science fiction

[Netflix Review] Dark Season 1 (2017) ★★★★☆

jonas kahnwald at the caves of Winden

Dark lives up to its name in this dark mysterious science fiction drama.


Dark is a German science fiction drama series. It’s about a family saga which concerns four different families and time travel. It has mystery, kidnapped children, strange experiments, a sinister plan, mysterious persons, all underneath a seemingly normal life in a town called Winden. It’s intriguing, sometimes a bit slow, but never dull, due to the intrigues, affairs and forbidden loves. 

This season consists of 10 episodes with a duration of 45-57 minutes. It’s strongly recommended to watch this series in the original German audio and with subtitles in your own language if possible. Don’t let the science fiction part or the time travel scare you off, the drama elements get full attention and it’s well executed. 


Plot

When Michael, Jonas’s father commits suicide, it sets into motion a complex web of mysteries surrounding the little town of Winden. Jonas is determined to find out why his father committed suicide, what the caves of Winden have to do with it, and if the disappearance of Mikkel has anything to do with it. When a body of another young boy is found in the woods, a mysterious Stranger comes to town and a priest with dubious motivations and a nuclear power plant with hidden toxic waste, the mystery thickens. 


Why you should watch it

It’s both a drama about four different families whose lives are more intertwined than they ever could have suspected and a science fiction series with time travel. It has a dark sombre bleak tone, represented and reinforced by the dark cinematography. In a town where the sun seemingly never shines, rain is never far away and the people are as moody as the weather. The cinematography reflects the tone, but the tone reflects the underlying plot. Everything is intertwined which is more complicated than you can image. No wonder why everyone wants to leave Winden, but strangely aren’t able to. 

It mixes drama, complicated relationships, on an emotional and physical literal level, crime, mystery and time travel. What’s not to love. They don’t try to invent the wheel, time travel wise, but make it their own, giving it an original spin. As time travel tends to be, it’s full of paradoxes, complicated timelines and it can be a little confusing.

If you’re in need of an explanation of what happened this season, you can read it here.

Sometimes the acting and script can be a little theatrical, and leans towards prosaic lines. But there’s symbolism as well, strange happenings and the great mystery that needs to be solved. But in the heart of it all, Jonas seems to be the key. While everybody else is clad in dark colored clothing he’s the only one who stands out wearing a yellow raincoat. 

The setting of Winden, the woods, the creepy caves and the sinister whispering winds, the nuclear power plant and the boring town, form a complex unity.

But the best part of the show are the different times, set in 2019, 1986 and 1953 it gives an extra dimension to the story. It’s like finding out who your parents really were as teenagers. It brings different perspectives which give the viewer the opportunity to really get to know the characters, their history, their background and motivations, but when some characters in the series also discover this, it’s like a whole new world is opened up. 


My favorite part

I don’t have particularly a favorite scene, or character, but that’s a good thing. This show succeeded to really intertwine every element with each other. Every character, every time period, every event, all is connected and this is palpable in the series. This series is therefore not one where you can skip a part. You have to pay attention, maybe watch it a second time, to grasp everything that happened. I really like the complexity, the science fiction paradoxes but it’s grounded by the realistic characters. It’s very well balanced out, and leaves you craving for more. 


Ratings

Rating: ★★★★☆

Drama factor: ★★★★☆


Read more about Dark:


Cast and crew

Dark is created by Baron bo Odar and Jantje Friese. It stars Louis Hofmann (Jonas Kahnwald), Mark Waschke (Noah), Daan Lennard Liebrenz (Mikkel Nielsen), Karoline Eichhorn (Charlotte Doppler), Jördis Triebel (Katharina Nielsen), Maja Schöne (Hannah Kahnwald), Stephan Kampwirth (Peter Doppler), Oliver Masucci (Ulrich Nielsen), Andreas Pietschmann (The Stranger), Moritz Jahn (Magnus Nielsen), Peter Benedict (Aleksander Tiedemann), Deborah Kaufmann (Regina Tiedemann), Lisa Vicari (Martha Nielsen), Paul Lux (Bartosz Tiedemann) and Gina Stiebitz (Franziska Doppler).

Music: Ben Frost. Cinematography: Nikolaus Summerer. Production companies: Netflix, W&B Television. Original network: Netflix. 


Check the trailer below

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