Dark: the German Netflix series that's like an amalgamation of Twin Peaks, Back to the Future, and X-Files (SPOILERS!)

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Just finished watching the first season of this, and there doesn't seem to a be much talk about it here, so I decided to start one.

I thought this was pretty enjoyable, especially when it comes to the visual atmosphere and the general creepiness of it. Also, the kid actors were all pretty good, and it's uncanny how they managed to find teen actors for the 1980s scenes who look so much like their adult versions in the 2019. I did mostly like the labyrinthine plot too, but at points it seemed they just wanted to keep things mysterious just for the sake of being mysterious, some secrets were teased way too long before they were finally revealed. For example, the identity of the strange bearded dude felt like such an obvious thing, yet they kept it a mystery until the season finale, so I thought they must have some other reveal in store instead of the most obvious one, but no. This kind of slow teasing got boring after a while.

I guess the biggest problem with the season was how everything was so relentlessly dour and foreboding with few lighter moments. This was amplified by the score which made everything seem Deep and Dramatic. This kind of monotonous atmosphere might work for one season but no longer; even Twin Peaks and X-Files had some humour and levity to balance the darkness. And it's hard to relate to characters who mostly just seem to wonder through the darkness with little agency (though of course the question of agency is one of the big themes in the series). So the next season should come with some balance, unless they want viewers to suffocate... I'm kinda hoping that the final scenes of the season finale point towards time travel shenanigans that aren't related to murder mysteries and dark secrets. It's kinda funny that a Mad Max style post-apocalyptic future felt less grim than most of the scenes set in the present day and past.

Tuomas, Monday, 1 October 2018 12:47 (one year ago) link

someone asked me recently if I watched this, and I thought the meant that awful Will Smith pos 'Bright' and I was insulted for a second

officer sonny bonds, lytton pd (mayor jingleberries), Monday, 1 October 2018 16:24 (one year ago) link

That was a Netflix production too too, right? I guess they cater to every taste.

Tuomas, Monday, 1 October 2018 18:42 (one year ago) link

This was about as good as can be expected - gripping, looked great, a compelling central mystery (kind of hard to keep track of the large cast over three different eras/sets of actors though). The trouble with supernatural mysteries like this is that the resolution is usually disappointing - this includes when it's mostly deferred till a second series, as in this case, although I suppose there's hope. See also The Returned/Les Revenants.

Winner of the 2018 Great British Bae *cough* (ledge), Monday, 1 October 2018 20:05 (one year ago) link

Yeah, I agree with you on supernatural mysteries, though the resolutions at the end of the first season here were handled pretty well, I thought. For most part we did learn *what* was going, but a new layer of conspiracies was hinted to explain *why* all of it was happening. So the finale was satisfying enough not to make you go, "that's all?!", but not conclusive enough to make you feel like there's no need to come back for the next season.

I dunno, maybe something like this shouldn't last for more than one season, but like I said, if they manage to tone down the dourness and make the characters a bit more relatable, and also find some interesting angles to the whole time-traveller conspiracy thing, a second season should be enjoyable. Those are big ifs, of course.

Tuomas, Monday, 1 October 2018 21:00 (one year ago) link

the Cristina Martinez episode of Chef's table was sweet af!

FRE SHA VAC ADO (jed_), Tuesday, 2 October 2018 02:02 (one year ago) link

can something be bittersweet af?

FRE SHA VAC ADO (jed_), Tuesday, 2 October 2018 02:03 (one year ago) link

oh sorry, wrong thread.

FRE SHA VAC ADO (jed_), Tuesday, 2 October 2018 02:05 (one year ago) link

Haha.

Tuomas, Tuesday, 2 October 2018 08:35 (one year ago) link

two months pass...

(kind of hard to keep track of the large cast over three different eras/sets of actors though).

Yeah. Had just about got to grips with it and then they added the 1953 timeline.

Really enjoyed it though even if, as mentioned, the Jonas reveal was blindingly obvious early on. Some great musical choices too.

As an aside, the second Netflix all German production Dogs of Berlin is out today.

groovypanda, Friday, 7 December 2018 09:01 (one year ago) link

seven months pass...

Four episodes in to season 2 and I'm loving it, nervous about how it's going to wrap up though. It's a lot easier to follow than the first one, I think because the focus is less on the multi-generational dysfunctional family soap opera and more on the time travel nonsense. I do read an episode recap right after watching though.

SPOILERS and SPECULATION

Adam's big reveal at the end of episode 4... maybe it's a bluff, a ruse, a lie, a yarn? He says constant travelling takes its toll but neither Claudia or Noah seem to be affected like that.

The Pingularity (ledge), Thursday, 18 July 2019 08:17 (eleven months ago) link

It's been renewed for a third and final season so won't be wrapping up just yet.

groovypanda, Thursday, 18 July 2019 11:11 (eleven months ago) link

hooray! boo! (to cliffhangers and two year long waits)

The Pingularity (ledge), Thursday, 18 July 2019 11:18 (eleven months ago) link

I thought Adam was the watch/timemachine maker man intially, the voice sounded similar. I found this one harder to follow tbh.

Bloody good stuff though.

lilcraigyboi (Craigo Boingo), Thursday, 18 July 2019 12:37 (eleven months ago) link

Casting on this show is insane, they are uncannily spot-on with actors who look like each other. I could not believe that

*SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS*

the actor who played the oldest Ulrich was not just the middle-aged Ulrich in makeup. S2 was not as intriguing as S1, and a lot of it was hitting moments we knew were coming, but the continuity of the timeline is impressive. they must have had it mapped out from the get-go. and the very final minutes seem like it'll set up a very cool S3

Vinnie, Thursday, 18 July 2019 14:52 (eleven months ago) link

the actor who played the oldest Ulrich was not just the middle-aged Ulrich in makeup

https://i.imgflip.com/340fnl.jpg

groovypanda, Friday, 19 July 2019 09:37 (eleven months ago) link

I was going to post that if I were a time traveller trying to prevent the apocalypse I wouldn't spend most of my time going back to the past just to make cryptic pronouncements to old friends and family. Then I saw s2e6 and decided that snark is redundant, this show is incredible!

The Pingularity (ledge), Saturday, 20 July 2019 08:01 (eleven months ago) link

The last line of the last episode had me spontaneously doing jazz hands to an audience of none. Don't know if it was the best decision (the plot idea, not the jazz hands), just have to wait and see ;_;

The Pingularity (ledge), Monday, 22 July 2019 07:48 (eleven months ago) link

Some of the revelations I saw coming, but that's good, because it makes me feel like the show is not just being clever-clever for the sake of it. We do spend a lot of time saying, "these German sitcoms are terrible" while watching it.
The relentless rain and the dourness just become really funny after a while.
I massively appreciate the little montage sequences where the show reminds you who's related to whom, and how the characters have changed over the course of their lives.
I'm still not 100% clear on the reason behind the dead children, and I honestly think the show would be better if it had found some other way to grab our attention initially. But I love it and am totally hooked and will 100% be doing a full rewatch before season three starts.

trishyb, Thursday, 1 August 2019 17:12 (eleven months ago) link

one month passes...

well, just finished season 2.
was rather good i thought.
the sheer scale of interconnections re the various time periods and various families must have taken a lot of very detailed planning.
my head is still spinning from trying to keep up with the excess of who/where/when (and, of course, why!) puzzlers.

mark e, Thursday, 19 September 2019 15:00 (nine months ago) link

It was good, but still a bit too portentous and dour for my taste. Apparently the third season will be the last one, which seems good, you can't really stretch a story like this too much. Though maybe the final twist in the season 2 finale means that the next season will have some proper sci-fi shenanigans. I was expecting them to already happen this season, but for the most part the tone was the same as in the first season.

I'm recently watching the French Netflix series Black Spot, which has kind of a similar setup, a smallish European town surrounded by creepy woods, a missing teenager, and the town elders harbouring some old secrets. The genre is a bit different than with Dark, as it's more police procedural with some horror mixed in, but what I like about it that it adds some black comedy to its grim tone, so the grimness doesn't feel as overbearring as with Dark. Haven't finished watching the first season yet, so I dunno how the plot pays out, but I wish Dark had some lighter moments too, like this one has.

Tuomas, Tuesday, 24 September 2019 07:01 (nine months ago) link

I'm enjoying Black Spot, just seen episode 3 which was incredible. I don't think Dark missed out by not having a wisecracking police chief or whatever, though. And it was pretty funny when the daughter of the dad who'd been having an affair with the trans woman said "All your fucking secrets! You couldn't even talk to use when Dad screwed Benni! What incompetent assholes you are!"

The Pingularity (ledge), Monday, 30 September 2019 08:17 (nine months ago) link

use us

The Pingularity (ledge), Monday, 30 September 2019 08:17 (nine months ago) link

Yeah, I didn't mean Dark necessarily needed the same kind of humour as Black Spot, but at least some levity amidst all the gloom would've been appreciated.

Tuomas, Monday, 30 September 2019 08:56 (nine months ago) link

two months pass...

the gretchen gag was p good

mark s, Tuesday, 3 December 2019 21:27 (seven months ago) link

in s1 i mean

mark s, Tuesday, 3 December 2019 21:27 (seven months ago) link

the other gag is everyone in the show charging backwards and forwards through the tunnels to bring an effect about that probably wouldn't happen even if only one person was crisscrossing back and forth

mark s, Saturday, 7 December 2019 21:02 (seven months ago) link

"magnus is right, we have to tell someone"

GOOD PLAN DUDES

(my guess is they don't go through with it tho)

mark s, Saturday, 7 December 2019 21:18 (seven months ago) link

lol we just reached the "everyone is now everyone else's aunt" moment, this is the best gloomy bleak germanic show abt dumb teens

mark s, Saturday, 7 December 2019 21:39 (seven months ago) link

the adults are dumb too, in fact dumber

mark s, Saturday, 7 December 2019 21:51 (seven months ago) link

unclear why tuomas thinks this show isn't funny enough, the increasing hilarious (and insane) plot is excellent balance for the extremely dour (and dumb) characters

mark s, Saturday, 7 December 2019 22:22 (seven months ago) link

as ledge quoted: "what incompetent assholes you are!"

mark s, Saturday, 7 December 2019 22:23 (seven months ago) link

The very seriousness of it makes it hilarious, too. The tenth time a scene opens with the rain pounding everything into submission, you have to just laugh.

I assume it's meant to be funny, right? I love this show, and do not want to think that I'm laughing at it rather than with it.

trishyb, Sunday, 8 December 2019 09:46 (seven months ago) link

I've waded through two seasons of this and, despite all the frantic travelling, I feel like I've moved about six inches. I can't face a third series.

Life is a meaningless nightmare of suffering...save string (Chinaski), Sunday, 8 December 2019 11:49 (seven months ago) link

the ever-more frenzied stasis is exactly what i like about it, it's the only non-stupid time-travel drama ever attempted

mark s, Sunday, 8 December 2019 12:05 (seven months ago) link

shd have been called DESIRE PATH tho

mark s, Sunday, 8 December 2019 12:15 (seven months ago) link

five months pass...

Final season drops the end this month

groovypanda, Tuesday, 2 June 2020 10:16 (one month ago) link

\o/

neith moon (ledge), Tuesday, 2 June 2020 10:22 (one month ago) link

Yay!

Tuomas, Thursday, 4 June 2020 12:59 (one month ago) link

I'm sure it'll clear everything up and leave us with a satisfying and resolved finale.

dan selzer, Thursday, 4 June 2020 13:56 (one month ago) link

lmao thats how I walked into the last season's finale and got punched in the face instead

officer sonny bonds, lytton pd (mayor jingleberries), Thursday, 4 June 2020 17:47 (one month ago) link

two weeks pass...

I'd been wondering why this is dropping next Saturday instead of Netflix's usual Friday slot but up to S2 of my rewatch now and it's become crystal clear

groovypanda, Friday, 19 June 2020 20:34 (three weeks ago) link

Why is it, then? I don't remember S2 that well.

Tuomas, Monday, 22 June 2020 06:35 (two weeks ago) link

27 June 2020 is the date of the apocalypse

groovypanda, Monday, 22 June 2020 07:44 (two weeks ago) link

Apparently the third season will be the last one

Ah, very glad to hear this. With the season 2 finale drop I had visions of it just expanding forever into utter nonsense. I always think shows like this need a clear ending point.

emil.y, Tuesday, 23 June 2020 17:30 (two weeks ago) link

Even on a rewatch I'm still having to consult that who's who chart every 5 minutes

chonky floof (groovypanda), Tuesday, 23 June 2020 18:03 (two weeks ago) link

i read episode recaps, s1 seemed pretty straightforward. s2... shit. pondering a rewatch of key episodes.

neith moon (ledge), Tuesday, 23 June 2020 18:07 (two weeks ago) link

One of my favourite things was yelling at the TV about how people failed to recognise each other. I mean, yeah, you would never jump to the conclusion that a stranger was you from the future, but you might think there's a weird familial resemblance, right? Or how strange it is that your friends' son looks exactly like your husband did in school?

I'm secretly hoping that season three is entirely dedicated to The Mystery of Wöller's Eye.

emil.y, Tuesday, 23 June 2020 18:38 (two weeks ago) link

it's weird how they do such a good job of getting actors who look like each other across the generations, except for adam. weird, or a clue...

neith moon (ledge), Tuesday, 23 June 2020 20:10 (two weeks ago) link

wow i totally do not remember elizabeth being her own mum's mum.

neith moon (ledge), Friday, 26 June 2020 20:46 (two weeks ago) link

Watched the S2 finale last night and that one caught me by surprise too

chonky floof (groovypanda), Friday, 26 June 2020 21:21 (two weeks ago) link

ok I'm putting my wildly implausible fan theory out here just in case it turns out to be heroically correct: adam is lying, he isn't jonas. he's bartosz.

neith moon (ledge), Saturday, 27 June 2020 07:10 (two weeks ago) link

Please tell me they have an extensive recap available at the top of season three?

trishyb, Saturday, 27 June 2020 08:00 (two weeks ago) link

the episode summaries at https://dark-netflix.fandom.com/wiki/Dark_Wiki are pretty good.

neith moon (ledge), Saturday, 27 June 2020 08:10 (two weeks ago) link

Ledge, I don't think that's wildly implausible at all - it has definitely occurred to me a few times. For one thing, Bartosz is the only one we haven't seen as an older version, despite being rescued along with Magnus and Franziska. My question would be why would Magnus and Franziska follow Bartosz in Sic Mundus, when they don't trust him? How would he fool them? (Aside from the trick of everybody in the show not being able to recognise anyone else if they're a different age.)

emil.y, Saturday, 27 June 2020 08:16 (two weeks ago) link

he'd also have to get a great deal wiser as he gets older as he's not the sharpest tool in the box right now.

but we see adam "seeing"/remembering martha and bartosz is the only other guy with a close connection to her, except for magnus and ulrich who are already accounted for.

neith moon (ledge), Saturday, 27 June 2020 08:33 (two weeks ago) link

Is Adam really that wise, or do people just think he is?

Adam being Bartosz would also track with his pronouncement about "some pain you never get over" or whatever it was he said, but referring to Jonas getting it on with Martha rather than anything else.

As I say, it's definitely crossed my mind more than once, but I'm withholding judgement as of yet. There are many convincing arguments for it actually being Jonas after all. We've also got a whole new batshit thing to bounce around in with the introduction of parallel worlds now, so who knows where the writers are going with this?

emil.y, Saturday, 27 June 2020 08:38 (two weeks ago) link

Parallel worlds are the only way out of it I think, otherwise the whole narrative comes falling down. I wonder if that's been the intention since the start.

Matt DC, Saturday, 27 June 2020 11:08 (two weeks ago) link

Please tell me they have an extensive recap available at the top of season three?

They don't but YouTube does:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VnczoVbNsH4

chonky floof (groovypanda), Saturday, 27 June 2020 20:02 (two weeks ago) link

Oh, very good. Thanks.

trishyb, Saturday, 27 June 2020 21:01 (two weeks ago) link

who says this show has no sense of humour? torben's two eyes one arm reveal was a lol for sure.

neith moon (ledge), Sunday, 28 June 2020 20:59 (two weeks ago) link

Only a couple of episodes in so far but the unknown trio (or whatever they're called) feel very Twin Peaks/Lynchian

chonky floof (groovypanda), Monday, 29 June 2020 08:15 (one week ago) link

oh man i somehow forgot all the episodes are released at once. i was sort of looking forward to eking this out week by week.

some nice symmetries between s3e1 and s1e1 - s1 ulrich climbs out of hannah's bedroom window, s3 franziska climbs of out magnus's (the same room). ulrich uses the same excuse about the queue at the bakers to katharina (s1) and hannah (s3). franziska gives a talk about black holes in s1, bartosz in s3.

it looks like everything is left-right reversed in the other world - jonas's (old) house, the school, the church - but not the nielsen's (old) house?

neith moon (ledge), Monday, 29 June 2020 09:22 (one week ago) link

Yeah, I'm not a fan of bingeing shows but will probably try and watch this as quickly as possible because spoilers

chonky floof (groovypanda), Monday, 29 June 2020 09:34 (one week ago) link

Trying to keep this mostly spoiler-free

I got quite lost this season and should have watched a more extensive recap (the two minute recap NF provided was less than useless), but switching between worlds AND time periods was tough to follow, even with the visual cue. I often had to pause and think about what had last happened. My other problem was most things felt insignificant compared to Jonas and Martha's stories, but some of the gaps were interesting to see filled in. Still, nice finish to the show. I don't know if the story is 100% consistent (I'll leave that to people smarter than I) but I'm still a bit in awe that real people plotted this story out

Vinnie, Wednesday, 1 July 2020 15:26 (one week ago) link

Rewatching the first two seasons was a massive help for me and meant I could also appreciate all the (plenty of) callbacks this season.

There were obviously a few plot holes but generally it was tightly plotted and I can't wait to see the new character maps people come up with for this season

chonky floof (groovypanda), Wednesday, 1 July 2020 21:45 (one week ago) link

just finished season 2 this week after stalling out after episode 2 of it last year and am now p stoked for season 3.

don't know if it's just me but S2 really laid bare just how irredeemably awful hannah is.

oscar bravo, Friday, 3 July 2020 19:00 (one week ago) link

Well, that final song choice was a stinker, and I say that as someone who has very much enjoyed the 'sad song / slow montage' element of each episode.

I'm glad it managed to stay enjoyable all the way through, definitely not a perfect piece of TV but good. They fucking played me with Wöller's eye, though.

My other problem was most things felt insignificant compared to Jonas and Martha's stories

I got frustrated quite a few times over the series that it was so focused on these two as the central issue, when other people were equally caught up in/responsible for/messed up by the knot. I think in the end the show managed to address that, though? They're important, but their duality is not ultimately the most meaningful thing.

emil.y, Monday, 6 July 2020 15:24 (six days ago) link

Was that the Peter Gabriel tune? I'd not heard it before and thought it was much better than the original.

chonky floof (groovypanda), Monday, 6 July 2020 18:37 (six days ago) link

I guess spoilers for music here, so look away if you're bothered by that - it was the 'What a Wonderful World' choice. So corny.

emil.y, Monday, 6 July 2020 19:44 (six days ago) link

Oh yeah, that was bad

Vinnie, Tuesday, 7 July 2020 00:29 (five days ago) link

We are four episodes into season three and I am not feeling this anymore at all. Too much Jonas and Martha, too much standing around and spouting cod-meaningful platitudes about time.

I also should've watched a better recap. I could maybe even use a previously-on-Dark recap before each episode. Sometimes it takes me a while scene to remember who everyone in a scene is and how they got there.

Maybe I'm just tired. Maybe these German sitcoms are just not what I want in these times.

trishyb, Tuesday, 7 July 2020 07:30 (five days ago) link

Takes me a whole scene, not a while scene.

trishyb, Tuesday, 7 July 2020 07:31 (five days ago) link

I'm six episodes in and I'm on tenterhooks for what happens next but I agree there's too much time travel bullshit in this one, it was better when it was equal parts unhappy family trauma and time travel bullshit. Too much double crossing as well. He lied to you! No she lied to you when she said he lied to you! etc etc.

neith moon (ledge), Tuesday, 7 July 2020 07:36 (five days ago) link

I think it gets better in the second half as the final pieces get filled in. Episode 7 in particular was one of my favorites of the series

Vinnie, Tuesday, 7 July 2020 08:47 (five days ago) link

That is good to hear.

trishyb, Tuesday, 7 July 2020 10:37 (five days ago) link

4 episodes in and i p much agree with trishyb. i do find the scarlip3 genuinely terrifying tho, especially the littlest one.

oscar bravo, Tuesday, 7 July 2020 20:59 (five days ago) link

7 is indeed something of a tour de force.

neith moon (ledge), Wednesday, 8 July 2020 09:13 (four days ago) link

I finished watching it. Sure, the ending was satisfying, but I thought the whole third season was a snooze.

Also, I wish edgy programmes would stop signalling their edginess by showing people hanging themselves. It is extremely upsetting to watch.

trishyb, Thursday, 9 July 2020 22:20 (three days ago) link

That third season wasn't a snore. it was a freegin' chore. Talk about sucking all the momentum out of a story through terrible pacing. So disappointing.

SQUIRREL MEAT!! (Capitaine Jay Vee), Friday, 10 July 2020 00:39 (two days ago) link

After finishing it last night I dreamt about being in a bunker and hiding from some evil germans.

I give it two thumbs up, yes it went a bit up its own bum in the third season but there was enough sturm und drang to keep me invested and the ending was immensely satisfying.

neith moon (ledge), Friday, 10 July 2020 07:49 (two days ago) link


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