German TV is on something of a roll at the moment, thanks to the likes of Deutschland 83 and Babylon Berlin. With Amazon also already having aired its first German-language original, You Are Wanted, it’s no surprise that Netflix would want to get in on the act, too; it’s also unsurprising that being Netflix, Dark is substantially better than Amazon’s efforts.
What is surprising is that whether deliberately or not, Dark is probably the most German TV show imaginable.
Set in the small rural town of Winden (none of the real ones) in 2019, it opens with the suicide of a respected and loved father, who leaves a letter that must not be opened until a few months after his death.
Not that this is the first tragedy to strike the town. A child has already gone missing that year and just a few days short of the date on the letter, a third child disappears and a mutilated body is soon found. Except it’s a child who disappeared in 1986 and it’s as if not a day has passed for him. What’s going on?
So far, so not especially German, for sure, but by the end of the first season, this Groundhog Day meets Back to the Future 2 meets Saw has gone through a gamut of German concerns and interests, from myth and the power of the woods and nature, through atomic energy and acid rain, to Nietzsche’s nihilism and Goethe’s fatalism, all with just a hint of 80s nostalgia (not Ostalgie, though). It also tries to address that perennial German-related time travel morality question: if you could travel back in time to kill Hitler when he was just a child, would you? And if you did, would it change anything or would Time somehow still conspire to find a way for history to continue on the same course?
Yes, Dark is indeed dark. So, are you going to like it? Well, that’s another matter. A full review of the entire first season after this lovely trailer – some minor spoilers ahoy.
Continue reading “Boxset Tuesday: Dark (season 1) (Netflix)”