I love a show with a sense of place.
Game of Thrones completes immerses you in Westeros, Big Little Lies makes you feel like you live in Monterey, and Dark does a superb job of transporting you to the fictional German town of Winden. Yes this Netflix production is a German science-fiction thriller, and its opening hour is very impressive.
Describing Dark is a challenge, because so many things happen at once and they’re all cleverly connected. I’ll only say that this eerie story kicks off with a mysterious disappearance (which seems to be a trend lately – think Safe and Stranger Things). In fact, Dark shares a lot of similarities with the latter as both series dabble in otherworldly phenomena in a small town. However, Dark is much darker (pardon the pun), and it instills an ominous tone the whole way through.
Since the series is set in a small town, everyone is someone’s mother, brother or lover. It’s hilarious (and kind of exhausting) to figure out who is related to who, but it’s also a promising sign because it means the various subplots will weave together. I hate it when characters run off on their own disparate storylines that never seem to converge (yes I’m looking at you True Blood).
Dark makes for a dazzling visual feast thanks to the cinematography by Nikolaus Summerer. The shots of Jonas in his yellow raincoat cycling across vast landscapes are just unforgettable, and they do a terrific job of creeping you out without even trying. Moreover, the haunting musical score by Ben Frost genuinely gave me chills; perhaps I shouldn’t have watched the pilot at 11pm in pitch darkness?
Bits of Darkness
– These days, most shows have memorable openings credits, but Dark‘s opener is not exactly a gamechanger. It’s basically just a Kaleidoscope effect and not much else, but at least the music is strangely addictive.
– What is it with Foreign Netflix shows and bunkers? Both Dark and The Rain feature them.
– The whole breakfast scene in the Nielsen household is fantastic. It’s one impressively long take culminating in little Mikkel’s nifty magic trick. Wow!
– Creepy hooded guy is seriously terrifying. Hooded figures always terrify me.
– So what happened to Ulrick’s brother? My money’s on all these disappearances being connected.
– Regina the hotel owner going berserk on the bank was just heartbreaking wasn’t it?
– An elderly man in a senior home says that “it’s going to happen again.” Any guesses on what “it” is?
– We see Erik, the kid who disappeared, held captive in a weight room and being forced to watch 80’s music. So strange.
– Jonas sees his dead dad and it’s appropriately unsettling.
An atmospheric pilot with a ton of intrigue and first-rate production values.