Friday, July 31, 2020

'Dark' Season Three by Jantje Friese and Baran bo Odar

31 July 2020

I’ve written here before about my enthusiasm for ‘Dark’ – the German language Netflix science-fiction/time-travel thriller written by Jantje Friese and directed by Baran bo Odar (reviewed here in December 2017). This week we finished watching the third and final season and it was brilliant. I should warn you that ‘Dark’ is probably the most complicated TV serial I have ever watched – and some might find it frustratingly impenetrable. Something is badly wrong with the small town of Winden in southern Germany, where residents frequently seem to find themselves slipping back 33 years in time (to 1986 but also to 1953, 1920 etc), usually with no means of return to the present. In the past they then encounter their neighbours, parents, grandparents and earlier versions of themselves and (remarkably frequently) end up having children with people they really shouldn’t, for all sorts of reasons. This leads the viewer to spend most of the time trying to work out whether this character’s mother is also his great great great grandmother etc. Indeed by season three Winden is uncannily like Ambridge in that everyone now seems to belong to the same extended family. Happily Netflix has provided an amazing website (and app) which allows you to explore the various family tree branches – but (by first choosing which episode you are up to) with no spoilers (see: Bizarrely season three, which, in addition to the multiple time-frames, introduces the concept of several parallel universe versions of Winden, actually seems to make the plot easier to follow. And while I’m not sure I fully understood everything, the finale manages to tie up most of the loose ends. As well as the ridiculously complicated plot, ‘Dark’ boasts some great acting and incredible casting: the actors playing the same characters at different ages all look eerily believable. ‘Dark’ is definitely not going to be everyone’s cup of tea – but I loved it.

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