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The OA

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

Parents say

age 17+
Based on 10 reviews

Kids say

age 16+
Based on 6 reviews

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
Parent of a 1, 2, 4, 6, 8, 10, 12, 13, and 15 year old Written byMr. D. December 20, 2016

Well done but not for teens or kids! Graphic sex from the first episode.

Early on in the first episode is graphic sex scene that also include pretty graphic oral. Was surprised and caught off guard by it. Definitely a hard R rated... Continue reading
Teen, 15 years old Written bya.kelly.n December 21, 2016

This was very good but there are some things to consider

This tv show was incredible and incredibly thought provoking. That said I think the original review is a bit too lax because of the 2 graphic sex scenes that we... Continue reading
Teen, 14 years old Written byaaus January 5, 2017
I really like this series and hope there will be anther season. It's so deep and has so much meaning. It has some nudity and strong language though. I pers... 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

For kids who love science fiction

Our editors recommend

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