What I am Watching: The OA and Star Trek: Voyager (the first half of season two)

The OA – Highly Recommend

Ever since LOST ended I had been searching for a television show to take me a on a head-trip. But not just a head-trip built on twist, turns, and plot surprises (there is plenty of that in most any decent television today) but a head-trip that would give me pause and really thing about what I was watching on an emotional level. The OA accomplished that mission for most of its eight-episode run. And though it didn’t reach the lofty levels of LOST or even the early seasons The X Files, it certainly stayed true to its double mission of crafting a windy tale while trying to maintain a deeper emotional root of how these events affect the characters we follow.

The story seems complex at first, but it is pretty straight forward. A blind girl goes missing for seven years and then returns with the ability to see. She gathers a group of five people from her neighborhood to tell her story, and her story is quite a wild one. That’s all I want to say without giving too much away. If one is as open as the five people to at least listen to her tale, they may go for a fantastic voyage in this world and beyond, if not, it may all come off as rather silly. It’s a big gamble, but television that takes big risks (especially when it comes to science-fiction or fantasy) is set up for the “love it” or “hate it” reactions.

Although I am still searching for the David Lynch level brain twister (maybe the new Twin Peaks will do the trick), I congratulate the show runners for putting something out there that they believed in and followed through with all the way. Even the end of the season, which I am sure will turn some off, made sense inside the universe that they built. It leaves more questions to be answered and the possibility for a second season of varied proportions. The OA was good television in the best sense possible, it didn’t reach outside itself to trick the audience into believing they were watching something bigger than it was – it kept to the script and delivered on its themes of love, hope and will.

Star Trek: Voyager Season Two – Trekking into boredom.

Star Trek: Voyager season two has, so far, been a chore to watch. I flew through the first season pretty quickly. The pilot episode, The Caretaker, was probably my favorite pilots produced out of all the Trek series. But Voyager is missing something very important – friction. We have a mixed crew of Starfleet and Maquis (rebel force material) who go from enemies to best friends with the roll of a credit. This leaves the series simply floating out on the other side of the universe like an extension of Star Trek: TNG episodes, but with a less interesting cast.

Another issues is that while I did enjoy the first season, despite its character flaws, the second season has only offered more of the same type of adventure of the week story. This is hard to take after having watched DS9 and it’s continuous season long arcs. Perhaps I was spoiled, but it doesn’t take away how frustrating it is to watch on Voyage. It has taken a while and I am halfway through season two, but I wonder how long it will take before anything worth clicking on more than just one extra episode per viewing will happen.

Voyager probably has the best premise of any of the Trek series, but so far it has demonstrated that it also has the most lost potential.

Phil Ray

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4 Responses to What I am Watching: The OA and Star Trek: Voyager (the first half of season two)

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