There Are Certainly More Than 33 Excuses To Binge This Dark And Mind-Blowing Show

Between settling into a new job and new home, getting sick, and just dealing with everything else life has thrown my way, I have not had the opportunity to really delve into many new shows.  But I did just finish watching one that was such a total mind-bender that I absolutely need to share.

If you haven’t already heard about it or noticed it on Netflix, I highly recommend the show Dark.

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This show was not at all what I thought it was going to be, but I was pleasantly surprised.  My boyfriend recommended we watch the show as he heard that it was creepy and said it sounded like the kind of thing I would like.  Add that to the Netflix description of the show which says that the disappearance of a child in a small German town has profound effects on four families that span three generations.  Then add the title and the picture that pops up for the show on Netflix – I was totally expecting a horror show, or at least an intense psychological thriller with some family drama thrown in.  Next, add to that the fact that a good deal of the story revolves around a nuclear power plant in the small town of Winden, and this looked like it was going to be a totally creepy and scary show.  Episode 1 also made it seem like that was the route the show was taking.  Then it made a huge U-turn.  Although there are definitely some creepy elements, this show is more sci-fi than horror.  I was not expecting the turn this show took.

It is really hard to talk about the plot without spoiling anything because the entire show is basically a spoiler.  Everything is a mystery that only comes together slowly and makes sense bit by bit.  Throughout the show, my boyfriend and I would bounce ideas off one another to try to figure out what was going on, who certain characters really were, and to attempt to predict the outcome of events.  Sometimes our guesses were correct, as the show actually does leave an adequate amount of clues to be able to figure certain things out.  But even when our guesses were correct, the revelation of certain facts were still huge moments.  I’m pretty sure I yelled at the TV a lot.  The story also really gives you a lot to think about as the whole thing is filled with parallels between generations; paradoxes relating to time travel; and the interconnected relationship between past, present, and future. Between this, the constant twist and turns in the plot, and the amount of cast/characters to keep track of, it can sometimes be a little confusing to keep up with what is going on.  The only helpful hint I can give is that the number 3 (specifically 33) is important.  But, really, with everything that has been stuffed into the show, no hint can adequately prepare you for what’s coming.

You’ll notice that in my other blog posts about television and movies I do my best to include tags for all the main/important actors and characters but that I have not done that for this post.  That’s because I would need to tag so many characters and actors that I could easily end up with an outrageous number of tags as long as the blog post itself.  This is a show with more actors than characters – because of the nature of the story, there can be approximately two to three actors portraying a single character.  I’ve mainly included tags for family names as the show revolves around four families.  In the beginning, I thought that there was no way only four families could be involved in all of this, but as the show progresses you begin to see how everyone in this small town is related and connected.  As unbelievable as it may seem, there really are only four families featured in this show: the Nielsens, the Dopplers, the Tiedemanns, and the Kahnwalds.  There are only a handful of characters that are not a part of one of these four families, and those characters typically exist as a plot device.  Only three characters – Noah, H. G. Tannhaus, and The Stranger – who do not appear to be a part of these families (Spoiler: this isn’t necessarily the case) are truly essential to the plot.

One thing I really enjoyed about the way this show is set up is how the cast and characters are listed in the credits.  There are so many characters but there is no real main character.  Almost every character gets their chance in the spotlight, and every family has at least one episode where they are the main family in the plot.  Most likely because of this, the credits for each episode list the cast/characters in the order they appear for that particular episode.  Because everyone and everything is so interconnected in this story, it makes sense for there not to be one main character so I really liked the way that almost everyone gets the chance to be the main character at some point.

Now, as I’ve mentioned, this story takes place in a small German town.  When my boyfriend and I started watching Dark, Netflix automatically played it in English but we noticed the voices seemed a little off.  We promptly switched to watching the show in German with English subtitles and I found that was much better.  It’s a personal preference of mine that I like watching films/shows in their original language but I really don’t think it would hurt anyone’s viewing experience if they preferred to watch the English dub of the show.  I would recommend that if you’re thinking about watching Dark that you at least give it a try in German first.  That being said, if you’re the kind of person who has a hard time keeping track of characters in these kinds of shows, then you might want to go with whichever option makes it easier for you to figure out/understand the relationships between the characters.

(Anecdote: Until we had everyone completely figured out, this was how we discussed the characters: “BF: Who’s she again?” “Me: She’s this persons mom [that kid who does this], this guys wife [the guy who did this thing], who works here, who does this thing [with this person], she’s is the childhood friend of this guy, and now she’s doing this because of that.”  There’s a lot to keep track of with each character, but once it all comes together the results are satisfying and mind-blowing.)

Clearly, with a show like this, there are questions and puzzles all along the way.  In fact, the opening credits flaunt this because this sequence is entirely made up of scenes and key moments from the show, but it’s all distorted due to a kind of kaleidoscope effect.  Throughout the course of the show, things slowly unfold and begin to make more and more sense as everything starts to come together.  That being said, by the start of episode 10 (the final episode in this season), I knew there was no way all of our questions would be answered.  I’ve heard there’s a season 2 coming, and based on the way season 1 ended I definitely need to see more.  There are still so many questions I have, so many guesses I want to have confirmed or denied, and so much more that can happen to these four families.  Netflix!  I need more Dark now!

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