HomeOur ObsessionsHere’s why superfans are all fighting to save ‘The OA’

Here’s why superfans are all fighting to save ‘The OA’

We spoke to some of the show’s superfans to find out what 'The OA' means to them and how they plan to fight Netflix’s decision to cancel it prematurely.

Here’s why superfans are all fighting to save ‘The OA’

Netflix has once again laid waste to a show before its time was up. The OA was praised by Netflix’s VP of Original Content Cindy Holland shortly before part two dropped, yet she was the one to drop the news that part two would be the end of The OA. Naturally, the fanbase is angry because this show ended on the worst note. Watch out for spoilers below.

The end of part two of The OA saw another dimension of reality open up on the soundstage of a TV show in which Hap’s name is Jason Issacs and Prairie is referred to as Brit. The fourth-wall-breaking ending of part two didn’t tie up any loose ends; if anything, it just caused more. But with this cancellation, it’s the official ending Netflix is giving fans.

Just like the fans of One Day at a Time, Tuca and Bertie, and Santa Clarita Diet, The OA superfans are angry at Netflix and ready to fight for another season. They should, too, considering that, when Holland praised the show before season two, she mentioned the creators pitched a five-season arc.

[mv_video key=”o3bhrmz7suqgysryxtih” volume=”70″ aspectRatio=”true” title=”The OA (Part 1) – Trailer” thumbnail=”https://mediavine-res.cloudinary.com/video/upload/o3bhrmz7suqgysryxtih.jpg” doNotOptimizePlacement=”false” doNotAutoplayNorOptimizePlacement=”false”]A petition with over 10,000 signatures on it demands Netflix give the show at least one final season to get closure, though they want the five seasons the creators planned for. 

The superfans should fight for The OA even though it didn’t end on a cliffhanger. The OA is 100% what Netflix is all about: taking unpredictable, provocative programs that could never make it on network television and giving them a home. The OA brought twists and turns while being sincere and giving us the sci-fi thrills we love so much. 

Imagine if a 50-hour movie got cut off at hour 16. You would be angry too if you couldn’t find out the ending. That’s exactly how The OA’s superfans feel about its cancellation. We spoke to some of the show’s diehards to find out what The OA means to them and how they plan to fight Netflix’s decision.

[mv_video key=”pecfleiatvslha3xuwb1″ volume=”70″ aspectRatio=”true” title=”The OA: Part 2 – Trailer” thumbnail=”https://mediavine-res.cloudinary.com/video/upload/pecfleiatvslha3xuwb1.jpg” doNotOptimizePlacement=”false” doNotAutoplayNorOptimizePlacement=”false”]

Matthew

When did you start watching The OA?

Approximately 3 years ago.

What drew you to The OA?

Netflix suggested it. I was hooked immediately.

What about The OA makes it so special?

The story seems so realistic and compelling. The passion and detail that has gone into the writing and even the set design is not something I had ever seen before. The painstaking amount of detail linking the two existing seasons go far and above foreshadowing. There are groups devoted almost entirely to finding similarities and links between characters, dialog, symbols, and images.

The emotions you experience watching this show are powerful. You won’t find anyone who has seen the show that didn’t get chills at BBA saying: “My boys!” or Steve chasing the ambulance screaming: “Take me with you!”

What was the most frustrating thing about the way The OA was cancelled?

The second season ended on a cliffhanger. There is so much more story left to tell. These characters might be fictional, but they have become very real in a sense for the fans. Imagine, if you will, that you were in the place of the 5 when The OA was shot. 

How would you feel knowing that for all you knew, her story was over? Luckily, it seems we fans are very much in the mindset of Steve in season 2. Even though all the evidence points to her being gone, we believe this isn’t over.

What lengths have you gone to save The OA?

Tweeting. Commenting on Netflix’s Facebook posts. Signing every petition I find.

Do you have anything else to add?

The fact that 13 Reasons Why is getting 4 seasons is seriously frustrating. 13RW glamorizes suicide and terrorist shootings. The OA has dealt with both of those issues with so much more class and decency, even going so far as to refuse to show the shooter’s face or reveal the actor’s name. Especially in the world we live in now, we need to stop making evil people famous, even in fiction.

JP

When did you start watching The OA?

When it was released in Winter 2016.

What drew you to The OA?

I saw it as a new show on Netflix for a week or so then decided to start watching. I was about as interested in it as anything I had ever watched right from the start. I think I finished it in 3-4 days after that because I couldn’t stop watching and gladly lost some sleep doing so. 

Then I proceeded to tell anyone I knew about it, hardly anyone had even heard of it initially but when someone did know it, they absolutely loved it like I do.

What about The OA makes it so special?

It does what any show is trying to do, connect to the audience. It does it in the most extreme and beautiful ways. Anything that keeps me glued to the screen is something peculiar nowadays, there is just so much entertainment out there and if I am not checking my phone for entire episodes then it’s really something special. 

This kept me thinking between episodes and still today. It provokes positive, expansive thoughts and that is what this world needs more of. I fully believe that The OA is very important in today’s society, we need it more now than ever.

What was the most frustrating thing about the way The OA was cancelled?

It came out of nowhere, I really had no clue it even had a chance of being cancelled. It would be like Lost never finishing and ending when they opened the hatch at the end of a season, never to know what was inside. The way Season 2 ended there are some people questioning whether or not it’s apart of the show and this would all be a publicity stunt. 

I don’t think that is the case, because Brit and Zal in my opinion created this show to bring hope and joy to people. Not to have us be sad, which is exactly what the fanbase is right now, downright sad. I also heard that this was always intended to be a 5 part series, which makes sense with how deep it is and how many questions are unanswered.

How did the show get you through dark times?

The first season came out right in between season 2 and 3 of The Leftovers. Both that show and The OA deal with death in very imaginative and beautiful ways. I have dealt with loss for most of my adult life, a few too many unexpected deaths of close family members or friends. 

It really shows that no one is ever really gone, their presence is always there. And a newer song from the band Phish really sums it up, “Death don’t hurt very long”.

How did the fandom support you in times of need?

It was a small, tight knit fanbase all the way until now really when fans are speaking up publicly. This is when we are in need more than ever. The show itself helped me in the past more than any fandom did, it accomplished enough on its own that nerding out over it wasn’t even needed.

What lengths have you gone to save The OA?

I have been signing petitions and posting them. I have hashtagged more in the last 24 hours than I have in my entire life combined. I reached out to Netflix a few different ways. People are cancelling their Netflix accounts until it gets renewed. Amazon is on backorder right now for mustard because fans have sent Netflix mustard which has deep meaning on the show.

What lengths will you go to save The OA?

I will keep talking to people about it IRL. I will keep posting things. I am planning to learn the movements in sequence, considering joining a flash mob if one is nearby. I will be mentally manifesting this too, sort of The OA-style.

Dawn

When did you start watching The OA?

April 2019

What drew you to The OA

I was looking on Netflix for a show with some substance, sci fi or brain teasers. After watching a few shows in the above mentioned genre, The O.A was presented in the “because you watched (x show)”

What about The OA makes it so special?

I consider myself to be a spiritual person. The ability to be open minded. I love shows that challenge me to think and consider the world, spirituality, science as well as science fiction and how they often can overlap.

What was the most frustrating thing about the way The OA was cancelled?

There were too many unanswered questions.

How did the fandom support you in times of need?

Fandom support comes in the fashion that you are not alone in being drawn to a story or an idea. And that the world isn’t only filled with divisiveness and combative behavior that seems to have really taken root in our society. You can be anywhere in the world, of any religion or lack thereof, any gender, any age and a great story or idea can and will bring these diverse groups together to appreciate the artistry and beauty.

Have you ever read fan fiction from members of the fandom?

I have read several. Especially with this show. It definitely challenge you to think

What’s your favorite piece of fan fiction that you have read from the fandom?

I don’t think I actually have a favorite. I enjoy possible theories about this show and where it could lead

What lengths have you gone to save The OA?

As I said, I have joined several social media fan pages. Joined the Hashtag effort. Watched and shared fan made videos/art. I have also made my appeal to Netflix as well as other networks to save the show.

What lengths will you go to save The OA?

I’m not in a convenient location with the rest of the fan base, or I would join them in the sit-ins, or flash mob gatherings. My support will be social media based, as well as trying to expand the fan base by promoting the show.

Do you have anything else to add?

I hope I have conveyed my thoughts and feelings on this show. With everything else going on in the world, shows that promote or display violence, fear and hate are not doing society any favors. 

Additionally, sitcoms that put you in front of your screen watching someone else live, also isn’t what I’m looking for. Challenge the collective minds of the world to think outside our spaces to think there is something larger than ourselves and the screens we look at every day.

Anonymous

When did you start watching The OA?

2016

What drew you to The OA? 

Netflix algorithm

What about The OA makes it so special?

It is absolutely thought provoking on countless levels. Disabilities, physiology, philosophy, metaphysics, psychiatry, psychology, including the study of the subconscious, sociology, primal culture, chemistry, physics, particularly quantum physics, mathematics, astronomy, music & music theory, art & art history, gender issues & resolution of gender issues, etc.

What was the most frustrating thing about the way The OA was cancelled?

We are left with questions, too many of them. We’ve witnessed unparalleled brilliance & for it to be cut off when our minds & souls were changing because of it is unforgivable.

Have you made friends in the fandom?

Two close ones that I message often but very many more that have shared insights.

How did the show get you through dark times?

I had been suffering from a long term side effect of SSRIs, I felt brain damaged, I couldn’t process information as well & as vehemently as I used to. It was tragic for me as I was well on my way to a doctorate in chemistry. I tried every brain support supplement I could find to no avail. 

A couple episodes into The OA, I suddenly had a rush of questions & theories, I looked for answers & a platform & found my own tribe of academics. The questions & answers kept coming like an unbounded waterfall…we were learning from each other’s expertise…things I’d never have known about, things I was fascinated with.

What’s your favorite piece of fan fiction that you have read from the fandom?

Leonard’s Observations. It’s not fan fiction but he’s an audiological genius.

What lengths have you gone to save The OA?

Tweeting #SaveTheOA, contacting Netflix, speaking to my FB groups

Bela

When did you start watching The OA?

Spring of 2018

What drew you to The OA

I was browsing the movies and shows on Netflix and I just found it. It had a strange title and many times shows with strange titles are good ones.

What about The OA makes it so special?

I think The OA is a unique show. Its world, its story can be explained in many different ways: with psychological only theories, with physics, with alien influences, etc. It is very artistic too, with lot of pareidolia and apophenia feelings (automatically happen in the viewer). 

It uses many modern magical theories, shows methods and models from modern thinkers. I think this movie is very fresh. I didn’t see any other movie with such new thoughts.

Have you attended any fandom events? Which ones?

Not impossible to go one, but I think that the community should be more concrete. I just joined a fan group on Facebook, and I never posted or commented anything on Reddit, Twitter or Instagram. 

Reddit and Twitter are mainly used by developed countries and not so popular in Hungary for example. I have no friends registered there, it is a little foreign world for me. So it is more complicated for me to be a part of a cross-media community. More obstacles have to be overcome.

How did the show get you through dark times?

In my personal life I had to go through some traumatic events – like my wife suffered in cancer years and died while we had a small child. This show really helped me to process my traumas. You know when somebody dying goes through different stages. At one stage the dying person blame his/her environment, the other people around. 

It is a hard stage and can be long, even years. To be able to see things from very different viewpoints is a big help for everybody at these times. The OA really such a show teach us to see things from different angles. It can open up our hidden thinking channels – allow us to more easily swim from one reality model of our brain to another.

Maybe this move is not recognized yet as a popular show, but I think as more and more people can find his/her own mental healing in this show, it will be a cult show.

What lengths will you go to save The OA?

I don’t know really. I can support it with money if we organize a collection or I can fly to LA to participate in an event if it really helps. I am sure I will create some artwork anyway. I am thinking about to make a The OA board game too :-)

Chris

When did you start watching The OA?

2016

What drew you to The OA

The ad and previous knowledge of Brit Marling

What about The OA makes it so special?

The idea of travel between dimensions, the idea of angels, acting and interwoven storytelling were top notch, inclusive casting and characters.

What was the most frustrating thing about the way The OA was cancelled?

That it happened after the second season was dropped with very little advertising at all. I stumbled upon some mention of the second season and put a notice in my phone so I could watch it immediately. I tried to mention it as much as possible so others would know it was back

How did the show get you through dark times?

I’m single, live alone, and this world The OA created is one I believe could exist.

What lengths have you gone to save The OA?

Signed petition, joined Facebook group, and posting about saving it.

Do you have anything else to add?

It’s not easy to express how much I love the show. There are a lot of different levels that it operates on; the high school kids working together for the greater good, the idea of interdimensional travel, the magic and healing in this strange political time.

Juliette

When did you start watching The OA?

Few days after part 1 was released in December 2016

What drew you to The OA? 

I saw it on Netflix and it interested me.

What about The OA makes it so special?

It looks like nothing else. It talks about subjects that need an open mind to appreciate. Brit Marling is amazing, she is like a real angel.

Each time we watch the episodes we discover something else and new questions apparear, new theories. The OA is about beliefs and faith, about death, about how the choices we make can change our lives.

What was the most frustrating thing about the way The OA was cancelled?

The fact that Netflix doesn’t talk about it at all and how they ignore the fans.

What lengths have you gone to save The OA?

Sign petitions, ask for The OA in the Netflix “asking content” area, use #SaveTheOA and #RenewTheOA on Twitter and changed my profile picture on my social media accounts.

Manon

When did you start watching The OA?

A few months ago, I was totally hooked.

What drew you to The OA?

Sometimes I just click something on Netflix and then I decide if I love or hate it after one or two episodes.

What was the most frustrating thing about the way The OA was cancelled?

It wasn’t finished. Brutally cancel. I hate it how it ends now.

How did the show get you through dark times?

It was an awesome binge watch when I felt depressed or anything.

Emily

When did you start watching The OA?

The day after it dropped on Netflix in 2016

What drew you to The OA?

The complete lack of information on the show was intriguing – it was released without warning and without fanfare. The trailer drew me in completely. Once I started watching, I was completely enamored.

What about The OA makes it so special?

There are a number of things that make The OA so special. It was created and written by two indie, not super well known artists. Co-creator and writer Brit Marling also played the lead roll, which is not very common. The story itself is so absolutely unlike anything else on television today. 

Most TV series, and stories for that matter, follow expectable storylines with traditional roles. The OA is a heroine’s journey, and the voice the writers gave the show is wholly unique. The incredibly level of detail is unlike anything else I have seen before – I often compare it to reading a novel. 

When you read a book and get absorbed into that book’s world, there are details that entrap you and carry you along the story. Adaptations of books into television tend to lose a certain level of detail to allow those new to the story to be able to jump in and follow along. 

Often, these small details are what book fans tend to bemoan are missing. The OA is like the visual rendition of a heavy, detail ridden, richly written novel spanning several books in a series.

What was the most frustrating thing about the way The OA was cancelled?

It was supposed to be a five season arc. The executives at Netflix acknowledged that and even said they were very excited to see the story play out. Season one was a setup for season two, which directly led into what would have been season three, and ended on a massive cliffhanger. The second season was released in March of this year, almost two and a half years after the release of season one, so fans were excited. 

After not hearing anything about the future of season three, fans made an effort to organize on social media and use the hashtag #renewtheOA. A date was selected – August 5th, which was a callback to a character in the first season, and a number that is prevalent in the series. 

The day of the renewal effort, fans got word of the show’s cancellation. To many fans it was a slap in the face to have word of cancellation passed down the day of the planned social media effort.

How did the show get you through dark times?

The show was a refreshing breath of fresh air. Watching the show renewed my sense of purpose and encouraged me to pick up creative writing again, something that I have set aside for a very long time.

What lengths have you gone to save The OA?

I’ve signed the main petition, have been tweeting since the renewal effort on August the 5th, watched both Facebook fan groups and The OA subreddit. I’ve followed both #RenewTheOA and #SaveTheOA hashtags, and retweeted content as well as tagged Netflix. I’ve reached out to Netflix directly via their website to encourage them to renew. 

There are some fans mailing mustard to the Netflix headquarters – a bit of an inside joke from season one where character Scott tells Prairie that she fucked up a sandwich by putting mustard on it- and I will probably do that as well, including a plea to save the show to be delivered with the condiment.

What lengths will you go to save The OA?

I believe The OA is a unique form of art rarely if ever displayed on TV, and I will do whatever I can to help save the show. At this point, the fandom is begging for the other three parts of the story, but a lot of us would be satisfied with some sort of wrap up, to show us what happened after the cliffhanger of season two, and letting us know where our beloved characters end up. 

Sense8 got a movie – I’m not sure if that format would work for The OA, but it would be absolutely better than nothing.

Do you have anything else to add?

The OA is one of Netflix’s most highly ranked TV shows, and was lauded as one of the most binged shows on the network. The depth of storytelling and incredible attention and richness of detail sets this show apart unlike anything else I have ever watched. If you browse the fan groups or reddit, a lot of fans come seeking others like ourselves who experienced something by watching the show. 

I’m not sure that describing what that something is, is possible – but for a lot of viewers it was almost like an awakening. The OA sets aside politics, sets aside traditional patriarchal storytelling, sets aside expectations, and is an amazing tale of finding your tribe, finding your people, and finding your way in a very broken world. 

“The biggest mistake I made was believing that if I cast a beautiful net, I would only catch beautiful things” – Prairie Johnson 

The OA isn’t about a fairytale ending, it isn’t about good vs evil, it isn’t about fulfilling the American dream – it’s a mix of realism and sci-fi, spirituality and science, the human condition, and so much more. It is so hard to describe, I can only recommend people watch it. 

“To exist is to survive unfair choices” – Prairie Johnson

“Well, it’s not really a measure of mental health to be well adjusted in a society that’s very sick” – Prairie Johnson

“There’s no such thing as good and evil, black and white. There’s only gray. There’s only what a man can stand” – Hap

Lisa

When did you start watching The OA?

Whenever it first came out; I believe it was late 2016, early 2017.

What drew you to The OA? 

Netflix suggested it to me.

What about The OA makes it so special?

In short? Everything. 

I have written this more eloquently probably in the numerous fan groups that I am in however I will attempt to highlight the main points. 

Firstly, this show is visually and aurally stunning. From the numerous hadron collider image references to the contrast in colors from part one to part two; there are hours of content on Reddit, Facebook, and potentially Twitter and Instagram about what songs they are playing and the hidden messages behind their visuals. 

Secondly the wisdom, depth, and pure vulnerability in the writing and acting are very rare in a modern television show, even for Netflix. People have compared and seen references to the David Lynch show Twin Peaks, which to me is darker and more serious. The OA’s wisdom floats along side authentic human comedy, tragedy, and fear. 

An example would be the BBA meme “People are Gay Steven”. Its both hilarious and profound and yet its just one tiny phrase in a sea of poignant phrases. Some might say it’s reaching, its “trying to hard” but actually I see it as so effortless. The acting is so goddamn natural. I’ve had some of those discussions and arguments. 

Third, of course it’s the mystery. The entire time that you are taking in all this beauty and receiving profound yet seemingly inane messages you are saying to yourself. Spoiler alert, many of us thought Prairie/The OA died, was lying or insane and that the kids gave up and that was the end. 

I can probably find Reddit posts of people pissed about the end of part one, screaming “that’s it?!?!”. Brit and Zal are troll masters. Fans in the groups spent the year and a half wondering if there was more and scouring the show for clues, easter eggs, answers— many of us gave up.. and then, it was back, in a whole new interesting package with Kareem. They literally turned it into a noir murder mystery. 

Fourth and probably most importantly is the overall concept. It’s fairly new, at least on a TV series and I’m hard pressed to think of a show that has touched on the multiverse and spirituality and connected them in such a way. People believe its all real. 

I’ve had arguments about quantum theory because of this show. Granted I’m an armchair physicist (I read the internet and have skimmed “A Brief History on Time). Many sci fi shows rely on action to keep the audience drawn in. This really doesn’t require physical action (although there is a lot of movement) because there is so much to process as far as the unfolding of what The OA is and where she’s going– and why. 

Some people hated “Old Night”, the octopus from part two but for me that was a beautiful moment highlighting the spirituality of knowledge ant nature in union. 

This idea that science is a religion is one that I’ve joked about, but when we are talking about quantum physics as it pertains to multiverse theory and “magic” such as teleportation or talking to animals or reading someone’s mind/future/past through flowers growing out of their heads, there is an element of belief or faith that is necessary. 

I don’t know how many times I’ve found myself in the middle of discussions with very analytical facts-only type folks saying talking about scientific holes and inconsistencies and then super far-out metaphysical spirit expressing their need to travel across dimensions and draw from the energy of intelligent design shapes or discovering if/when the dimensions have overlapped for a “Mandela Effect”. 

There’s really not much like it. I hope one day someone creates a space or a conference where we can experience each other and these concepts viscerally. We all talked about a convention but I don’t think it happened. Let’s put that into the universe, eh?

What was the most frustrating thing about the way The OA was cancelled?

Is it cancelled? Lol we don’t even know. It seems very obvious that it is but at the end of part two, The OA, Steve, and Hap were all in something that seemed very much like our dimension. I have been reading for months thinking and hoping that there would be a game or a scavenger hunt that would allow us as fans to be on the show or to help the show in someway. 

Childish Gambino came out with a VR game recently and I hoped that would be it but I found nothing. But i’m not frustrated; I was sad then happy and now I’m sorta pumped to help with #SaveTheOA and see what comes of all this craziness.

What lengths have you gone to save The OA?

Well not a lot actually. I did buy savetheoa.com on a whim thinking i could create a fan site where we could congregate and organize but then I realized it wasn’t gonna work and that other people were further along, such as the folks making a video called The INvisible River and the ones doing a collaboration of the 5 movements. I am learning the movements and it’s coming along.

Do you have anything else to add?

If you love the show you should join us on Facebook #SaveTheOA (fan movements video) and help us recruit, film and edit a beautiful thank you video and request for parts 3-5 be produced somewhere, if not Netflix.

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Bethany is a recent graduate who dreams of making her own award-winning film, but for now writes about other media. She’s a child a heart specializing in hot takes on animated family movies (and sometimes other films & TV).

bwade@filmdaily.co