The more I know, the less I understand may seem like a problematic mantra for Netflix’s Original Dark but with each episode I’m entranced with the endless possibilities found within the supernatural drama. One moment I believe that I’ve figured out what will happen next in the series but suddenly I’m thrown for a loop as the characters develop through troubling realizations, completely changing the world within the Winden Community. The audience’s emotions are immediately thrown for a loop as we are introduced to the world via the misery and numbness of the town as a character takes their own life.
The atmosphere of Winden is masterfully crafted through panoramic shots of the environment surrounding the nuclear power plant, providing the audience with an understanding of the vast forest landscape around Winden.
Sticking true to its title and German influences, Dark, casts a dark shadow across an array of characters as they attempt to cope with crisis within their own town. Day in and day out Winden is showered with pouring rain. This rain portrays the onslaught of darkness that consumes the town, the trembles, the flashing lights, and the missing children. Each time the news of another child going missing wears down on the town and its inhabitants, causing them to grow more suspicious of its neighbors, spouses, and parents.
I won’t delve any deeper into the show as I don’t wish to spoil any of Dark’s intricate plot lines to those that haven’t had the chance to start it. Many critics and viewers saw many similarities between Stranger Things and Dark but trust me when I say these two shows are nothing alike, although there are quite a few times that Dark pokes fun at Stranger Things. When approaching Dark you need to understand that you’re in for a mind bending ride that may not provide all the answers you wish for but know that your perception of reality and time will be questioned.
Lastly I’ll be decoding Dark by utilizing John Fiske’s “Code’s of Television.” Fiske’s code includes three levels, level one: reality, level two: representation, and finally, level three: ideology.
‘Reality’ – Country of origin: Germany, combination of modern, future, and past setting including aspects of each era.
‘Representation’ (Technical Codes) – Modern electric music, rock, and ensemble. Long pans across the vast environment can be found throughout with tightly edited scenes during dialogue. Dark environments portray the grim world found in Dark with much of the show featuring dim lighting, overcast, nighttime scenes, and rainfall.
‘Ideology’ – The Netflix Original Dark can be digested in a multitude of ways depending on the individual analyzing the media text along with the rhetoric infused in the story. My particular belief is that Dark is a story of growing old and the understanding of the lack of control we have in some instances of our lives. The years continue to compound on top of one another and we convince ourselves that we are making some sort of “progress” in life, yearning for a sign that we are on the right path while there be no absolute path.
Dark prods the audience to question time and the simple definition that the world provides us of it, and the effects it may have on our future, present, and past. How are each of these interlaced with one another? Are we truly in the present while the past has already taken place or are is everything happening at once?
Lastly, Dark attempts to convince the audience that it is not the past that changes the present and future but it is the present, past, and future that is having an effect on all timelines. This being said, Dark does make an argument for the effects the past have on us by unearthing secular facts about the characters throughout the show, and how these choices made by them shaped the world of Dark.
I’m excited to return to Netflix’s Dark as I search for more clues to piece together a story unlike any I’ve seen before. Upon my second viewing my perspective may change on the show and I hope my understanding of the rhetoric evolves along with my viewing. I hope you all take the time to give Dark a chance and dive deep into the dark city of Winden.
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