Thriller | TV-MA | 2017 | Season 1 ・ NETFLIX
Netflix has just made its first big play at producing original German programming with the much anticipated release of Dark, an intense thriller/mystery series that many have been calling Germany’s version of Stranger Things leading up to the release.
All ten episodes were released around the world on December 1, and after binging through them in one day, I can solidly say that this show will take you on one wild and unforgettable ride.
Dark centers around the citizens in the small wood surrounded German town of Winden in the year 2019 and the sudden disappearance of several children. The mystery around the missing children unearths a plethora of fractured relationships and mysteries that shake up the town… mysteries that only time travel can explain.
The hunt for the missing boys, and the person or group behind the disappearances, unravels connections to events from 33 years ago (1986) — events that are not just a coincidence — and you soon discover that the 33 years is repeated further into 1953. The question of the missing boys whereabouts isn’t a matter of where… but when, and only those who dig deep enough will become aware of the mind bending truths that connect three generations of the Winden community.
Germany has only recently found moderate success in gaining world recognition, or even an audience, for its film and tv contributions, and while Deutschalnd 83 did its part to break some pretty big barriers in 2015, Dark has the potential to take things to a whole new level and put German filmmaking on the map.
Netflix’s modest marketing leading up to the release of Dark did a lot to set some pretty high expectations, and I can thankfully say that the show really delivered on it. Dark lives up to its title. It is a very dark story but not in a way that will make you jump out of your seat or keep you up at night. Some may find the first few episodes to be a bit slow, but it is needed to setup the large number of characters and storylines that will all connect in later episodes. Even with the slower start, Dark doesn’t fail to deliver an edge of your seat ride.
If you’re looking for a show that doesn’t require a ton of brain power or something to just have playing the background while you do chores, Dark may not be the best choice, but if you are looking for a show that will challenge your thinking and perception of time… Dark is an absolute must watch.
So the big question is… is this the German Stranger Things? There are some easy connections between the two shows, such as a small town with a missing kid who is trapped in another dimension, a high security facility that might just be the source of the mystery, flickering lights and the backdrop of the 80’s, but Dark is so much more complex than Stranger Things and easily stands on its own. If there’s any connection to be made, I would call reference to the film Donnie Darko, which is a genuine compliment.
For a show that deals with time travel and multiple dimensions, the creators did an outstanding job making sure that very few stones were left unturned and most questions were eventually answered in a satisfying way. I also have to give credit to the show dealing with Germany’s past in a way that never had to touch on the impacts of World War II or the divide between the East and West to set the scene.
There is really so much more I could say and want to say about the events that unfold in Dark, but doing so would come with major spoilers. What I can say is this may have just become my favorite Netflix original, and while Dark could’ve easily wrapped up the first season with no need for a second, the cliffhanging end makes me hope Netflix picks this up for a Season 2.
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