and a lot of other things. This show actually reminds me a lot of The Leftovers, they’re both shows that involve an element of sci-fi/mystery (although The OA has more than just an element but in reality the shows are about the people and their lives, and the things they’re going through. Yes, the school shooting scene could’ve beeen done better, but that’s because it’s a plot device and the show isn’t about that, like what happened with the schoolbus. This show isn’t perfect, but I guarantee in a couple of years we’ll be calling it a masterpiece, especially if it gets a second season, which I hope it does.

    • Armando says:

      Agreed. I had to read through some favorable interpretations of the final episode before the entirety of what I’d watched started to sink in. This will be seen as an important work for how morally ambitious it . With its many unanswered questions, twists, and perhaps red herrings, it is shooting for a far more crucial and fundamental truth about human existence than most would dare to attempt. As flawed as it appears, it deserves big marks for that, alone.

  26. Pragmatist says:

    “Take me with you.” By continuing with a second season the viewers are collectively lead into a darkness of unknowing. The series’ characters believed, doubted, and believed…in her story…her beliefs…in some sort of power while not really knowing what to do with it until a spontaneous opportunity is manifested. They didn’t plan on exercising their knowledge, power, belief…they just “expressed it” without knowing the who, what, when, where, or why of it. As viewers we can take season 1 as sci-fi, something close to reality TV, a spiritualistic journey…however regardless of ones’ take, we are all “correct”.

    “Take me with you.” Yes, I wish to be “taken”, of my own free will not being tricked, to learn more about the storyline, the characters, the possibilities and how to incorporate them into my understanding of what has transpired to date (in this story and/or how it can impact our lives). Don’t passively stand by and wait to be taken but seek out the next movement of this story…Find a way to make this adventure yours and make it a dynamic within you.

    The story will continue. You just have to believe that our education (entertainment) isn’t over and that “it” will continue!

  27. Martin Anzaldua says:

    I think you can watch this series in at least two ways. 1) As fiction, a story of a woman doing her best to cope with the horrors of being abducted and held for seven years. Who finds five other people who are not doing so well in coping with their struggles in life. How together they help each other not feel so alone in this life. 2) As science fiction and take everything she says as true. I guess you could have a third way of viewing and say it’s a combination of both, but that would still be science fiction. Regardless, I chose to view it as science fiction, I believe it’s more fun that way, and this is supposed to be entertainment after all. I do believe you should guard yourself from believing that answers will come in a second season. The writers want you to think for yourself and no number of seasons will ever change that.

  28. Well, looks like I’m in the minority. While I was totally captivated by the show, I felt cheated by the ending. I don’t buy the argument by the writers that an ending open to interpretation is good. I trusted you with my investment in the story and I expect a pay off at the end. Very disappointed.

    • Tigu says:

      You should read the Atlantic’s review of the shooter part. It wasn’t random, the clues are in her visions. Remember when she is talking to the FBI counsellor in a cafeteria and mentions she had a vision and goes on to mention the room wasn’t so diffetent from the one they were in.

    • dekutree64 says:

      Same here. I caught on by episode 2 or 3 that the story was really about saving the group themselves rather than saving other people, but I still had hope that by the end they’d be better than “ok”, and do some awesome supernatural stuff. But instead all they do is distract a random school shooter until someone can knock him over the old fashioned way. Would have worked just as well if they’d done the macarena at him.

      And the fate of Hap and the others was never resolved either. It feels the same as reading a fanfic where the author gets tired of working on it and quits before the last chapter. Sure I can make up my own ending, but that’s not what I’m here for.

      The show had such potential, but it all depended on a grand finale.

    • Imruffsdad says:

      I’m with you. My first thought was, “There’s 8 hours of my life I’ll never get back.”

  29. So can the closest, creepiest viewers tell me what the biggest clue is?

    • JulieMarisa says:

      I don’t think they said the biggest clue……..the sound engineer said that he caught one and the writers were surprised. I think I found it. Jim Croce wrote the song Operator which HAP put on while she was attempting to call her parents. Some of the lyrics….

      So I can call just to tell ’em I’m fine and to show
      I’ve overcome the blow, I’ve learned to take it well
      I only wish my words could just convince myself
      That it just wasn’t real, but that’s not the way it feels

      Here’s what I think the sound engineer knew that most people would know but us that happen to have way to much music trivia in our heads.

      Jim Croce died in an airplane crash……..wait for it……….. with five other people.

  30. Lorna says:

    wonderful amazing series, please bring season 2 quickly. It was easy to connect with the characters and there is so much more left unsaid that needs to be said by Season 2

  31. I also loved this series- I watched in one day Please bring a series 2 on! The ending made me cry!

  32. Jennie Higgins says:

    Omg! I loved it! Please do another season, I was so hooked to this story I watched the whole season 1 in just one day! I will be waiting to find out about season 2. Please carry on!

  33. dana montana says:

    Mind blowing. Satisfying,. Unlike anything I’ve watched. With a terrific ‘everyman’ (and woman) cast.

    I’ll be thinking about this for a long time.

  34. michael Azzollini says:

    please make another series….I would like there to be a whole load of justice…….x

  35. LYNNE CAMPBELL says:

    This was one of the most exciting series we have seen on television because we have always believed in other dimensions and this brought it on to the screen from a writer’s point of view. The ending was mind blowing. PLEASE PLEASE make another series so we can see the development of the main characters. Thousands of people will understand this film if you take into account the millions of books that have been sold on this kind of subject, e.g THE POWER OF NOW and A NEW EARTH, both by Eckhart Tolle. Hearty congratulations to all involved with the film. MORE PLEASE!! 🌟💫✨

    • Nathaniel Gagliano says:

      MIND BLOWING?!?!?!?!

      Perhaps it blew your mind with how mundane and worthless it was, seeking to make the viewers draw their own conclusions with absolutely no input as to how it works after such a huge, climactic buildup that ultimately resulted in a completely anti-climactic ending that just makes no fucking sense and that you can’t even really speculate about as it was so vague.

      Perhaps just me.

  36. 1) how do the 5 get or see the video. Did prairie log into her old aol account from 2009? How does she have their email

    2) in the cells, where do they go to the bathroom? The trough? The plants? Kind of kills her and homer’s intamcy?

    3) if it’s all fake, did she imagine homer’s you tube video? She seems pretty good at the internet for someone who hasn’t logged on in 7 years

    4) wouldn’t there be a news story on the patients found at that lab?

    5) why is her dad conveniently there to find her on the beach? No cops, no ambulance and she doesn’t go to a hospital? A little too right place right time…

  37. Tim says:

    There is textual/screen evidence of the OA having some form of supernatural/magical abilities since she foresees the school shooting in a dream in the beginning of Episode 7. Obviously psychic abilities would make the show fall into the supernatural/magical realm since there is no such thing as psychic abilities or foresight in the real/natural world. The FBI counselor’s explanation of her dreams as a high-level awareness of reality does not suffice given that a shooting does happen; there’s no way a school shooter scenario could have been deduced by the OA’s non-supernatural subconsciousness given her interactions in town. Also, before the dream in ep 7, there are ominous and spacey sounds, a swoosh sound, maybe signifying the supernatural/magical. There’s also a swoosh sound in the end, in the last episode, right before Steve has an epiphany and chases the ambulance. Also in the end, after the screen fades to black, the OA is seen again in a heaven like, calm and bright, place/dimension and says “Homer,” – which I hope is not just some half-ass homage to the Ancient Greek Homer, the Odyssey, its importance to western canon and story-telling. If it is so, then shame on the writers.

    So the conclusion that the OA is insane and it’s all in her head, does not hold up, even though the show places a lot of red herrings and deliberately makes us doubt what actually is going on. And, I just think that “it’s all in her head” premise is so played out and such an easily achieved writing solution, a deus ex machina like trick, that shame on the writers and creators if that’s actually the case.

  38. Ned Gorski says:

    I enjoyed, or more correctly was captivated by, the show immensely. Lots of unanswered questions, but, for me, it left me with the feeling, more than ever, that maybe we are indeed in a 5-dimensional universe of universes, with the 5th dimension containing every possible change that can occur in the 3rd and 4th dimensions, and we are just travelers through that 5 dimensional reality. The movement we see around us is just our movement through that 5th. Every step, every thought, every choice, charts our next move, our course, through “Life”, with where we are being a result of all past choices. “Instant Karma”. “You reap what you sow”. So it’s a good idea, not a religion, to “Love your Source, your neighboring beings, as yourself”. As… at the same time, in the same way, and, in the end, as identical with yourself. Lots of good reminders in the show. Of course, we only see what “we” see. Others might see something different. Enjoyed it a lot. Thanks.

  39. Elle says:

    my mother would say , “….something different…” meaning ‘ not too bad’ . I am sci-tech-medical-spiritual , as most and believe in NDEs of course…..but I am logical – I do believe her story and would like justice for the murders of the ranger and his wife – and capture of the “HAP” character, and rescue, if possible, of the remaining captives. NOT satisfying – if they take that up, then they are a cool “fifth element” extra-dimensional team of super heros – fun….”something different”.

  40. Christian says:

    I was impressed throughout the 8 episodes.
    I loved. I look forward to the second season

    • Rich Romer says:

      Well done , what came out of it was my expeirence of drowning at the age of 19 , NDE and metaphysical experience … Its was about losing their memory from the gas , and in this world what I call The Matrix of human experiences … We have those ahhh moments where its all clear , existence and how it works … two days later we forget and the mind goes back into chaos … So I started writing down the ahhh moment experiences and can access who we’ve always been in a moment , unlimited with all things possible … Then with the veils lifted I could see how this existence was patterned to keep us so busy worrying in fear we couldn’t access the simple truth theirs nothing to figure out … You have a body , do the best you can to find joy , Love Yourself , Love others , forgive and lend a helping hand , thats it … Its all temporary , not who you are which I saw on the other side … Find your joy , do the best you can , your having a Human experience … Ok thankyou for sharing this movie and all that watch it , may you find the compassion in your heart to plant seeds of kindness , joy , love , gratitude for yourself and all of us … Be Well , Be Blessed and have the best day ever … Aloha Rich

  41. Mike Rush says:

    We live in a simulated multi-verse. Everything is code and energy. Why couldn’t we unlock doors? Or have to leave them open? One day binge. A few things bugged me, unless those are clues. They better not end the series without answering the riddle. I don’t want to have to hear people argue about it until the end of time. And space. HOMER! Sorry, I’m watching baseball.

  42. FromFinland says:

    “Our sound engineer picked up on a major one that kind of blew my mind. I was like, “That is designed for only the closest, creepiest viewer to find.””
    There has to be season 2? There has to be, I am sure you understand this? After saying like that, it is pure torture to keep us wondering..
    I saw all 8 episodes during 2 days. Could not stop before I had seen all of them.

  43. R V D B says:

    Loved this show to bits, even the ambiguity of the ending – the themes, cinematography and music are beautiful, and I found myself in tears multiple times, thinking about the meaning of life and death, and how we can truly connect to other people. But, some of the loose ends do haunt me (why is the FBI counselor in her house at night? How is Steve all of a sudden back at school? What has brought all parents to the abandoned house? Why does none of the boys google Homer’s name or the other captives names?) – this leaves me wondering whether we may have seen several different ‘forks’ instead of a continuous timeline in the same space? In any case, thank you Marling and Batmanglij for making something so captivating (literally…) and mesmerizing and strange. I hope for a season 2.

    PS. About the comments section: what is with Americans and their strange fear of people under 18 having sex? I applauded that particular scene. There is nothing bad about teenagers having consensual sex, but shaming this and not openly discussing this only contributes to young people having sex secretly and preventing proper education about safety and consent. We’re humans, we have sex, it’s natural, not perverse.

    • Kevin says:

      What you’re seeing in the comments is a microcosm of a phenomenon in America that has been going on for decades. It’s the idea that teaching your children about sex should be in the schools, that sex and minors are a taboo area and that abstinence is the best course of action when dealing with teens & sex education. Clearly, that’s a very dated and erroneous course of action, but it’s proponents still run deep. The more teens know about sex and the more education about sex they receive, the better, informed choices they can make. Personally, I think the problem here comes from being almost a Christian theocracy up to the 50’s and early 60’s. Then a New Wave of Christina theology in the 90’s. Old habits die hard.

      • Kevin says:

        Respectfully, you are missing my points. For one thing, it’s illegal to use minors in pornography, i.e., all the actors have to be at least 18 who are involved in any kind of sexual depiction. No minors are being physically exploited in any of this. Your point rests on the idea that mentally, minors are being exploited. That’s something that can only be proven in bonafide research, not one viewer’s indignation. And you completely ignored my point about showing gratuitous violence during prime time. If you want to somehow block adult themes from all prime time viewing audiences, then you have to go after both sexual depiction and violence. And without the violence on the major TV networks and cable, you’d have the biggest uproar in this country you could ever imagine. Violence in America either depicted or real, has become a mainstay of our culture, whether you like it or not. Arguably, seeing so much of it growing up in the US gives the green light to those of us that are mentally unstable and therefore, commit atrocities. I’d think you’d find in the research much more of a correlation between film/TV/game violence versus real violence than you would with sexual depictions in films/TV/games and real sexual exploitation of minors.

      • Star says:

        Respectfully, you are missing the point. It is not about teaching children about sex or whether two teenagers consenting to sex is ok. It has nothing, for me, to do with religion. It is about exploiting minors for artistic and/or monetary gain. It is the same thing as having someone younger than 18 in a pornographic film. It is no different. It is satiating some desire, be it sexual, artistic expression, boredom, etc… It is illegal and should be – along with the intent of showing minors. It has to do with minor sexual exploitation. It gives the impression that it is ok to show minors in sexual acts and it is ok to exploit them. So, if I consent to my child making a pornographic film, is that ok since children/teens have sex anyway? NO! If I record an 18 year old in a pornographic film, but say it is a minor, is it ok? Do you applaud that? Are you clicking on that link?

  44. Susan says:

    I loved it on so many levels’. It is a beautiful piece of work. The cafeteria scene made me sob when the movements began. I was engaged from episode 1. Looking forward to season 2.

  45. Kasey says:

    This is by far the best Netflix original I have seen. I may go even further to say this is the best tv series I have seen. it’s something so mysterious about this show. It seems to be rooted deeply in its authenticity. The script, the layering of the different story lines and characters, the uncertainty in the present and future, ones obsession in knowing the truth, the mistakes and heartbreak. There was every sort of emotion in this series – purposefully making the viewer feel apart of the story…becoming one of the 5. Really hope that Netflix gives the go ahead for a season 2. RATED 5 OUT OF 5

  46. Yvonne Clemente Lipko says:

    I loved it, watched it all in one day. I really didn’t want it to end. I also liked the ending.

  47. les says:

    this is like an anti-version of Seinfeld. it’s about nothing but it’s not funny, boring with unlikeable characters. this series could give roger corman a lesson on how to pad a film. with decent editing this could have been condensed down to about 30 minutes. was brad pitt smoking some bad weed when his company agreed to finance this turd? leave modern dance to those actually know what they are doing.

  48. Francesco says:

    “Our sound engineer picked up on a major one that kind of blew my mind. I was like, “That is designed for only the closest, creepiest viewer to find.””
    Now I am not going to rest in peace until I know what that is.

    • JulieMarisa says:

      I think that it is the Jim Croce song Operator

      some of the lyrics

      So I can call just to tell ’em I’m fine and to show
      I’ve overcome the blow, I’ve learned to take it well
      I only wish my words could just convince myself
      That it just wasn’t real, but that’s not the way it feels

      Jim Croce died in an airplane accident ……….. wait for it……….. with 5 other people.

      • JulieMarisa says:

        The pilot was to blame…………it was like he was flying the plane into a black hole and hit a pecan tree……..the only tree around.

    • Susan E Calloway says:


  49. Kimberly Viarella says:

    My husband and I binge-watched the series. He watched the whole thing in one sitting. I saved the final episode for this morning and I cried buckets. This is the kid of series you could have a discussion group about much like people have book club meetings! When OA had her first conversation with Steve’s teacher – that resonated with me. Working with students that have special needs or learning quirks, THOSE are the individuals I got into education to assist. The smart motivated students will be fine on their own. OA challenged her and she rose to the occaision. Lots of plot twists and symbolism. I was posting something on Facebook about the show just this morning and I compared it to “The Breakfast Club” meets dystopian microcosm. There is almost a tribute to John Hugh’s films going on within the story. OA stares that there has to be 5; reminds me of the thug, the jock, the nerd, the princess and the basket case. The 5 in the OA do not follow the stereotypes, but many of the same struggles are taking place for the characters all the same. Those and more! Can’t wait for the next season….

    • SOLA says:

      HOMYGAHD! I swear I thought I was the only one who associated it with The Breakfast Club and that I was weird for thinking it but here you are :)

  50. Matt says:

    This show is down right breathe taking The creator was right when they said only a select few will pick this up. If you’ve been through something traumatizing or if your trying to open your mind and broaden your spectrum of reality and the universe itself you will love this. This show gave me goosebumps in every episode. Ive never once felt this passionate about a show before. I hope theres enough of us of the select few for you guys to pick up a second season.

More TV News from Variety