Jenny Murphy Byrne
Dark is a time-travel, whodunit thriller set in the German town of Winden. The small, myopic community is shrouded in mystery and deceit as the billowing columns of the nuclear plant tower over it.
The residents are left reeling when several local kids go missing, and later turn up dead. Concerned, yet comically neglectful, parents are gradually ripped apart by grief and doubt.
As Jonas – the main protagonist – struggles to cope with his father’s death, he accompanies his mates on a late-night mission to unearth some hidden weed, stashed by one of the missing boys. Things only get more complicated when Mikkel Nielsen apparently vanishes into thin air and winds up in 1986.
As the narrative shifts between the present and the 1980s, complemented by the synth-heavy score, it’s easy to compare Dark to the equally stylish Stranger Things. And while both shows are deeply nuanced, Dark undoubtedly nabbed thematic strokes from the popular series.
Dark is visually unique: revealing character motivations and backstory through slick edits, underpinned by the soundtrack’s haunting German vocals. But its narrative is less alluring. After the disappearances, that initial attraction soon fades, and slowly dissolves into a meandering mess. Characters suddenly become deranged, making highly-questionable decisions.
As the series reaches its latter stages, you will scoff with disgust by the writers’ choices. After hours of dedication, speculation, twists and turns, you’re rewarded with an ‘it was all for nothing’ conclusion. And while the final scene crudely hints at a second season, viewers may be apprehensive about stepping back into the Dark.
If you’re intrigued, however, I highly recommend switching from dubbed to subbed. Seeing the characters mouths moving out of time with the words can be unsettling. Also, watching a show in a foreign language, you’re less likely to pick up your phone and deep scroll Instagram.