Netflix’s first German TV series is a hypnotizing tale of time travel drawing comparisons to Twin Peaks and Stranger Things. It’s neither. Dark stands on its own and is binge-worthy.
Winden is the small town everyone is eager to leave but ultimately pre-ordained to remain. The 10-episode Season 1 tracks four families spanning three generations interconnected by the disappearance of 2 boys. Shot entirely in German, the US version is dubbed in English. The dubbing is not distracting—unless you prefer to lip-read.
The large ensemble cast may be hard to follow. The New York Times boasted the series was “constructed with the aid of spreadsheets.” And you may need to plot out the characters as some appear in three separate time periods: 1953, 1986, and 2019. Personally, I watched the first episode three times to get a firm grasp of the characters.
According to several reviews, the top billed star is Oliver Masucci playing Police Officer Ulrich Nielson in 2019. However, the central character is Jonas Kahnwald, played by Louis Hofmann, a teenager haunted by his father’s suicide. His journey and isolation drives the plot.
Time travel is the essence of the series. Co-created by Baran bo Odar and Jantje Friese, the series contemplates how the future affects the past. Yes, you read that correctly. It’s not the past driving the future but the future driving the past. The question to be answered is not when but where. Mr. Odar and Ms. Friese deliver a dark (hence the title) atmospheric mystery. IMDb.com classifies the series as a crime drama. I disagree. It’s a science fiction mystery.
The series is more than the initial question. The answer comes mid-season. The writers set up Season 2 unlike Stranger Things, which dropped a continuation teaser at the very end. Don’t let the language barrier hold you back from viewing. Netflix wisely entered the international marketplace. Stick with the show. You, too, will be left pondering time travel and the future.