The OA is Cancelled, and It Is A Travesty

The OA wallpaper

Sometimes you just find a TV show that resonates with you. Something that fits so perfectly in your mindset and morality that you feel at peace watching it. This is the effect The OA had on me. Brit Marling and Zal Batmanglij’s creation was just about the best story told on our screens since Twin Peaks. And just as Twin Peaks was cancelled by the network it lived on thirty years ago, The OA is cancelled now too.

The OA wove a coherent narrative with an overarching message while exploring complicated subjects. It never got lost in its own brilliance. And so it breaks my heart to hear the announcement that Netflix will not be renewing the show for a third season. Painful memories linger from when ABC cancelled Twin Peaks after two seasons, then again when HBO cancelled Carnivale. This is a history that did not need repeating. Peaks fans waiting 25 long years to get their beloved show back, we pray to the OA that we don’t have to wait that long for the show to return to our screens.

The OA Angel of Death

I don’t usually get upset about cancellations. Most TV is throwaway or gets to the end of its life and it rightly gives up the ghost. But when something so perfectly written, marvellously acted and beautifully filmed is ended — on a cliffhanger, when there are still three seasons left of story to tell — it is a genuine travesty.

Starring Marling as Prairie Johnson/The OA (the “Original Angel”) — a young woman who resurfaces after having been missing for seven years and can now see, despite having been blind before she disappeared—this intricate and mind-bending tale goes so much further than what it appears on the surface. Expect Near-Death Experiences, alternate dimensions, body movements that can resurrect the dead, even a psychic octopus. But even all that wouldn’t go anywhere near explaining the emotional impact this show has.

The OA meets Khatun

Each character has a detailed and interesting backstory. There are no characters in this show that you won’t love or at least feel empathy for. You find yourself championing every single one of them. The teenagers and their teacher BBA (Phyllis Smith) from the ‘Crestwood 5’ have difficulty dealing with mental health issues, coming to terms with their sexuality and gender, frustrations their families and their emotions in the wake of death and relationship breakdowns. Yet, never is the show preachy or patronising. It deals with human problems with sensitivity and spiritual grace.

The OA was a brilliant and imaginative take on the genre. It was visually spectacular and intellectually satisfying and blended romance, crime, thriller, and science fiction.

Brit Marling took to Instagram to share her thoughts and disappointment at the news.

A Statement from Cindy Holland, VP of Original Content at Netflix, read:

“We are incredibly proud of the 16 mesmerizing chapters of ‘The OA,’ and are grateful to [co-creator/star Brit Marling and co-creator/executive producer Zal Batmanglij] for sharing their audacious vision and for realizing it through their incredible artistry. We look forward to working with them again in the future, in this and perhaps many other dimensions.”

I can only speculate that money is behind the decision, as viewing numbers were good, and the show has a big cult following — a following that may bring some hope. Netflix has a relatively high Season 1 to Season 2 renewal rate (around 80%), but the threshold gets significantly higher after Seasons 2 and 3 as series get more expensive for Netflix and the cost vs viewership is heavily scrutinized in the renewal decision-making process. The majority of Netflix’s original scripted shows last two or three seasons. But knowing that there is such a dedicated following for the show, there is always a possibility that another network could pick it up. Fans across the world will be practising their movements to make that happen right now.

The gang performing the five movements in the Season 1 finale of The OA

We absolutely need to know what happens next to Nina/Prairie/Brit/The OA and all her friends. The exceptionally exhilarating and meta ending of Season 2 left viewers gasping for breath and desperate to find out what happens next. I have faith in Brit and Zal that they will find a way to finish their story, for together, they are the greatest storytellers in the world right now. Until then, keep believing in angels.

8 thoughts on “The OA is Cancelled, and It Is A Travesty

  1. I hope from the bottom of my heart that The OA gets picked up by another network, but the way Brit and Zal made the announcement on their Instagram pages makes it sound pretty terminal.

    1. Thank you! And wow, you know I made a ‘joke’ here to the 25YL staff earlier about it all being part of the story – and my God, if that really were the case and they managed to pull that off, it really would be the most brilliant TV/social media meta experience. I mean, we all got involved with Black Mirror’s ‘Bandersnatch’ so it is totally within the realms of possibility and if anyone could do it, it would be Brit and Zal, so here’s hoping you are right and they surprise drop Season 3 on us. Keeping the faith here!

  2. Hopefully the rest of the five year plan will be picked up by someone else. This is the age when that happens often.

  3. It really sucks and I do hope this show gets the revival somewhere else. It’s a story that demands to be told.

    This piece was Beautiful written. ^_^ Keep believing indeed!

  4. That show was so bad it made me want to cry. Can’t believe it actually got a season 2. Silly and pretentious, dull and witless, it won’t be missed by many for very long.

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