Dark is, far and away, the best thing Netflix has ever released. Sure, I haven’t watched every single Netflix original but Dark exemplifies a quality of filmmaking that goes above and beyond any regular streaming fare. The cinematography, casting, directing, acting, and writing are all master classes in filmmaking. Today, however, I’ll just focus on the impact Dark will have on the future of Netflix.
Dark was created by partners Baran bo Odar and Jantje Friese; its first season was released in late 2017 on Netflix. At the time, the marketing around the show set it up as the “German Stranger Things.” This marketing strategy was a bad choice, I believe, because it set up Dark as something it’s not. Sure, there are elements that touch on 80s nostalgia and there is a strange, sci-fi aspect to the show but this doesn’t mean both shows are the same and should be grouped in the same category. Dark can seem a bit odd to average viewers for the mere fact that it’s an original German time travel drama.
Dark came to life thanks to Netflix’s $1.75 Billion investment in European productions. This investment, which was announced by Netflix CEO Reed Hastings back in early 2017, gave birth to Dark. The first season of the show was met with critical praise but other Netflix originals seemed to take over the public’s interest.
Dark came and went; there was little to no news about the show for almost two years until, in late June 2019, the second season was uploaded to Netflix. Now, this news came as a surprise to me because I simply assumed Netflix quietly canceled the show and decided to never speak about it again. Since they don’t release viewing numbers, knowing if a certain show is successful or not is literally a mystery. Regardless, the second season did come out and a third and final one is currently in its first week of production.
So, why aren’t more people talking about Dark? It has the convoluted family politics of Game of Thrones, an incredibly engaging (and mind-bending) sci-fi elements that outshine other, more popular shows (such as Stranger Things), and hints of social commentary and fear reminiscent of Black Mirror. These are just the tip of the iceberg; deep within Dark reside so many other distinct elements that make this show stand above the rest of Netflix’s pantheon.
But season two came and went as quietly as its first “cycle” (creators Odar and Friese refer to the seasons as cycles which I personally love) but barely a peep could be heard among the countless news and media sites that write about streaming shows. It’s bittersweet, in a way. This gem of a show is fast on its way to becoming a cult classic in the same vein as Twin Peaks. Sure, Dark might be just a bit too involved and convoluted for regular watching and it’s in German so most of the viewing audience might simply skip the show entirely based on these two factors. Those who have tried the show might’ve fallen off after the first episode due to disliking the main cast or simply not caring enough about how the story was unfolding.
But who knows. Dark could be Netflix’s most-viewed foreign original (which I doubt, since Black Mirror is technically British) but you never know. At least we know the creators are currently working on the final cycle of Dark which is set to be released sometime next year. We can thank Netflix for investing a small fraction of their worldwide gross into the creation of spellbinding, original content that couldn’t have come to life or reached as large an audience anywhere else. I could write four or five different articles about Dark, and I think I might! This was just an introduction/rambling of my thoughts on this show but I’d like to delve deeper into the plot itself, the questions that need answers, what the future (hehe) might hold for the residents of Winden, and so much more. If you’ve read this far, I thank you profusely.
Sic Mundus Creates Est