Like a lot of people, I have consumed a lot of Netflix this year. I’ve never been a binge watcher–I genuinely cannot sit myself down to watch more than like three hours of television at a time–and having more time didn’t change that. But I’ve still managed to get through a decent amount of content. Of the shows I’ve watched, one of my faves has been a German Neflix series, Dark.
The description on Netflix for this show reads, “A missing child sets four families on a frantic hunt for answers as they unearth a mind-bending mystery that spans three generations.” I don’t think that does it justice. It’s a well-acted, well-crafted, grounded, riveting, tangle of a sci-fi mystery. It’s one of those shows I can’t even describe much without spoilers, so I won’t say too much here. But I will say that it involves one of my favourite things: time travel.
I’ve loved time travel since I was a kid watching Back to the Future and Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure with my parents and reading “A Tale of Time City” by Diana Wynne Jones and “A Wrinkle In Time” on repeat. I’ve loved it through Doctor Who and About Time and Fringe and The Umbrella Academy and Primeval and countless other books and tv shows and movies in the time since. I’ve loved multiple variations of time travel in multiple genres for what feels like my whole life.
I don’t know what it is that draws me to time travel. I do love history and I’ve been a history nerd since I first started reading. There are a lot of time travel stories that get very historical, going back in time to known eras and even referencing real events or artefacts. But that’s not every time travel story. I love puzzles and mysteries; there’s something so satisfying about putting pieces together, having that “aha” moment, and watching a well crafted story unfold. But that’s not every time travel story either. I love science, and space, and the logistics I might not totally understand. But not every time travel story has those either.
Maybe it’s the possibility I love. I love that I can go into a time travel narrative and not be sure what kind of time travel I’m going to get (will it be a closed loop? Is it butterfly effect? is it more contained, or far reaching?). I love that there’s so many possibilities narratively–things can happen that you could otherwise only dream of. I love stories that take scientific or mathematical theories and push them just a bit further into speculative reality, and I love stories where it’s all magic or handwaved away. I love stories like Doctor Who where every person and place and event in time and space is up for grabs, and I love stories like Dark where it’s all wrapped up in the history of one small town.
To get back to Dark, there’s not much more that I can say other than I love this show, and I’m sadly not even getting paid to say it. I finished the series last night and today drew up a whole time travel related chart. This show has literally turned me into the red string pepesilvia meme.
If this is something you’re interested in, I would absolutely recommend it. There are three seasons of about 8-10 episodes each, and it’s available on Netflix both dubbed and with subtitles (unless you are seriously seeing impaired, I would highly recommend the subtitled version, the actors are so good and also you can convince yourself that you are learning German.) I should warn that Dark lives up to it’s name–it can get really damn bleak, and there are realistic depictions of death, violence, and suicide. But if you can handle it, I would give it a try this winter. Maybe you will even feel as strongly about it as I do.