DARK: why it's making everyone go crazy.
"Yesterday, today and tomorrow are not consecutive, they are connected in a never-ending circle. Everything is connected."
If you’re reading this, I’m going to assume you’ve watched the show, either when it came out 2 years ago, (because it looked like a promising and interesting show) or in the past month, binging it like a crazed person (because peer pressure :))
But either way, I bet you’re glad that you did because this is quite honestly the best thing Netflix ever did.
And if you haven’t seen it, why the hell not?!
Being the sort of person who devours all kinds of literature, movies and shows surrounding the topic of time travel, black holes and paradoxes, personally, this show was a goldmine for me. I now fear I will fall into the inevitable show hole because really, where is there to go from here; devouring this exceptional series. It raises the standard of quality among TV and sits amongst the top few.
The review contains spoilers, you’ve been warned.
“What we know is a drop. What we don’t know is an ocean.”
Taken from the show, this is a fitting way to describe “Dark,” the first German Netflix original. The show bombards you with multiple timelines, interconnected family trees, and more questions than you can hope to answer. (PLEASE DON’T GOOGLE STUFF IN THE MIDDLE) The end to this three-season series rages against the pain, death, and destruction, opting for love, connection, and the selflessness of taking away someone’s pain. From start to end, Dark makes viewers argue, theorize, draw multiple family trees at 3 am and stay up and wonder the fate of Winden. Be warned, this show is NOT for casual entertainment. And I would recommend keeping a pen and a paper next to you while watching because you’ll need it. “Dark” demands attention. You can’t look down at your phone, be on your computer, be making dinner, or have any sense of detachment in order to fully enjoy the show. At one point, we see four versions of the same person in the same room. It’s a challenging journey that the showrunners are forcing you to experience, pushing you to play catchup right alongside these townspeople. My friend who recommended the show said that watch it is a good Logical Reasoning exercise and wow, she wasn’t wrong.
During the first few episodes, we’re all thinking “Oh this is like a german Stranger Things” It's easy to recognize the parallels: the disappearance of a little boy, 80's influences, dark soundtracks. But few episodes in, it does the opposite of what Stranger Things does. It doesn't work with likeable characters. Nostalgia is not something you will find here. It's just a deep dark show, which has much to offer to people who love a smart show. Hats off to the writers and creators as they depict all the laws of physics and theories of time travel so effortlessly. Many shows try to capture this series theme, but many fail to execute it as well as Dark does.
I believe Dark does it so well because the characters are so emotionally grounded. The writers didn't overlook the show’s characters and have special places for each one.
For those like me that love the concept of time travel and paradoxes, this show is like a stimulant to the brain and tickles your mind. It's mental munchies and also serves as mental foreplay. It provides an incredible reward for viewers that love cerebral shows that refuse to spoon-feed the audience but also satisfies the viewer by addressing the questions, eventually. Subtle brilliance is what makes this show stand apart. An example would be the when alt Bartosz jokingly tells alt Martha and Magnus about a woman who drowned in the lake they’re swimming in. Later, we see Katerina being killed by her mother and dragged into the same lake. Martha and Magnus swimming in the lake where their mother was killed.
The second season finally scratches that itch at the roof of your mouth that for so long, your tongue couldn't quite reach.
This season proves that the writers know exactly what they’re doing. The way this show deals with the "time-travel paradox" is utterly flawless. Those of you who have seen movies like Back to the Future, X-men, Interstellar, Predestination etc must realize how hard it is to get it right and not have so many plot holes.
One of the most mind-blowing things about this show is it’s casting.
It’s unbelievable how they had different actors to portray one character of different ages and the similarities are absolutely amazing. If someone told you that they are all the same actors with makeup on, you would believe it. With a super complex timeline, keeping track of who is who is a task but the solid resemblance between the actors playing the past, current and future characters made it a thousand times easier. It's a small detail but one that goes a long way to show the creators having an absolute passion for this project.
The acting is top-notch, especially by Maja Schöne who plays Hannah. Jonas, played by Hoffman, performs very realistically, considering he’s a young actor. Every stare he gives has the weight of two seasons, and hundreds of lifetimes he’s now lived. The score brings a constant dread and impending doom, which in the Dark universe, rarely fades into the background. The pace and jumps between story arcs are too, excellent.
After finishing the show, there is a simple truth that comes to light. The entire origin in Dark is the love a man (H.G. Tannhaus) has for his son and how he would do anything to get him back after his death, and so inadvertently creates 2 new worlds and the infinite loop, the apocalypse and endless suffering. However, the entire reason the loop broke was the love a mother (Claudia Tiedemann) had for her daughter (Regina) and the want for her to live, and so finding a loophole and stopping the apocalypse and realigning the world. The love that these parents have for their children have the ability to create and destroy worlds, to stop the apocalypse and create it, parental love is at the centre of Dark and it is the true driving force of the events.
I think one of the many meaningful messages Dark has successfully managed to convey is that at the end of the day, your worst enemy or obstacle in life is essentially yourself, and I deeply and respect that.
Overall, hats off to the directors for pulling this off. Dark is the best time travel show there is. Never believe anything else.
I would recommend looking at the link above if you’re done with the show to get a clearer picture!