5 Reasons You Should Be Watching Dark

Dept. of Needful Listicles


Netflix’s Dark recently wrapped up its third and final season and I’m here to tell you why it deserves to be watched by a lot more people. Dark tells the story of Jonas Kahnwald and the town of Winden following the aftermath of a kidnapped child. First released in 2017, Dark came at me like a storm. I recently rewatched the first 18 episodes (seasons one and two) again with my wife, before the both of us binged on season three. It was incredible. Which is why I decided to come up with these five, over-generalised reasons, as to why you really should be on this. 

But first, a word of warning. This isn’t some deep-dive-timeline-tracking-storyline-breakdown list. Unlike my esteemed colleague, I harbour no illusions of being able to do that. This list is purely for those who haven’t seen Dark and are curious about it. That is my target audience. The ones that have no idea what they’re in for.

The simplest way to explain Dark without giving too much away is that it is a cross between Stranger Things and Back to the Future. It’s possibly even a little Lynchian. Just way more mature than any of those things. And also a little fucked up.

In terms of its execution, Dark isn’t new. It plays along with a lot of the same rules as other pieces of fiction and, as an educated audience member, you will see it. But you never feel short changed. Dark isn’t a romance/time travel, or a thriller/murder mystery, or a father/son drama, or a generational secret/thriller. It is all of that. It’s all of that and so much more.

Dark doesn’t cheapen its execution. Dark doesn’t pull any punches. It knows that you know the rules, so the series plays along with it, and yet all of its payoffs are so well done that you can’t help but still gasp/punch the air/grab your partner’s arm. The series has some truly dark (no pun intended), twisted, messed up reveals that come at you like a truck.

None of them, however, are done for the sake of “shock-value.” All the big “WHAT THE FUCK???!!!” moments are well worth it. They both stem from these characters and serve the story as a whole.

Whether it confirms a suspicion or absolutely blindsides you, Dark’s reveals are writing at its best. Rewatching the show from the first episode, all of the story threads are so well set up and planted, that everything feels earned. Nothing is uncalled for. Each preceding season doesn’t feel like a reaction or an escalation of the previous one. It doesn’t feel like a game of one-upmanship. The entire three season arc feels so well plotted and so tight that, at the end, my wife and I were left breathless and hunched over pieces of paper plotting character arcs.

What we realised was that all of it was perfect. No loopholes. No plot holes. Watching the show’s plot fall into place was just a marvel. Also if you’re concerned about the “one-inch tall barrier” of subtitles, don’t be. The writing is so good that the experience of watching Dark is very much like reading a very good book. Except with beautiful imagery and an amazing musical score.

Okay. You’ve gotten this far. You’re now considering starting on your Dark journey. Allow me impart to you two pieces of advice. 

  1. Get a partner/gang/posse!

Rewatching the show with my wife gave me a different experience from when I first watched Dark by myself. There’s another ear, another pair of eyes, another perspective, and that makes the experience, the twists and turns of the show, all that more fun. There were many a time when we’d pause an episode to just let a moment sink in. Or pause an episode to let a moment come up for air. There was also someone else to scream “WHAT THE FUCK???!!!” with and someone else to help pick up each other’s jaw. You don’t need to be watching it physically together (it’s not that kind of show), but have someone who’s watching it with you so that you can discuss episodes and moments with.

The show first debuted in 2017 so the people who saw it then may have a tough time recounting what you’ve only just seen. So grab a friend.

  1. Grab some paper and a pen!

There are two ways to consume Dark. You could watch it passively and just let things happen. Or, you could be like Holmes and Watson, and keep track of everyone and everything. I think that second option is better. Trust me when I tell you that there will be things that come back around and knock you off your seat. Having a reference point for all that will make recounting it (to your friend, or even just running it over in your mind) all the more satisfying. (PROTIP: Take down ALL THE NAMES. EVERYONE’S NAMES. And come up with character identifying factors just to help you along.)

Dark is set in the picturesque (mostly) fictional German town of Winden. From its outdoor, nature setting, to the gorgeous German country homes that everyone lives in, Dark has got production value in spades. But for a story that, in Netflix’s own words, “spans three generations,” the show’s production design team really earned their keep. Wardrobe, set dressing, cars and houses, Dark really went above and beyond in ensuring accuracy in everything that appears on screen. From details like roads (early Winden roads were of course traditional cobblestone) and street lights, the attention to detail must have required a Lord of the Rings style army of production designers.

Dark is an amazing series. The way it tells its story, over 3 seasons and 26 episodes, is nothing short of perfection. My hope is for more of you to watch it and experience it. Dark is truly a masterclass in television production. From it’s perfect story plotting, satisfying character arcs, and beautiful production design, Dark really deserves a big audience. If you’re a fan of good stories, then you have to watch Dark. We’ll catch up once you have.

Netflix, 3 seasons, 26 episodes
Created by: Baran bo Odar and Jantje Friese
Cast: Louis Hofmann, Andreas Pietschmann, Dietrich Hollinderbäumer, Sebastian Rudolph, Ella Lee, Maja Schöne, Lena Urzendowsky, Anne Ratte-Polle, Angela Winkler, Lisa Vicari, Moritz Jahn, Daan Lennard Liebrenz, Oliver Masucci, Jördis Triebel, Gina Alice Stiebitz, Stephan Kampwirth, Karoline Eichhorn, Julika Jenkins, and Lisa Kreuzer

All three seasons of Dark are now streaming on Netflix.

Bahir likes to review movies because he can watch them at special screenings and not have to interact with large groups of people who may not agree with his idea of what a movie going experience is. Bahir likes jazz, documentaries, Ken Burns, and summer blockbuster movies. He really hopes that the HBO MAX Green Lantern series will help the character be cool again. Also don’t get him started on Jason Momoa’s Aquaman (#NotMyArthurCurry).

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