The creators of 'Dark' bring mysterious new international series '1899' to Netflix (TIFF review)
'Dark' was a fascinating German Netflix series that was a hit with viewers all over the world. And now its creators are back with a big international production, which (in its first two episodes at least) fully takes place on the open sea, on a steamship with many international passengers traveling from Europe to New York in the year (hence the name) 1899.
For viewers of 'Dark' the vibe will be pretty familiar. Although in '1899' every single person on the ship seems to carry a secret, and much of what's happening is a big mystery as well - as in: it's 'Darker'.
To not spoil too much of the mystery the setting is a big steamship with over 1600 passengers who eagerly want to get to New York. On their way however, the crew receives a signal with just coordinates. A signal they think is from another ship that has been missing for months.
Again, the mystery is much of the story here. And without spoiling all of it, the missing ship adds to this mystery as well.
The cast is a company of fine actors from all over Europe, where one of the main characters, the captain of the ship, will be a familiar face from 'Dark'. Most speak their own language, which works surprisingly well and natural, compared to the generally accepted Hollywood solution to give every country a lame English accent.
In spectacle and special effects the creators upped the ante as well compared to their previous project. The two ships make it feel quite epic, like a 'Death on the Nile' type of deal. And there's definitely more striking cinematography in this series too.
After seeing two episodes it's hard to judge if '1899' is something to stick around for however. The episodes were captivating and well executed, but at the same time there's too much unexplained and it's hard to see where it's going.
With shows like 'Dark' or 'Lost' so many years ago, it's easy to drop off at some point when the plot keeps adding mystery on mystery. And when a series like this starts explaining itself, a lot of the mystery driving the story might get lost too.
With 'Dark' running for several seasons the creators have quite some experience with this problem already though. And '1899' might be another series worth binging on Netflix later this year.
The first two episodes of '1899' had their world premiere at #TIFF22