The globally celebrated mystical science fiction literally has a lot in store – and has now delivered a lot in its third and final cycle. But of course you can complain, albeit at a pleasantly high level.
“What we know is a drop, what we do not know is an ocean” – this conspiratorial aphorism often falls in crucial places in Baran Bo Odar’s highly complex hit series “Dark”. In this sense, be warned here briefly: The following article contains mild spoilers and vague references to the course of the series plot. Netflix subscribers in particular, who have not yet started using “Dark”, should therefore make up for their omissions first – and not read on for now.
“The end is the beginning, the beginning is the end” – this is the description of the dilemma of the time travelers who wage guerrilla warfare against themselves in “Dark” between small town relationship boxes and the apocalypse. And for the viewers, too, the enigmatic saying about the cyclical nature of things hits the mark: Anyone who has just completed the final run of the Netflix hit series on Ex, actually has to start all over again. At least if there is even the slightest requirement to untangle the constantly swollen knot from time levels, dimensions, life stories and characters.
Because whether the final linking of all the red threads has actually succeeded will probably concern specially oriented master’s programs in the distant future – but it doesn’t really matter. Because paradoxes and logic holes are not necessarily mistakes in the context of time travel and parallel dimension plots, but also belong to the essential instruments of narrative discipline. The fact that audience brains appear to be as confused as the time loops and storylines is not a necessary evil, but rather the effect intended by the creators of the fiction.
But it is not only the manic, knotted plot network that casts a spell over the world of the German series: The emotional intensity between the protagonists Jonas and Martha is not only correct, but is so surprisingly intense that one almost thinks Freddie Mercury from 1986 ” Who wants to live forever “. Back then, it was the “Highlander” from the fantasy film of the same name that had to see his great love die, unable to change anything. The latter could certainly bring about the desperate time travelers from “Dark” – and not just in their fictitious hometown of Winden, but for the entire German series television.
A signal for more clever fiction on TV
The great success of “Dark” is due in no small part to the ruthlessness of its implementation – larger sci-fi formats have been lacking in recent years despite big names such as “Star Trek” or George R.R. Martin always in the back. Not so with the story penned by Baran Bo Odar and Jantje Friese: In all its intricacy, the German mystery series is quite straightforward. If you’re not careful, you’re out. And even if you pay attention, you get confused at times and catch yourself losing track of the cross-dimensional chaos of relationships between the four core families of the story. But it really doesn’t seem to bother anyone – after all, when it comes to “crime scene” screenplays, nobody often looks through them completely, which is more due to the amazingly miserable writings. In the end banal and linear whodunnit plots are so embarrassed that one could supply a time machine with energy via Agatha Christie’s axis rotation in its final resting place.
The “Dark” team of authors goes different ways and, almost in the style of David Lynch, cares little about whether it could be too complicated for some viewers. Predicate: Forward-looking – after all, the worldwide success of the series can measure how suitable for the masses a demanding story can be if it is designed appropriately atmospheric. “Dark” really succeeded extraordinarily well – and yet there is one thing that can be really annoying at times. At least for some.
Dialog lines stiff as a plaster arm
“Dark” has not yet been able to free itself from a particularly annoying phlegm of German productions, which TV films and crime novels in particular are strongly associated with: All production effort, the good choice of music, the strong atmosphere and constant tension – all of this is repeatedly disenchanted by outrageously artificial-sounding dialogue lines and one wonders: Does it really have to be that way? Do all German actors always have to speak as stiffly and clearly as if they were trying desperately to teach a computer from 1998 voice recognition?
In the case of the crime novels in the public service evening program, such wooden speech styles can still be justified by the fact that a large part of the regular audience may no longer hear so well. With all the courage and audacity with which the makers of “Dark” broke with the debilitating conventions of German productions, the strangely awkward language flow of the actors is definitely a residual annoyance. So there is still room for improvement and the next major German hit series may have the performers take a course in cultivated mumbling with Jeff Bridges beforehand.
Until then, despite its linguistic rigidity, “Dark” can also be viewed again – there are enough clever references and Easter Eggs to discover.
- Dark Netflix: © Julia Terjung / Netflix