With Christmas just more than a week away, maybe you’ve decided to treat yourself and already started binge-watching the launch of The OA on Netflix or Season 2 of The Man In The High Castle on Amazon. I would suggest alternating episodes of the dramas but, with all the weirdness, twists and turns in time and reality that both shows are thick with, that might be a little too trippy.
The fact is that neither the shrouded-in-mystery eight-part OA from Brit Marling and director Zal Batmanglij, or the Emmy-winning alt-history series about a reality in which the Nazis and Imperial Japan won World War II, are for the casual viewer. Even though in OA you can see plot points coming in the tale of a once-blind woman (Marling) who returns to her family after having been missing for seven years with her sight restored and a story to tell about what may have happened, both series are complex and demanding television.
Will The OA, which Netflix only revealed the debut date of on December 12, tap into that Stranger Things main vein? With a quartet of teens at Marling’s side for the Plan B- and Anonymous Content-produced show and more than a few other similar elements, that has to be part of the streaming service’s hope. Although lacking the humor of the Duffer Brothers’ effort, the show stands alone as a worthy effort that is all about the pieces of perception. Additionally, as I say in my video review above, the time-shifting and unconventional narrative of The OA features a raw and remarkable performance from Marling that is definitely worth your attention.
Even more than last season, there are strong performances from Alexa Davalos, Joel de la Fuente and Rufus Sewell as top American Nazi John Smith in High Castle‘s 10-episode Season 2. There is also a strong addition to a pretty muscular cast in Callum Keith Rennie (why isn’t this man a big star?) as a ruthless resistance leader. Building off the foundations of the first season of the Scott Free-produced series based on Philip K. Dick’s 1962 novel, this cycle of TMITHC resonates in an America that has seen a big change or two in recent months. What is for sure is that a confident show plays with what is and isn’t real in this world and unabashedly flies its flag to new heights.
So, check out my review above for more of my take on The OA and Season 2 of The Man In The High Castle, then tell us what you think.