A Drop in the Ocean: On the Three Seasons of Netflix’s Mesmerizing Dark | TV/Streaming


“Dark” premiered on Netflix in 2017 (looking initially like a German “Stranger Things”), and centered around a nuclear power plant in a small town, a group of wily teenagers attempting to save the world, and a sense of foreboding hovering around this world created by Baran bo Odar and Jantje Friese. “Dark” started as a mystery of a missing boy, and then transformed into a story focused on the precious nature of time, the heartbreaking realizations of love, and the knot-like connection between our friends, our family, our decisions, and every person that floats in and out of our lives. 

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Season three picks up right where season two left off, with Jonas (Louis Hofmann) and Martha (Lisa Vicari) beginning another journey. After Jonas’ version of her gets shot, a new, and much sleeker, Martha whisks Jonas away to an alternate world, one in which he’s never been born. In this second world, there’s still an apocalypse, yet Martha is the main character of this universe, as seen by her wearing Jonas’s yellow rain jacket, a signifying thread throughout the series. Jonas must race, and decide to, stop the impending doom, and convince several groups of people that all the events in seasons one and two were feasible, giving audiences a refresher as well. 

Spanning three centuries and multiple past and present versions of each character, “Dark” demands attention. You can’t look down at your phone, be on your computer, be making dinner, or have any sense of detachment in order to fully enjoy the show. At one point, we see four versions of the same person in the same room. It’s a challenging journey that the showrunners are forcing you to experience, pushing you to play catchup right alongside these townspeople. 

The season-three set pieces are gorgeous, as the German show remains fantastic on a technical level. The camerawork goes from feeling hectic and nervy to slow, steady, and measured several times throughout each episode. It’s disorienting, just like the layered narrative it’s depicting. Hoffman’s performance continues to be top-tier, especially from a young actor. Every stare he gives has the weight of two seasons, and hundreds of lifetimes he’s now lived. The score brings a constant dread and impending doom, which in the “Dark” universe, rarely fades into the background. 



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