With the release of the second season of “Stranger Things”, it only makes sense for Netflix to premiere another TV series while they have the nationwide attention. Of course, you can only hold the spotlight for so long until the audience becomes tired, and their newest series falls short of offering something that is worthwhile.
Made for hardcore sci-fi addicts, “Dark” is set in Germany in three different years: 1953, 1986 and 2019. It’s easy to become lost in the seemingly-backwards presentation of the story. Like any other show that has to deal with the space-time continuum, “Dark” requires a certain degree of devotion to see the story through till the end, one that some viewers might not be able to cough up.
The first episode progresses with an uncanny semblance to its viral predecessor, “Stranger Things.” Meddling high school children? Check! A foreboding landmark that possesses unknown secrets? Check! A town where children aren’t supposed to go missing in the ’80s? Check! The parallels are too obvious and blasé, and if not for my friend’s rave review over it, I would’ve quit the series in the first 20 minutes.
The show has its way of latching onto viewers still; the last minutes of the premiere are enigmatic enough to incline viewers to give the show a chance. A red-haired boy becomes shackled to a chair that could’ve been copy and pasted from “The OA,” and the childish wallpaper and vibrant music video that appears as the episode comes to a close keeps viewers uneasy and their interest piqued. The sympathy evoked from a missing child might keep you going, but, as far as plot lines go… been there, done that.
“Dark”’s main idea is unique in TV at least, or, if not, shrouded enough beforehand for it to seem new: “Yesterday, today and tomorrow are not consecutive. They are connected in a never-ending circle.”
Consistency is key as the series progresses and emphasizes how time is a cycle, specifically one of 33 years.
Director Baran bo Odar makes it easy for you to fall asleep though because of how underwhelming the recycled actions can become (the missing children start to become meaningless, the time travel exploited and painstaking, and the characters static).
Keeping track of the varying appearances of each character is also more of a challenge for viewers than a distinguishing factor of the Germany-based show; the majority of the characters have two versions of themselves to coordinate with the time lapses. In simple terms? If you hate a 2019 character, better get used to it because, chances are, he/she will appear again in 1986.
There’s a silver lining to everything, however. The show reasserts itself as worthy of the 97% rating it has on Google with blood-curdling fight scenes, deviant and unexpected incest, and mind-blowing theories of the world (the universe is composed of trios, not pairs?).
“Dark” is the living, breathing embodiment of “everything in moderation”; mere appeal, not even mass, is hard to find between the lines of confusion and the loose ends present in “Dark.” But it’s not like sci-fi is made for everyone.