Dark, a somber intergenerational time-travel drama, is the first Netflix original series to be produced in Germany. It’s first season recently landed on the streaming service, and Irish broadcaster and lifelong science fiction fan Ruairi Carroll was immediately taken with the show.
“It’s something I haven’t seen in a long time,” Carroll says in Episode 294 of the Geek’s Guide to the Galaxy podcast. “I was sucked in, and I loved every single second of it.”
But fantasy author Erin Lindsey warns that Dark, with its convoluted sci-fi plot and dozens of characters, may not be for everyone. “I think it rewards a patient viewer,” she says, “and perhaps a more experienced viewer—by which I mean someone more experienced in sci-fi.”
Screenwriter Rafael Jordan enjoyed the show but was confused about many aspects of the story. “There’s obviously a level of J.J. Abrams ‘mystery box’ stuff going on here, where they’re probably just throwing some stuff at the wall and they don’t necessarily have all the answers,” he says. “It’s hard to sustain a show this mysterious over the long run.”
Geek’s Guide to the Galaxy host David Barr Kirtley agrees that following up the first season of Dark is going to be a challenge, given how complicated and overwhelming the story has already become.
“I can’t imagine that they had super-high expectations that they were going to get a second season,” he says. “I suspect they’re going to be kind of scrambling to throw together the second season, and it’s not going to be satisfying.”
Listen to our complete interview with Ruairi Carroll, Erin Lindsey, and Rafael Jordan in Episode 294 of Geek’s Guide to the Galaxy (above). And check out some highlights from the discussion below.
David Barr Kirtley on the Dark intro:
“Netflix gives you the option to skip the intro, but I never skipped it. I was mesmerized by it every single time, and now I’ve watched it like 50 times, because I watched the whole show twice, and then I just watched the intro even more times just for fun. … So I really liked the intro, but I wonder if, just for clarity, if the intro should have been panning over that wall—that we see at the beginning in the bunker—with [photos of] all the characters with string connecting them. And then every episode you would have seen all the characters in all the different timelines, and maybe that would have helped keep it all straight.”
Erin Lindsey on Dark vs. Stranger Things:
“I’m not sure where the ‘German Stranger Things‘ [thing] came from, whether that’s just sort of word-of-mouth buzz or whether that was a deliberate marketing ploy by Netflix, but I almost think it’s a shame, because that’s certainly the buzz that I had heard about it—everyone was referring to it as ‘the German Stranger Things,’ and I don’t think the show is done any favors by that. I think the resemblances to Stranger Things are largely quite superficial, and rooted in plot points that you could find in a whole host of other properties, and I think in tone and overall vibe it really could not be more different.”
Erin Lindsey on dubbing:
“It’s not just that watching the subtitles is better in terms of the actor performances, and how genuine that comes across, but the sound mixing is different in the dubbed version. So even though the music is the same and the sound effects are the same, it sort of reminded me of playing one of those videogames where you can separately toggle the volume of the dialogue versus the music versus the sound of your sword or your gun or whatever. It sounded like somebody had done a really bad job of that, and so some of the music comes across as really bombastic and intrusive in the English version, so that it becomes kind of corny—even though it’s the same music.”
David Barr Kirtley on characterization:
“Even though I thought that the character Magnus really was not necessary for the story at all, I’m going to put in a good word for him. Because I was reading a review of this show that I thought made a really good point, which is that in Stranger Things all the characters are kind of types—you know, it’s like this guy’s ‘the jock,’ and this guy’s ‘the weird kid,’ and whatever. And Magnus isn’t a type. There were a lot of characters like that that just seemed like real people, in a way that you often don’t see in American shows.”