Weekly Review: Dark (season 1)

When children start going missing in a small German town, the investigation begins to shed light on the town’s dark secrets that span across different families and different generations.

Dark is a Netflix original series, the first Netflix original series of German origin. It’s a tale of science fiction with a very talented cast. The production style is dark and mysterious. It’s a very heavy show. I think it’s both difficult to watch while also being difficult to stop watching. I found it very compelling.

The trailer for this show was extremely captivating. It had a mixture of bright colors and spooky imagery that immediately caught my attention. I didn’t have much idea what the show was about, but I figured I’d give it a try.

At first glance, I definitely saw a lot of similarities with the first season of Stranger Things. This first season of Dark follows the disappearance of a young boy. He seems to vanish off the face of the Earth. His family, friends, and the rest of the small town have to deal with this disappearance, and it opens up some old wounds and reveals some dark secrets.

Screen Shot 2018-03-28 at 12.17.10 AM

The similarities are there, especially if you take it at face value. Once the overall plot of Dark gets moving though, the similarities end. Where Stranger Things features a parallel universe, Dark focuses more on the possibilities and conundrums of time travel. I found it incredibly interesting.

I will fully admit that, while watching the show, I had to take a long break after episode 5. The season consists of 10 episodes, and after the reveal at that halfway point, I wasn’t sure how the season was going to continue. Where would they go from that point? I had absolutely no idea.

After a few days off, I decided to jump back in and finish the season. I’m very glad that I did. If you feel, while watching Dark, that it jumps the shark and leaves itself nowhere to go, don’t give up. When I continued the show, I found that it really picked up after that point and actually got even more compelling.

The theme of time travel can be very difficult to understand at times. If you’re not into that aspect of science fiction, then this series probably won’t be your cup of tea. The fact that it is a foreign show might be another deterrent for viewers from the United States. I’m not a fan of dubbing, so I watched the series with English subtitles. I won’t deny that this made viewing the show more of a heavy chore, especially with the subject matter.

There are options available to watch the series with an English dub, and I saw many different subtitle options as well. If the plot of this series interests you, I would definitely recommend giving it a shot. I’m always a fan of seeing different perspectives from film and television in countries other than my own, and this is no exception.

I briefly mentioned this above, but I really loved the cinematography in this series as well. As the title would suggest, it’s very dark. A lot of the shots and the use of lighting is very cinematic. I thought a lot of it was beautiful. It really accents the overall subject matter of the show. Costume and set design is really well done as well. I found the whole show very nice to look at.

Normally, I would have addressed the actors and actresses in the series very early on in this review, but it is a large ensemble cast, and I unfortunately didn’t recognize any of the players. There aren’t too many characters, but in many cases, the same character will be played by multiple actors to display the character at different points in their life. While I didn’t recognize any faces, I will absolutely say that every person involved in the cast of this show is very talented. I was fully immersed in their performances.

At this point, I’m unsure if a second season of Dark will be ordered by Netflix. I’m hoping that it will be. The season ends in a way that would allow for the story to go in a whole new direction, many directions in fact. I would be interested to see if the show would keep up the momentum that it ended the first season with.

If you’re up for the task of taking on this series, I would definitely recommend it. I had a good time with it. I’ve been talking about it to whoever will listen, so that has to be good, right?

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