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New German-language Netflix series Dark is the crime mystery time travel series you never knew you needed

Creators Baran bo Odar and Jantje Friese tease the new series set to be on everyone's lips

Jacob Stolworthy
Thursday 30 November 2017 16:37
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Netflix's Dark - trailer

New Netflix series Dark is literally two shows for the price of one.

“There were two concepts we really liked," creators Baran bo Odar and Jantje Friese state ahead of the brand new Netflix series. "One was a crime series we developed for Channel 4 and another was a feature film. So those two things were lying on the table and we were like, ‘You know what? Let’s mix it up.’ We pitched it to Netflix and they liked it.”

The series sees the lives of four families thrown into turmoil following the disappearance of two young children in a German town, an event which - through means that won't be spoiled here - propels them across varying periods of time. Dark is the kind of series that is willing to show an adult in the 80s sharing screen time with younger versions of the same characters they will go on to meet in the future. Dishing out Nordic noir-style grit with Lost-sized cliffhangers, Dark is a Rubik's cube of mystery masterfully combining two genres - one of which is pure and simple time travel.

Stranger Things this is not.

“We didn’t do the pop cultural reference thing,” Friese says when discussing their approach to the show's sci-fi elements. "We really just delved more into the scientific aspect of it - read a lot about Einstein, Hawking… The important thing is the question of free will versus determinism because when you play with time travel you have to decide which side you’re on - you can either change things in the past or you can’t. Setting up the rules was the one important thing."

Odar elaborates: “We like to follow a character who goes to the past to change the future [and so] we’re raising the questions of what’s there first: the chicken or the egg? and the only answer we as human beings can give is that they have to be there at the same time because there is no real answer to it. If you do have an answer, you’d know if God exists or not.”

Having created a series that will no doubt capture the attention of fellow showrunners, the conversation flows to TV shows the writing duo have recently enjoyed themselves. Considering Dark's titular tone, one unsurprising name is mentioned by Odar.

“I really really loved David Fincher's new show, Mindhunter. I was really surprised [by it] - it’s such a smart show with people talking in rooms about highly philosophical human questions.”

Friese agrees, citing true crime series Making a Murderer as a recent high point.

“It’s the first thing I watched in three days - my first heavy binge-watching experience,” she declares.

Odar laughs. “Basically we love serial killers.”

David Fincher directed three episodes of crime series 'Mindhunter'

Dark can sit alongside both as a show that subverts viewers' expectations while simultaneously appeasing fans of the genres it tackles.

Having previously collaborated on hacking drama Who Am I? in 2014, the duo have crafted a taut must-see filled with rising stars (Louis Hofmann) and a pulsating score courtesy of Fortitude's Ben Frost (just wait for the closing credits). Dark is mystery crime saga, time travel mind-bender and a very likely contender for your next binge watch.

Dark is available to watch on Netflix from 1 December

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