Anglicanorum Coetibus, Ten Years On
The Novels of David Lodge

Dark (German TV series)

I'm not generally a fan of time-travel stories. They seem to follow the Terminator and Back to the Future patterns, in which someone travels into the past in order to make something happen or not happen in order to change something in the future, and that usually turns into a fairly straightforward adventure or comedy. But this one is richer and more fascinating than most, at least within my not-all-that-extensive experience. That usual pattern does become a factor but I think not until fairly near the end of the first 10-episode series. There is a whole lot more going on.

There are two seasons, and I've recently finished the first. It doesn't by any means end the story, and I'm a little concerned that the second will not do that, either, as a third (at least) is planned. But I'm definitely going to watch it.

Season one, at any rate, involves three points in a 66-year span: 1953, 1986, 2019. That's a 33-year interval, constituting a cycle in which the lunar and solar years are somehow in sync. I'm sorry, but I have not bothered to understand exactly how this works, and it probably doesn't matter. For purposes of the show's mythos, I think it's enough to know that this cycle has cosmic significance. 

The story begins in 2019 and involves, mainly, four families in a small German town. They are connected in complex ways in 2019, and as things develop we see that they have been connected for a long time. There is a constant interweaving of times and characters, of past and present. I'm not even going to attempt an overview. I haven't counted but among four families there must be several dozen people involved, and their interactions are complex even without the added confusion of people moving around in time. 

Moreover, what's going on--the time-travel stuff and various related matters--is conceptually complex (and of course includes some pseudo-scientific mumbo-jumbo which probably doesn't actually make sense). You may find it easier than I did, or more difficult, but for me it became exasperatingly hard to follow at times. But it was also interesting enough that I re-watched parts of it, just to try to understand what was happening.

It's also appropriately named: it's very dark. It's not really explicitly violent, but it involves the deaths of several children, and although their murders are not depicted, their bodies, with horrible injuries to their faces, are shown repeatedly. Also--this is pretty minor, but worth mentioning: the opening includes a brief but pretty explicit sex scene which has absolutely no artistic reason for being so. This is an annoying thing which I've noticed in several shows, which tells me that it's not an accident: start things off with a single attention-grabbing sex scene, and after that just tend to the story and don't do it again. Seems pretty cynical.

It is extremely well-done, and as I say I'm finding it fascinating. So this is a recommendation, but a qualified one, due to the dark subject matter and the complexity. (And yeah I know some people can't deal with subtitles.) This trailer will give you a pretty good feel for it, though it doesn't provide any very definite information. Many of the moments included here are not actually very important to the story. The trailer also allows you to hear part of the gorgeous and extremely appropriate song from the opening titles, which is the work of the German musician Apparat.

Apparently a lot of people are comparing it to Stranger Things, but I don't think that's especially accurate. I think that's probably just because a significant part of it occurs in 1986, providing plenty of opportunity for depicting '80s pop culture and fashion.


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This reminds me of something I have seen before. Teenagers in the woods, something happening that is a repetition of something that happened years before, and maybe more than once. Was it X-Files?


This looks really good, but it's unlikely that I'll see it until it comes out on DVD (if it ever does).

It might. Netflix claims it as one of their shows, and they still have a dvd business.

Janet, that doesn’t ring a bell with me, but that doesn’t mean a whole lot.

Janet -- maybe Stephen King's It? That has teenagers and the repetition of old murders.

It sounds good to me. If its complicated, usually one can find the story on Wiki.

I used Wiki recently to watch Blade Runner, which I've always given up after 10 minutes because I couldn't figure out what was happening, and 2001 a Space Odyssey. We watched both movies in my class. I decided to go all SciFi this year, and we watched Arrival, District 9, 2001, Solaris, Blade Runner and Alien.

I saw 2001 when it came out, with friends of my parents. I remembered HAL turning into a child and that is all. 'Turned into a child' is something like the expression my father used when he explained the movie to me after we saw it. Engineers of his generation (he worked on Apollo) were very fascinated by computer intelligence.

HAL remains to me the most interesting depiction of machine intelligence in sci-fi, because he doesn’t simply become human. Also because of the reason for his misbehavior, which you don’t learn until one of the later books or movies.

That’s a really good selection of movies.

I've seen 2001 either three or four times. First in 1968(? or 69) when it came out. I more or less understood it, only because I had read some Arthur C. Clarke stuff that depicted a similar aliens-come-to-teach-and-save-us theme. Then once or twice in the video rental store era, and then once more relatively recently, from Netflix. That will most likely be the last time. I still think it's among the best sci-fi movies ever made (I used to say *the* best). But it's begun to look really dated in a lot of ways. It didn't help that I watched it with my wife, who made sarcastic remarks about people running around in ape suits.

But I still think the duel with HAL is an absolute classic piece of cinema.

I think you once wrote about it on here? I used WiKI as a backup because of my memory of not really understanding it as an eight year old.

Time travel is really the only kind of fantasy I like So Im thinking I may like Dark, but also that I may need Wiki!

The students had to chose three of those movies, and write one paper on Original Sin, one paper where they found a Christ figure, and one paper on whether/how extra-terrestrials are saved.

I had a great one from a seminarian using 2001 to represent original sin, with a kind of 'fall' through over-reach every time the monolith appears. I had an excellent paper from an MTS student on Solaris about how its all a cycle of repetition without Christ's redemption. She noticed that the music is Bach, 'O Jesu we await thee' or some such. I had some very good ones on Arrival. I had three dreadful papers from the same seminarian finding three heretical movies.

HAL's voice is genuinely spookey. Its really gripping from the point where he lip reads the astronauts deciding to kill him, kills one astronaut, and then in turn is disconnected by the surviving astronaut. I don't know how anyone could find the movie boring.

There is out of date stuff. There are jokes the kids just don't see, like HoJos on the moon. I think all that awful green porridge they eat throughout the movie is a joke - people were constantly talking in those days about what the artificial food of the future would be like. They had no idea we would all be feasting on organic kale. To me the only really dated thing is the psychodelic colours at the end. I thought the monkies were kind of believable. I think our tastes have just become so much more 'naturalistic' as naturalism became more possible.

I thought they were believable, too, but my wife has a droll way of splashing cold water on things like that. Like the time we were watching Wagner's Siegfried, and Siegried is walking back and forth across the stage wondering where the bird songs are coming from, and she calls out "Look in the orchestra pit!"

"Its really gripping from the point where he lip reads the astronauts deciding to kill him..." Right, that's what I was talking about. Beautifully done.

You will definitely need Wiki for Dark, except you have to be able to keep yourself from reading spoilers in the episode summaries. It even has a chart connecting all the people across relationships and time.

I did indeed write about 2001 here. One of my first pieces, and one that I thought worth including in the book.

"HAL's voice is genuinely spookey"

Yes! In fact, that's the only thing I remember about the movie, which I've seen only once and that was not long after it first came out.

When I read this piece yesterday, I was thinking that someone else I knew had written about this series, and then I realized that what I was remembering was reading this piece the day you posted it. Augh!

It would be tempting, but I am trying to avoid "dark" for the present. I don't think I'm even going to watch Man in the High Castle. I couldn't handle the children's faces anyway.


I just watched the first two episodes of season 2 and am feeling kind of frustrated. Just too many threads to keep up with. Also, I looked at the Wikipedia page, and just the cast listing shows some major spoilers. I am not happy to know them and even less happy about the events they reveal.

Went to see Motherless Brooklyn the other night. Very good -- a noir detective movie set in the 50's, and with a very 50's noir feel to it. Surprisingly subdued in the sex and violence departments, which was refreshing. The unique thing about it is that the main character, played by Edward Norton, suffers from Tourette's. Norton also wrote and directed it.

Some critics seem to have found it overly long and/or complicated; to me it was neither. It's about 2 hrs and 20 min, but I thought it was well paced. I think I'd agree with another critic I read who described it as one of those quality adult films that Hollywood seldom makes anymore.

Sounds worthwhile. But not showing here, apparently.

Odd, in that it's fairly new. Maybe it came and went already?

Possibly. But just as likely that it wasn't expected to do well here.

Well, it'll most likely be on streaming or DVD in two weeks anyways. ;-)


What is on is Ford vs Ferrari. I admit I'd sorta like to see that, though I probably won't.

Going to try and see JoJo Rabbit tomorrow. Knives Out and The Irishman also look good.

I think The Irishman is on Netflix. I may watch it, though I'm not a big fan of Mafia studies.

I see that Irishman has a run-time of 3'30". That's a long sit, especially if there's no intermission, so I may just wait for the DVD on that one.

Oh, and Marcella 2 and Unforgotten 3 were both excellent. Hoping to get the latest Line of Duty next.

I can't remember for sure now but I may have liked Marcella 2 better than 1.

I think JoJo Rabbit got a favorable review from National Review, not to mention lots of others. I tend to shy away from movies set in Nazi Germany--they tend to be agonizing and what else is there to say now? But this one is apparently rather different.

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