Dark it was one of netflix the majority original and exciting seriesa time travel epic puzzle box about pain, loss and regret. The creators of the show Jantje Friese and Baran bo Odar do not deviate from the template of that triumph with 1899another head-spinning multi-character affair that piles mystery upon mystery to a bewildering degree.
Clarity is hard to find in the German duo’s latest eight-part effort, and that can sometimes be more irritating than exhilarating. However, there is much left to savor about this period pinwheel, which goes round and round until it is hard to separate fact from fiction, if anything in this saga is indeed real.
Perhaps the biggest flaw of 1899 (which opens on November 17) is that it seems determined to literally surpass the darkness of its predecessor. There is a difference between sinister opacity and indecipherable darkness, and Friese and bo Odar’s series often succumb to the latter. It covers its suspenseful drama in shades of black so much that it’s hard to make anything out.
It’s a case of atmospheric melancholy overload, and it’s all the more frustrating when you consider that the show’s aesthetic is indeed creepy. There are corridors and chambers lit by iridescent lamps and candles, enveloping and obscuring waves of mist, and glowing contraptions and devices whose purpose is as dark as the passageways and portals through which your characters come to navigate.
Before someone starts traversing disparate realms, 1899 He sets his scene aboard the Kerberos, a turn-of-the-century European ship bound for America whose passengers are an international (and therefore multilingual) group in search of new beginnings. Chief among them is Maura Franklin (Emily Beecham).
When her character is introduced, she has a dream in which she yells at her clipped father about her missing brother and is strapped into a medical chair. When she wakes up, there is a letter from her brother that says: “Trust no one.” Maura is a British doctor with a particular focus on the brain, however the repetition of her name, hometown and her date suggests that her own head is not in perfect working order. The strap marks on her wrists indicate that perhaps her dream was less a fantasy than a recent memory.
The other passengers on Kerberos similarly relive traumatic, and often death-related, memories in their sleep, including the German sea captain Eyk (Dark‘s Andreas Pietschmann), whose family met a horrible fate. Why those daydreams always end with hallucinatory visions of a pyramid, a swirling vortex, and a silent command to “Wake up!” it’s impossible to figure out initially, though things become at least a little clearer (relatively speaking) thanks to a surprising turn of events.
A few days from their destination, Eyk and his crewmates receive a signal from another company ship, the Prometheus, which disappeared four months earlier. Even more disconcerting, when they locate the Prometheus and search its interior, they discover it in disarray and completely empty, except for a boy (Fflyn Edwards) locked inside a wet bar, refusing to speak and carrying a small black pyramid with him. .
No one knows what could have happened to the Prometheus, and 1899 it only slowly gives out hints, all of which are accompanied by three additional baffling bombshells that keep things perpetually confusing.
As Eyk and Maura struggle to resolve their situation, the series introduces a series of characters whose destinies will surely intertwine: Spanish playboy Ángel (Miguel Bernardeau) and his fake priest boyfriend Ramiro (José Pimentão); Chinese immigrant posing as a Japanese geisha Ling Yi (Isabella Wei) and her mother Yuk Je (Gabby Wong); Ling Yi’s American Mrs. Wilson (Rosalie Craig); the Polish worker Olek (Maciej Musiał); French stowaway Jérôme (Yaan Gael) and newlyweds Lucien (Jonas Bloquet) and Clémence (Mathilde Ollivier); Danish downstairs inhabitants Tove (Clara Rosager), her brother Krester (Lucas Lynggaard Tønnesen) and their religious parents Iben (Maria Erwolter) and Anker (Alexandre Willaume); and Eyk’s gruff right-hand man Franz (Isaak Dentler).
They all have damning and/or disturbing secrets, and their plights become hopelessly intertwined once the boy is taken from Prometheus to Kerberos and the strange happenings begin to pile up.
Following in the footsteps of the previous series by Friese and bo Odar, Dark, there is also a mysterious man aboard the Kerberos named Daniel (Aneurin Barnard), who shares an apparent bond with Maura and uses a small beetle to perform miraculous feats. On top of that, Maura’s father (game of Thrones‘ Anton Lesser) is a completely shady and sneaky big shot, operating out of a lavish office that houses a wall of TV monitors – a hint that, as with Dark, 1899‘s history spans multiple eras.
These factors slightly undermine the novelty of the proceedings, as does the paucity of concrete responses. Anyone craving clear, uncluttered resolutions should look elsewhere, as the show works overtime to keep the moment-to-moment action fleet and keep its bigger picture out of sight.
Dark vets won’t have much trouble tuning in to 1899wavelength of . Newcomers, on the other hand, may find the deliberate, teasing pacing a bit difficult. Fortunately, any occasional slowness is offset by excellent performances, led by the charismatic Beecham and Pietschmann, who share tense chemistry, as well as the methodical buildup of crazy developments.
Cryptic triangular symbols, mental rooms, lemming-like zombies, mute children, scarred faces, hidden hatches leading to tiled ducts, and futuristic panels controlled by bewildering control boxes are part of the madness, not to mention other reasons that imply even more. that memory is central to this story. Then again, the series could be about perception, identity, or any number of other things, as Friese and bo Odar drop a wide variety of clues but keep things perpetually under wraps, thus generating the tantalizing intrigue needed to keep their game going. of riddles. afloat.
“None of this makes sense,” Eyk exclaims halfway through. 1899The first season of ‘s, by which time there have been so many unexplained incidents that almost any theory about the nature of this madness sounds plausible. Like Friese and bo Odar’s previous streaming gem, this supernatural thriller is so tangled that trying to unravel its mysteries isn’t simply challenging, but borderline headache-inducing, usually, in the best possible way.