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Dark: Netflix’s dark horse of science fiction thrillers

If you are reading this and you have never heard of Dark, you should start watching the series. If you have already seen Dark, then you probably know what’s in the store for the first German Netflix series. However, let’s take a moment to refresh your memory and appreciate the brilliant storytelling because the final season of dark is coming in Netflix on 27thJune, 2020– Yes, the date of predicted apocalypse.

But let’s try to understand why dark is said to be the most underrated web series. The obvious reason has to be its juxtaposition with famous American Netflix series Stranger things. “In a small town, a young child disappears and a group of young-adults start their quest for an answer”. Although the starting looks pretty similar for both the shows but they are literally worlds apart if you dive deeper. Just look at the two IMDB pages side by side.

Comparison of Dark & Stranger Things – The genre is completely different as well as the treatment of subject

 

In the first glance, even if their ratings look similar, a closer look will point to the direction of the disparity in the number of votes. The number of ratings in Dark is almost 1/4thof the ratings in Stranger Things. The language (German) barrier can be an issue here but that is not the only obstacle. If you just look at the posters of them, you will understand how they are from different universe (no pun here). Stranger Thingsis more glossy and colourful where Darkis, well literally “dark”.

But this is not about their comparison- this is about the most mind-bending, intentionally confusing, uncomfortable sci-fi time travelling thriller Netflix show which deserves your attention. Yes, the show is in German and any sane person will not recommend you to watch it in English dubbed version. Dark is unique in its own way. A somehow closer reference can be Predestination(Strongly recommended), but unlike the movie, Dark is more logical and confusing (in a brilliant way). At some point an analogy can be drawn with The butterfly effect as well. The series can also be said as a logical extension of the Grandfather Paradox. The theory comes from the idea that if a person travels to a time before their grandfather had children, and kills him, this would raise the question of his own very existence.Don’t worry, this is not a spoiler, this is just a mild flavour of confusion that the show will emit.

The show is brilliant in technical departments as well. Before going into much detail about cinematography and lighting, we can just talk about the unique visuals and use of colour in the series. Creators Baran bo Odar andJantje Friesehave intentionally used an unique colour scheme with yellowand redbeing the predominant colours. There is an interesting theory about the use of colours in Dark. The most used colour red, yellow and cyanare almost in equal distance which reflects in the show with 3 equal distancing timelines (1953,1986.2019). However, the use of colour can be interpreted in numerous ways. The use of colour yellow is also very German as yellow is said to be the favourite colour of Germany.

However, let’s address the elephant in the room – The cinematography and lighting. These two things set Dark apart from any other show of current time. Most importantly standing at a time when most of the shows look kind of similar with their bluish tint and traditional framing, Dark cinematographer Nikolaus Summerer did a magnificent job of making the show distinct and suffocating at the same time. Just look at these two breath-taking top shots.

The dead flock of sheep – the most unique shot in the series

 

Dark used the top shots as a tool to portray the sense of regret about past

 

Another Netflix show Fargo (Again, strongly recommended) also has this kind of visuals but Dark is distinct in its own way. Although thousands of pictures will not justify the layered visual storytelling of the series, I will just put my favourite shot of the series here- The shot where young Jonas is cycling through the woods and the street lights are like a stream of binary data with a melancholic rhythm of light and dark. The poignant background music only enhances the heaviness of your heart.

The solitary treatment of darkness in the series is evident from this shot

 

As I mentioned earlier, the show is intentionally confusing and uncomfortable to watch. The creators did not really compromise a single penny for selling the story. The attention to detail is also something that should be mentioned. Without the spoiler it is quite tough to point out the strength of the writing,  but each viewing of the opening credit song will bring out something new to your attention and will stop you to click the ‘Skip intro’ button.  The introduction credit song “Goodbye” is so haunting that you will be addicted pretty easily with its “Comfortably Numb” vibe. Here’s a Fun fact: This song is used also in Breaking Badseason 4, episode “Face-off”.

The setting and the locations are also praiseworthy for this show. I used to pass by the Reinfelder Schulefor more than four months but it has never occurred to me that it is the same school shown in the series. Same goes for almost all the locations and it is impossible to recognize the places if you see them in a bright sunny day. Excluding all the science-fiction and time-travel drama, Dark is essentially a father-son story, it has very deeply rooted emotion in its core. The characters are sad because they cannot get closer to the person they love yet they have to accept it to proceed in their life. The angst, the helplessness, the pensiveness is so unfulfilling yet so addictive that it will make you hooked into this story.

But it will be a crime to talk about Dark without mentioning the casting. This has to be the best casted series of all time. The actors who portrayed the characters in various ages are so similar looking that sometimes you don’t even have to wait to read their names. Take a closer look to the following photos. They are of same character in different ages portrayed by different actors. Trust me, they’re not related.

Ulrich Nielsen in 1986, 2019 and 1987 respectively

 

Aleksander Tiedemann in 1987 and 2019

 

Magnus Nielsen in 2019 and 1921

 

Lastly, what can you expect from this upcoming final season? Well, it is difficult to say anything about this series without spoiling anything but surely there will be the introduction of multiple universes and more complicated family trees in this season. You can check thiswonderful website to keep track of the clock and discover hidden facts.  As the story is coming to an end we have to remember what we have already been told in previous seasons.

The End is the beginning.

Tick-tock….tock-tick

Anibroto Sarkar

A film enthusiast, movie buff and travel fanatic. A Techie by profession and storyteller by passion. A lover of world movies/shows and a true Bengali at heart.