The Darker Side of Time Travel


If you thought Time Travel was confusing… spare a thought for the characters in ‘Dark’…

“Time is an illusion…lunchtime doubly so.” (Douglas Adams, ‘The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy’)

A spoiler-free review of Netflix’s dark sci-fi thriller, ‘Dark’

by EJ Jackson

If you think ‘Doctor Who’ is “wibbly wobbly, timey-wimey”, then prepare yourself for the mental gymnastics of Netflix’s first German sci-fi thriller series, ‘Dark’. If you enjoyed ‘Stranger Things’ (which is actually much lighter in tone) and ‘Fringe’ then you will, I am quite certain, enjoy ‘Dark’.

Netflix describes Season One thus: “A missing child sets four families on a frantic hunt for answers as they unearth a mind-bending mystery that spans three generations.” 

You may, like me, be slightly concerned at first to learn that the series was recorded in German and dubbed in English; but don’t be! The quality of the writing, the exceptional cast, amazing music and beautiful cinematography very quickly won me over. I hardly noticed that the dialogue didn’t always quite synchronise with the actors’ lips after a few minutes, and in fact, I think the quality of sound the recorded dialogue – plus sound effects- lends the show an even more surreal ambience.

One thing I did notice about ‘Dark’ is that it doesn’t have the frantic pace of many shows. Which is a good thing, because of those mental gymnastics I mentioned earlier. ‘Dark’ is not an ‘easy’ watch; you will need to pay attention.

Hooked after the first two episodes, I found myself binge-watching ‘Dark’ (at least two episodes most evenings over approximately a week) because quite simply, I couldn’t wait to find out what happened next! I challenge you not to do the same. The first series aired in December 2017 and comprises ten episodes. Series 2 followed in June 2019 and is slightly shorter at just eight. The third (and apparently final) series has already been commissioned, but no airdate is known as yet. On past history I’d imagine it may grace our screens sometime in 2020.

I won’t give too much away (NO SPOILERS HERE!) – but according to the Wikipedia entry, Dark is a German science fiction thriller web television series co-created by Baran bo Odar and Jantje Friese. Set in the fictional German town of Winden, Dark concerns the aftermath of a child’s disappearance which exposes the secrets of, and hidden connections between, four estranged families as they slowly unravel a sinister time travel conspiracy which spans across three generations. Throughout the series, Dark explores the existential implications of time and its effects on human nature.

And on a final note, those of you (like me) who pay attention to soundtracks, the music (some of which was written for the show) is a very important element. You can find out more about that here – but you might want to watch Season 1 first, as there be spoilers…

‘Dark’ in which the ‘interconnectedness of everything’ reaches new heights…

Enjoy!

E Jackson, July 2019

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