But still, the company made the decision to ax the show after just 16 episodes and two-season run. The Brit Marling and Zal Batmanglij co-created show was one of the weirdest and trippiest shows on Netflix and television in general, and the cancelation was a major disappointment for fans all over the world. So, the question remains, why the show was axed after just two seasons run.
The next paragraph contains significant spoilers for the first and second season of The OA, so skip ahead if you are not familiar with the story.
The OA followed 'Prairie' played by Brit herself, who was later revealed as “The Original Angel,” who survived near-death experiences and returned to the town where she disappeared from. The revelations in season two showed Prairie was not only telling the truth, but she was also a multiverse traveler. The problem with the cancelation was, season two finale ended with a cliffhanger. The finale saw Prairie travel to a reality which mirrors our own where there were actors working on a TV show called The OA. The cancelation robbed us of a pretty meta third season.
Watch: The season 2 finale of The OA
The reason for the cancelation is simple if you ask the CEO of Netflix Reed Hastings. In an interview with Variety, Reed said, “We can have small shows that do very well; we can have expensive shows that do very well. The only case where we end up canceling is where it’s pretty expensive and not so much viewing.”
The cancelation is following a trend where Netflix axed shows like the recently acquired Designated Survivor. ‘Tuca and Bertie’ was also cut, along with 'She’s Gotta Have It' and 'Chambers' who all saw the end of the barrel in a recent couple of days.
Netflix is facing increasingly serious competition after it became apparent people are just subscribing to the streaming site just so they can watch the flagship programs like Orange is the New Black and Stranger Things and quickly unsubscribing as soon as they are done with the show. When Netflix was the one streaming site with most of all the original content, it was a must-have subscription, but the new glut of streaming platforms is making it increasingly difficult for Netflix to keep subscribers.
Netflix used to provide a “sleeper” series and movies as recommendations after people watched a popular show. This allowed the smaller shows to develop a fan base who would’ve struggled to get more eyeballs on them. But now with people just joining to watch the tentpole series and then leaving, makes it harder for Netflix to provide lesser-known content to the subscribers. The OA isn’t exactly a flagship show, it is followed by a large fanbase but not something akin to Stranger Things where just the fanbase can make the show a success.
It is understandable the show being axed for the reason of competition but there is also an underlying problem with the cancelation of the show. It was the eight-show Netflix canceled in its infancy, created by women writers and creators, make of it what you will, but Netflix was accused of fostering a bro-culture in the office so you can see where people can take issue with the cancelation of a beloved show.
If fans are looking to petition some other company to pick up the show, so the creators can finish the five-season arc they set out to make in the first place, well, bad news for you. The original content created by Netflix cannot be made somewhere else for at least two years after the show is canceled by the company. The contract signed by all the creators with the streaming giant clearly states they are not allowed to shop their show around for two years from the date of the cancelation.
So, people looking for the resolution of the cliffhanger will either people need to wait two years in the hope some other company picks up the show, or they will need to wait for an epilogue by the creators to get some closure. As of this moment, The OA is gone, and it is not returning for a third season.