Welcome to the Weekend Binge. Every Friday, we’ll suggest a binge-able title designed to keep you from getting too stir crazy. Check back throughout the weekend for even more gloriously queer entertainment.
The Unique: The OA
Love her or hate her, Brit Marling is an original. The ethereal blond actress made a splash when she began writing roles for herself, citing a lack of acting opportunities. Her resulting movies–Another Earth, Sound of My Voice and The East–earned her wide critical acclaim as both a capable actress, and as an original writer.
Marling combined her efforts with openly gay director Zal Batmanglij (who helmed Sound of My Voice and The East) as well as the ever-deep pockets of Netflix to create the very queer-affirming TV series The OA. In the show, Marling plays Prarie, an adopted, blind woman who returns after a seven year disappearance, suddenly able to see. She begins to hold court with a group of local high schoolers (including a transgender boy, played by trans actor Ian Alexander, and a ‘roid-head jock played by the very naked Patrick Gibson), telling her life story, and revealing that she’s actually an angel called The OA in disguise. She teaches the group a form of Tai-Chi that–when five people perform it together–can open a portal to a parallel world.
More than that we’ll not reveal here, as a big chunk of the fun of The OA resides in experiencing one weird plot twist after another. Season 2 sees actor Kingsly Ben-Adir (currently winning raves for his work in One Night in Miami and The Comey Rule) join the cast as an investigator tracking the movements of Parie and the nefarious Dr. Percy (a delicious Jason Isaacs), a man obsessed with Prairie and her prophecies. Much as with Twin Peaks, The OA doesn’t tell a fully cogent story at first glance. Rather, Marling and Batmanglij layer the plot with all kinds of clues and meta comments that make the show kind of brilliant, and kind of ridiculous. And, as with Twin Peaks, the show also ends on a wild cliffhanger unlikely to be resolved anytime soon: Netflix has no plans to produce further seasons or a wrap-up a-la Sense8. Give this wacky, imaginative, adventurous series a watch and enjoy the ride. Do it enough, and one day it might get some closure.
Streams on Netflix.