Why I Love Dark
Netflix's Dark, which recently premiered its second season, answers the important question, "what if Stranger Things, but good?"
Just judging by Dark's first season trailer, the German series seems to share a lot in common with its more well known Netflix cousin. They certainly seem to share a lot of of the same DNA: a missing child, a mysterious vibe, a 1980s aesthetic. But where Stranger Things leans on nostalgia and riffs heavily on the works of Steven Spielberg and Stephen King, Dark has a broader range of influences.
Dark tells the story of four families in the small German town of Winden, coming to terms with their past and the secrets that they keep from each other. It's hard to go into any details without spoiling the show, but here are the best things about Dark.
From the opening credits, Dark captures your attention with a series of scenes from the show reflected through a kaliedescope, set to the haunting song Goodbye by Apparat.
The original score by Ben Frost really helps set the tone for the show and the soundtrack is one of my favorites in recent years. These songs from the show have found a place in my regular rotation:
- Familiar – Agnes Obel
- Keep the Streets Empty for Me – Fever Ray
- Me and the Devil – Soap & Skin
- Enter One – Sol Seppy
- Wishing Well – Stomper feat. Lucy Tops
- A Quiet Life – Teho Teardo & Blixa Bargeld
- It's Happening Again – Agnes Obel
- Melody X – Bonaparte
- The World Retreats – David O'Dowda
- May the Angels – Alev Lenz
- Twisted Olive Branch – Asaf Avidan
- God's Whisper – Raury
- My Body is a Cage – Peter Gabriel
This show is just beautiful to look at. The opening credits do a great job of capturing some of the best shots but the composition of nearly every shot is stellar.
Most shows, particularly in the science fiction genre, are filled with one-note stereotypes. At first glance, some of the characters in Dark might appear to be a certain archetype but reveal themselves to be much deeper as the show progresses.
Dark's story features characters at different points in their lives and rather than use makeup or digital effects to age/de-age characters, the casting department found actors that look and act remarkably similar. Just take a look at Ulrich, played in various stages of his life by Ludger Bökelmann, Oliver Masucci and Winfried Glatzeder.
Dark's ensemble is one of the best on television. I hope Dark gives some of these actors more international exposure because many of them are quite good!
The Mike Seal of Approval
Showrunners Baran bo Odar and Jantje Friese have created one of the best science fiction shows ever made. The first season was a captivating masterpiece and season two somehow managed to take things up several notches, introducing new characters and new twists, and leaving us hungry for the thrid and final season, which has already in the works.
If you're a fan of science fiction and character-based drama, you won't find a more entertaining series on television than Dark.
(Do yourself a favor and watch in the original German with English subtitles, rather than the English dub!)