Gripping twists

A few episodes in to Netflix's The OA, I tapped my Fitbit to make sure my accelerating heart rate wasn't registering as exercise. You can check your own pulse starting Friday, when the streaming service releases all eight installments of the drama, whose premiere it announced only a few days before.

Shrouding The OA launch in mystery is a publicity choice, and only Netflix will know if it pays off.

But the surprises in The OA are worth preserving.

Created by Brit Marling (Babylon, Another Earth) and Zal Batmanglij (Sound of My Voice), The OA stars Marling as Prairie Johnson, a blind young woman who vanished one day, only to return to her home seven years later with her sight restored and a mission she doesn't want to discuss.

Mysterious comebacks have become a TV genre in themselves, yet I haven't seen anything quite like The OA, whose twists were gripping enough to keep me going even in some moments when I'd otherwise have been rolling my eyes.

It doesn't hurt that Marling's costars include Jason Isaacs (Awake), Alice Krige (Tyrant, Chariots of Fire), Riz Ahmed (The Night Of), Emory Cohen (Brooklyn), Phyllis Smith (The Office), and Scott Wilson (The Walking Dead).

If you want to know what they're doing there - and what the title means - you'll have to see for yourself. - Ellen Gray
Where to stream it: Netflix.

Like this? Binge these: Stranger Things (Netflix) and Awake (Netflix).