'Dark': A Season 1 Review
The main story is set in the quiet fictional town of Winden, Germany in the year 2019, although several storylines cross over into 1986 and 1953. Winden has a curious history of children disappearing without a trace. Charlotte Doppler, a town police officer, remembers that a very similar incident happened during her childhood and notices a pattern of these disappearances, they seem to happen every thirty-three years. We learn throughout the story that the pattern of thirty-three is based on the lunar-solar cycle; every thirty-three years the cycle of the moon is synchronized with that of the sun.
After the disappearance of twelve-year-old Mikkel Nielsen during a freak electrical storm, Jonas Kahnwald; a teenage boy who was the last person to see Mikkel before he disappeared, and Ulrich Nielsen, Mikkel's father, search for answers.
Ulrich believes Mikkel's disappearance is somehow connected to the nearby nuclear power plant or someone associated with the power plant, and that there must be an underground passage that connects the Winden caves to the power plant inside its secure walls. As each of them independently explores the nearby caves of Winden for answers, their journeys lead them on very different paths, to very different times, slowly uncovering the mystery behind the children's disappearances and mystery surrounding Winden. While Jonas makes discoveries that make him question his own existence, Ulrich takes drastic measures to change the future by manipulating the past.
As the story unfolds, and we see glimpses of the past, we quickly learn of the town's dirty secrets of murder, infidelity, lies, and betrayal.
Main Cast / Characters
Daan Lennard Liebrenz
Behind the Scenes
Baran bo Odar
Created by / Executive Producer
Created by / Executive Producer
- Jonas Kahnwald. A teenage boy who is struggling with not only the loss of his father the prior year but is also faced with the guilt that he was the last one to see Mikkel before he disappeared.
- Mikkel Nielsen. A young boy who vanishes in the year 2019 during an electrical storm, only to find himself wandering his hometown, battered and confused in the year 1986. He's trapped in a world that is familiar yet all too different. His family, the family he knows, is gone so he continues to live out his life in this new world and time.
- Bernd to Claudia, "What we know is a drop - what we don't know is an ocean."
- While a teenage boy is being strapped to a chair, much like an electric chair, we get glimpses of an old tube-style television. The program playing on the TV is talking about the scientific theories regarding space and time, and it shows us how it correlates to the series plot: "...hypothetically, because of this massive gravitational influx that occurs within a black hole, it appears quite possible that it can actually distort both space and time. So the question is, once we cross the event horizon, will we be able to travel through a black hole to see what lies in the beyond? And if we were to do this, what price would we pay? How far would scientists go?"
- Noah to Helge, "Your pain defines who you are, but it no longer holds power over you."
I love the scientific theories of time and space behind the entire time travel concept. I love how we see how little things can change, even when they are forcibly altered.
There were moments of realization during the show that made me audibly say, "Oh!" and I love that. This show will make you think. It's not one that you can turn on and just casually listen to in the background, scattered visual clues throughout each episode are vital to the story. I found that trying to piece together the past and present was fun for me and trying to forward think and see if my guesses were right or not made this series a thrill to watch.
- In episode 10 when Helge from 2019 confronts his 1986 self, he hugs him and talks into his deaf ear. The whole thing just seems off, knowing perfectly well that he can't hear on that side, why would he choose to talk into that ear?
- I am an English speaking person and this is a German made show, so I had a choice; either I watch the entire season reading the English subtitles and miss out on many of the visual cues and clues while I read, or I watch with English dubbed audio, I chose spoken English. Any time you have a film or TV show that is dubbed over in different languages, it's going to feel a little off. This show is no exception. It's not because the spoken words don't line up with the movements of the mouth, that's a given, and I'm perfectly fine with that aspect. However, I found many of the English voice actors to be very bland and monotone throughout the season. All too often the tone of voice didn't match the character's facial expression, body language, or events happening within the scene. On several occasions, I did turn on the closed captions and found that like most foreign films, the spoken dialog and the written captions only loosely matched each other, and in one instance the dubbed audio says "...'53? '56?" but the caption read ".. '53? '54?" So, it may be in your best interest to choose one or the other.
Confusion. There are so many characters in this show, it's tough to get a grasp on who belongs to what family in the beginning; throw in some time travel and the number of faces to remember quickly multiplies. All too often I would forget what face went with which current day character. I even went so far as to create a character map to help me keep track.
Would I Recommend?
If you're someone who knows German, this show is great! If you're someone who doesn't mind reading subtitles or watching with dubbed audio, this show is great! If you like time travel, mystery, murder, adultery, and scandal, I highly recommend this series. If you have serious issues with any of these elements, maybe you should stick to the American made Stranger Things.
How would I rate 'Dark' on my scale of Buy/Theater/Rent/Netflix? If this were available on Blu-Ray, I would definitely add it to my collection. I'm excited to see what season 2 has to offer!
Season 1 Character Map
- 'Dark' Season 1 Character Map
A map of the season one characters over three different timelines.
My Other Reviews
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© 2019 Veronica