Fear and loathing in The Twilight Zone – the reboot
Dark is the kind of show that you can’t second-screen with – you need to devote all of your attention to the large ensemble cast and time travelling scenes. It’s the kind of show that draws you so deep into its depths, you won’t want to scroll through social media while watching.
It’s devilishly clever storytelling at its best. Season 1 was a mystery that unfurled slowly as you pieced together how the different characters are connected in the small town of Winden, where children are mysteriously disappearing. Everything and everyone is connected. In fact, you’ll want to keep this guide handy.
If your mind felt a bit like a pretzel after Season 1, get ready for more loops, bends and knots. Season 2 picks up six months after the events of Season 1, with Jonas (Louis Hofmann) stuck in the future, where Winden has been destroyed by an apocalyptic event (remember that nuclear power station looming above the town?).
“Now I have another grandma, and she’s the principal of my school! Her husband, who’s fucking my mom, is looking for his son, who’s my father! A few days ago, I kissed my aunt!” – Jonas, Season 1, episode 8
This future time-line is a fourth time period to be introduced, with the story now being told across four times, in keeping with the 33-year cycle introduced in Season 1.
Characters travel between 1953, 1986, 2019 and 2052. Time paradoxes abound, and the Casual Loop Paradox is introduced.
Some interesting new characters are introduced, like Sylvester Groth’s Clausen, who’s heading up the special investigation unit, looking into the strange disappearances plaguing the town of Winden. Clausen seems to voice what viewers feel while watching Dark, and his recurrent “what the f**k is wrong with this town?” utterances lighten the tone.
The generally sombre tone is fitting, though, as Season 2 explores the deeper themes of good versus evil, fate and interconnectedness. Time travel is used as a means to get characters to key points, without weighing down the plot explaining the nitty-gritty possibilities that other time-travelling shows get stuck on.
Make no mistake: Season 2 ups the ante, with more WTAF moments than Season 1.
Creators Baran bo Odar and Jantje Friese seem to have an end-goal in mind, and are expertly weaving the story of this small doomed German town.
Dark is a complex, mind-knotting story that is beautifully told. It’s worth the time you’ll devote following its twists, trying to guess where it’s heading, and who’s connected to whom (or even who’s who at any given time), even with the occasionally frustrating English dubbing.
Seasons 1 and 2 are available for streaming on Netflix, with Season 3 having been confirmed.