Netflix Series Review: Dark Season 1

Denisa and I finished the first season of another series last night: Dark. The best way I can describe it is “A more adult, German version of Stranger Things.” It has a tremendous learning curve involved in watching it, but if you can get over that, I’ve found it to be one of the best hard science fiction shows I’ve ever watched.

The premise is very timey wimey. In a small German town in the present day, someone has been abducting children. This may or may not have something to do with another series of abductions 33 years ago. Worse yet, bodies begin to be found, but not necessarily the bodies of the children who went missing . . .

I don’t want to say too much about the premise, because a lot of the fun of the series is figuring out the connections and who’s doing what where when and why. Denisa and I had to pause the show multiple times an episode to remind ourselves who the person was we were following at the moment, and why they were doing what they were doing. Under normal circumstances, that would definitely be a problem for a television show, but Dark is that sort of show. It would be like critiquing a crossword puzzle for having clues that were tricky to understand. This show is very much a puzzle, and (better yet) it’s a puzzle that fits together extraordinarily well. (I can’t imagine how much effort went into getting all the pieces hashed out properly ahead of time on the page.)

Obviously this is going to appeal to some people more than others. For me, it was a great way to delve into a show and try to figure out the mysteries. We guessed some of them ahead of time, and some were complete surprises. I’m really looking forward to getting into the second season soon. (There are three seasons total at the moment. I can’t speak for how good the other two are, but the first works well as one frustratingly whole narrative, with a cliffhanger at the end. Because of course.)

What might cause you to not watch the show, if it’s intrigued you so far? It’s TV-MA, but there’s not really a lot of blood, and the profanity is actually much worse in English than in German (I found some of the translations to be odd that way), but even then it’s hardly profanity-laced. There are a couple of steamy scenes, but they’re short and you can see them from a ways off, and you don’t really miss anything by skipping them. (Warning that the most graphic is in the first episode.) That said, this is definitely not an HBO TV-MA.

Anyway. If that sounds intriguing to you, I really encourage you to check it out. I’d give it an 8.5/10. It’s the #56 ranked show on IMDB at the moment, so I’m clearly not alone in my assessment. Let me know what you think!


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