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A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that The OA is a dramatic sci-fi thriller that contains lots of mature content and disturbing moments, including frequent drowning scenes. Kidnapping, near-death experiences, and trauma are addressed. There's also some strong sexual content, nudity, cursing, and illegal drug sales. Smoking, drinking, and prescription medication use also are featured.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
THE OA is a mystery thriller about a young woman who is coping with traumatic events and how she makes sense of her life afterward. Without giving too much away, the series stars Brit Marling as Prairie Johnson, a young woman who reappears seven years after going missing. But her return to the community she grew up in marks the beginning of a strange awakening among a handful of high school teens, including Steve Winchell (Patrick Gibson), French (Brandon Perea), Buck Vu (Ian Alexander), and teacher Betty Broderick-Allen (Phyllis Smith). Meanwhile, Prairie, who now wants to be known as the OA, hopes that with their help she can find a way to fulfill what she believes is her mission: to help the people she left behind.
Is it any good?
This unique Netflix series mixes edgy realism with mysticism, time travel, and horror to create a viewing experience that is as confusing as it is engaging. It tells a good story, but the narrative's constant flashbacks are sudden and jarring, and current events often fail to explain the logic behind it all. There is a spiritual component to it, too, but these moments feel awkward and are often overshadowed by the disturbing drowning scenes that precede them.
All this being said, The OA is compelling if you're looking for something that's strange and unpredictable. The strong cast, which also includes Jason Isaacs, Emory Cohen, Scott Wilson, and Alice Krige, also makes the series easy to commit to. It isn’t an easy journey, but the unique blend of genres will be an interesting watch for some viewers.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about what makes a good story. What are some of the risks producers and writers take when they produce series that break away from traditional ways of storytelling, such as in The OA? Can you think of any shows that are noteworthy or popular because they're so unique and creative?
Families can also talk about mysteries. Why are we drawn to tales of the unknown?
For kids who love science fiction
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.