After a boy mysteriously disappears in the woods, the secrets of a small town unravel, and the answer to where—or when—the boy is, becomes more and more strange as it becomes revealed.
If this is what German television looks like, get me a passport, because I want to watch this kind of stuff on the daily. This is the first German television show I’ve seen, and I want more. As long as the subs are on and they’re at least somewhat accurate, I could watch this kind of television all the time.
Similar to Ares, another European series I reviewed earlier this year, they develop the atmosphere nicely, being both beautiful and gloomy, though with Dark there are hints of horror without it being considered part of the horror genre. And, the horror elements work well, being equally unique and chilling.
It uses the idea of time travel and it does something very special with it. It takes these characters that on their own are pretty ornery and slowly introduces different versions of them from the past. You see what a person was like not just in the present, but in 1986, and for some, in 1953. The result is that you see very complex characters. For example, Ulrich, a cop, is a very basic “troubled hero” protagonist on his own. But, when you see that he was a “punk teen” in the past, having issues with the police, his character becomes more complex. This is true of every character. There are four families in the show, and each of them are important. Each person within that family plays a role, even when all of them contain two parents and most of them contain more than one child. There are a lot of characters explored, yet all of them are explored well.
I know I usually wait until the later paragraphs to present the negatives of a good show, but I’m putting them here in order to highlight its importance. The biggest weakness of Dark is it’s first few episodes. Given we don’t see the character’s complexities, we’re just shown a lot of basic characters being basic. This takes up the first three episodes, meaning three hours of content. Because of that, the show is very generic in the beginning. While there are a few moments that keep you interested, it’s not terribly engaging. But, once you get past that, the show becomes much better.
Now that that’s out of the way, it’s important to mention time travel and how it’s used within the series. This show explores the concept of time travel really well. The concept of a paradox, for example, is explored in a way that I’ve rarely seen. Two weeks ago, I reviewed 11.22.63, and the way they went about explaining paradoxes was different, with Dark being the better in its portrayal. I’m about to spoil both shows so if you don’t like spoilers skip to the next paragraph. In 11.22.63, if you change anything in the past, it will impact the future. In Dark, changing the past is seen as inevitable. For example, characters would time travel to the past with objects of importance. In order for that object to be created, however, the person needed to have time travel to the past in order for the creator to see what the object would look like in the future. If this is confusing, trust me, it makes much more sense in the show.
What I find most fascinating about this series is that it has a little bit of something for everyone. After watching it, I saw myself wanting to recommend it to a variety of people, from those who like contemporary soaps like Grey’s Anatomy and This is Us, to those who like genre fiction like the many that are reviewed here. There’s romance, history, action, and more.
This is usually the part of the review where I talk about the series’ negatives, but considering I already did that earlier, I’m going to continue with the positives. The writing, very much with the rest of the series, gets better over time. I can only imagine the amount of effort that went into developing the timeline for this show. There are so many intricacies that the writers flawlessly kept track of. That combined with the grim nature of their reality allows for some incredible lines.
As mentioned previously, every technical aspect in the series was executed well. From the cinematography, to the costume and makeup design, to the soundtrack, you could tell that an immense amount of detail was put into this show. The soundtrack alone is one of the best I’ve seen of all time, and worked perfectly within the narrative.
Ultimately, what makes me see a show as great is whether or not I both care about the characters and am interested in seeing what happens next. As mentioned previously, the cast list for this show is large, yet I was able to care about, or have feelings about, every character in this show.
While slow at first, this series is definitely worth the watch.
It’s About Time: Dark (Season 1)
Writing - 9.5/109.5/10
Storyline - 9.7/109.7/10
Acting - 9.4/109.4/10
Music - 10/1010/10
Production - 10/1010/10
User Review( votes)