"The distinction between past, present and future is only a stubbornly persistent illusion" ― Albert Einstein[source]
Dark is a German language Netflix original supernatural family drama series scheduled for global release on December 1, 2017.

Premise Edit

In the German small town Winden, the disappearance of two young children exposes the double lives and fractured relationships among four families. The story takes on a supernatural twist that ties back to the same town in 1986.[1]

Episodes Edit

# Title Director Writers
1 "Secrets" Baran bo Odar Jantje Friese & Baran bo Odar
2 "Lies" Jantje Friese & Ronny Schalk
3 "Past and Present" Jantje Friese & Marc O. Seng
4 "Double Lives" Martin Behnke & Jantje Friese
5 "Truths" Martin Behnke & Jantje Friese
6 "Sic Mundus Creatus Est" Jantje Friese & Ronny Schalk
7 "Crossroads" Jantje Friese & Marc O. Seng
8 "As You Sow, so You Shall Reap" Martin Behnke & Jantje Friese
9 "Everything Is Now" Jantje Friese & Marc O. Seng
10 "Alpha and Omega" Jantje Friese & Ronny Schalk

Cast Edit

Development Edit

Background Edit

The series was created by Swiss director Baran bo Odar and German writer Jantje Friese, with Odar directing and Friese writing. It was produced by Quirin Berg, Max Wiedemann and Justyna Müsch. All of them had previously collaborated on the 2014 film Who Am I, which grossed $6 million at the local box office and won three German Movie Awards and the Bambi for “Best German Film.”[2][3]

Netflix approached Odar and Friese after seeing Who Am I at the Toronto Film Festival in 2014, asking if they could make a series out of it. Reluctant to repeat themselves, Odar and Friese instead pitched other ideas to Netflix, one of which was Dark.[4]

Dark was Netflix's first original series entirely authored, shot and produced in Germany.[2] The move into German television drama was part of the company's global strategy, where they hoped to attract more foreign subscribers and boost their library of originals worldwide.[3]

Odar and Friese felt that German television was associated with something ugly and sad, and that all German series were either thrillers or crimes. They wanted to create something of a higher quality for an universal audience. They were inspired by the Scandinavian genre Nordic Noir.[5]

Writing Edit

Initially, Dark was an idea for a crime show they had written two years prior to being contacted by Netflix. They had another idea for a time travel feature film and they combined the two ideas.[6]

Having grown up in a small town themselves, the creators had a fascination with the subject of the darkness hiding behind closed doors in a small town. David Lynch's Twin Peaks, which deals with the same topic, shaped them in their teenage years.[5] They were also inspired by their childhoods in German small towns during the Chernobyl nuclear disaster, when release of radioactive materials spread fears of contamination.[7] Other influences are Stephen King and David Lynch.[6]

There are 72 characters in the series, including three different actors for the same character across three different time periods. Friese said structuring it was a "complex task."[6]

Before its release, the series was often compared to Stranger Things based on its premise and partial 1980s setting. However, Dark was already in pre-production when Stranger Things premiered and the series is much darker and not for kids.[6] Friese stated they enjoyed the comparisons, saying: "It’s really exciting because if all those people who watched Stranger Things will at least think about watching Dark, I think that’s a great opportunity for us."[4]

Some details had to be changed for the international audience to understand it. For example, some instances of sarcasm in dialogue did not translate well to English because of the difference in tone. However, Netflix were okay with keeping some things which only Germans would understand, as long as the overall narrative worked for everyone.[7]

Casting Edit

Netflix's backing allowed the creators to cast whoever they pleased, including unknown actors. Netflix told the filmmakers, "We don't really know German actors -- just get the best ones."[8] Bo Odar praised the creative freedom they got from Netflix. He said: "We could cast whoever we wanted, the actors who fit best for the role. Netflix gave us a budget and a couple of notes and let us do it."[9]

Production Edit

Filming Edit

Principal photography commenced on October 18, 2016 and lasted for six months until it wrapped on April 8, 2017. There were a total of 151 shooting days including second unit shoots.[10] Odar directed all ten episodes.

Filming took place in Berlin and the surrounding areas.[11] Much of it was done on location during winter, with many of the scenes set in rain. Actor Louis Hoffman said it was hard to always be cold and wet.[4]

The series was filmed in 4K High Definition on a special Alexa 65 camera.[12]

Music Edit

The series was scored by Michael Kamm, who had previously worked with Odar on his feature films The Silence (2010), Who Am I (2014) and Sleepless (2017).[13]

Marketing and release Edit

Netflix announced on February 24, 2016 that they had ordered ten, hour-long episodes of the series scheduled for release in late 2017.[2] Jantje Friese stated "The way Dark was embraced by Netflix was extraordinary. We’re so happy to be making this show in Germany for Netflix subscribers around the world to enjoy."[2]

The first 1-minute teaser was released on March 1, 2017. Another 1-minute teaser was released on October 4, announcing the release date: December 1, 2017. The full, 2-minute trailer was released on November 9 along with the official poster.[14]

TIFF 2017

Toronto International Film Festival 2017.

The series premiered at the 2017 Toronto International Film Festival, with screenings of two episodes on September 9 and September 11.[15][16] Creators bo Odar and Friese, actor Louis Hoffman (Jonas) and producers Quirin Berg and Justyna Müsch attended the festival.

In Germany, the first three episodes were screened to the public in cinemas in November. The lead actors and producers attended a special event at the Zoo Palast.[12]

Reception Edit

Based on the teasers and trailer, Dark drew comparisons to Stranger Things, Twin Peaks, The Killing, The Missing, The Returned.[17][18][19][20] Writers particularly took note of the similarities with Stranger Things, another Netflix original series with a missing child storyline and 1980s setting.[21][22][23][24][25][26]

References Edit

  1. "Dark" Netflix Media Center.
  3. 3.0 3.1 "Netflix Confirms First German Series 'Dark' From Baran bo Odar" The Hollywood Reporter. February 24, 2016.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 "‘Dark’ Creators Baran bo Odar & Jantje Friese Talk ‘Stranger Things’ Comparisons: “Keep Comparing It” — Toronto Studio" Deadline. September 11, 2017.
  5. 5.0 5.1 "Wir gucken nicht so gerne „Tatort“" Stuttgarter Nachrichten. November 17, 2017.
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 "Why is everyone comparing Netflix’s new series Dark to Stranger Things?" RadioTimes. November 30, 2017.
  7. 7.0 7.1 "With ‘Dark,’ a German Netflix Series, Streaming Crosses a New Border" The New York Times. November 23, 2017.
  8. "Netflix goes 'Dark' in teaser for German supernatural drama" Cnet. March 1, 2017.
  9. "Netflix Previews European Series 'Dark,' 'Suburra' and 'Cable Girls' in Berlin" The Hollywood Reporter. March 1, 2017.
  10. "THAT'S A WRAP!" Baran bo Odar on Twitter. April 8, 2017.
  12. 12.0 12.1 "Erste deutsche Netflix-Serie "Dark"-Premiere bringt Zoo Palast zum Toben" Berliner Kurier. November 21, 2017.
  13. "Michael Kamm Scoring Netflix’s ‘Dark’" Film Music Reporter. July 5, 2017.
  14. "Netflix’s New Series Dark Gets an Official Trailer and Poster" Dread Central. November 12, 2017.
  15. "Toronto Adds Films From Aaron Sorkin, Louis C.K., Brie Larson" Variety. August 15, 2017.
  16. "Dark" tiff. Retrieved on November 11, 2017.
  17. "‘Dark’ Trailer: Netflix’s First German Series Looks like ‘Stranger Things’ With a Darker Twist" Slash Film. March 1, 2017.
  18. "Netflix Debuts Trailer For German Thriller Dark" Den of Geek. March 1, 2017.
  20. "It's Twin Peaks meets Stranger Things meets It: Netflix's Dark gets a trailer and a 2017 release date" Games Radar. October 4, 2017.
  21. "Netflix's New Series Dark Looks Like the Scarier German Version of Stranger Things" io9. March 1, 2017.
  22. "Dark: Netflix's new German-language drama series looks terrifying" Independent. March 14, 2017.
  23. "Watch the first trailer for Dark - Netflix's new foreign language Original series you don't want to miss" Games Radar. March 1, 2017.
  24. "New Netflix series ‘Dark’ has some serious ‘Stranger Things’ vibes" Timeout. March 1, 2017.
  25. "‘Dark’ Trailer: Netflix Presents Germany’s Answer to ‘Stranger Things’" IndieWire. October 4, 2017.
  26. "Netflix New Series Looks Like The Scariest TV Show Ever" Esquire. October 6, 2017.