The OA

TV review by
Melissa Camacho, Common Sense Media
The OA TV Poster Image
Popular with kids
Strange, supernatural sci-fi series has disturbing content.

Parents say

age 16+
Based on 19 reviews

Kids say

age 15+
Based on 11 reviews

Did this review miss something on diversity?

Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive, diverse representations in books, TV shows, and movies. Want to help us help them? Suggest a diversity update

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.

Positive Messages

Kidnapping, near-death experiences, love, death. 

Positive Role Models & Representations

Prairie seeks to help others but has selfish reasons.


Drowning, punching, killing; guns, blood visible. 


Nudity (breasts, buttocks), sexual activity visible. Crude references. 


"F--k," "s--t." 

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Prescription drug dealing, drinking, smoking; meds, attempted poisoning, gas used to subdue.  

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. 

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written bySadman December 20, 2016

Sex scenes ruin it

Someday Netflix will realize that not every show has to have explicit sex scenes. But sadly The OA isn't one of them. The sex meter should be at max and th... Continue reading
Adult Written byHannah M. May 16, 2019


Was enthralled with the story until, inevitably.... like any Netflix original, they had to ruin it with a borderline pornographic sex scene that had absolutely... Continue reading
Teen, 15 years old Written byOmidyan February 1, 2019
I started watching this with my family and at first it was good, kind of slow but that’s was fine. Then all of a sudden two people are having sex, they didn’t c... Continue reading
Teen, 14 years old Written byPanicof1873 July 26, 2020

This is the best show I’ve ever watched. You can skip the sex scenes

Yes, there are four sex scenes and one is really bad, but it is skippable. The last one in season two doesn’t show a thing so you don’t need to skip it. The oth... Continue reading

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?

TV details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love science fiction

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.

See how we rate

Streaming options powered by JustWatch

About these links

Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes when you use our links to make a purchase. Thank you for your support.

Read more

Our ratings are based on child development best practices. We display the minimum age for which content is developmentally appropriate. The star rating reflects overall quality.

Learn how we rate