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DARK Is the Existential Sci-Fi Series You Should Be Watching

The final cycle is upon us. On June 27, Dark, Netflix’s first original German TV production, returns for its third and final season, wrapping up a thrilling existential journey through time and space. Often referred to as the German Stranger Things, the series revolves around the disappearance of a young boy in a sleepy town, setting off a chain of events that rocks the community. But beyond its loose premise, Dark couldn’t be more different. 

A time-traveling epic, Dark is centered around four families in the woodsy German town of Winden, and the way they’re intricately linked throughout three generations. As the mystery deepens and long-held secrets come to light, Winden residents find themselves embroiled in a massive time-travel conspiracy as pawns in a centuries-long battle between good and evil.

Coming in at just three stellar seasons, here are just a few (largely spoiler-free) reasons it’s time to add Dark to your Netflix queue.

It has a thrilling premise
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Julia Terjung/Netflix

The series kicks off with the disappearance of young Mikkel Nielsen in November 2020, during an outing to an eerie cave with his elder siblings and their friends. This particular cave, of course, happens to lead to a wormhole underneath the town’s nuclear power plant. While the disappearance rocks the Winden, as the latest in a string of missing children, it bears a striking resemblance to the mysterious vanishing of Mads Nielsen, Mikkel’s uncle, 33 years prior. The big question isn’t where Mikkel is; it’s when.

The series is grounded in humanity
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Stefan Erhard/Netflix

Dark is a deeply ambitious exploration of the oft-covered time travel genre, but whether the series actually works hinges on its sprawling cast of characters. Dark has a lot of major players—featuring the Tiedemann, Doppler, Nielsen, and Kahnwald families in 1953, 1986, and 2019—but the series never gets bogged down with exposition. Each character serves a specific and important purpose, furthering the narrative and deepening the mystery. Dark never loses focus of its characters, either, keeping their motivations and emotions at the center of the narrative. Specifically, the series masterfully uses grief to fuel character’s decisions, with repercussions reverberating through time. 

It has a consistent depiction of time travel
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Stefan Erhard/Netflix

Time travel is a well-worn concept in film and television. But, oddly, it’s not often that a series adheres to its own rules so diligently. (The rules themselves are relatively spoiler-heavy so I won’t get into specifics—but watch the show and find out!) Its methodology is clear and consistent, which makes the often dense and purposely muddled timeline slightly easier to follow.

Dark also takes a more existential approach to the genre, exploring the relativity of time, and the often cyclical nature of endings and beginnings. Further, the nature of the series’ time travel logic also examines the consequences of trying to change or interfere with the past.

It has a perfectly haunting score
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Netflix

Dark is a delightfully unsettling series, posing major questions about human nature and paradoxes while also rooting us deeply in small town drama. So it’s only fitting that the series is accompanied by an incredibly haunting score. Ben Frost’s eerie score, which often gives off an ominous Twin Peaks vibe, adds a foreboding element to every scene. The score, and use of vocal percussion, keep viewers on their toes—making it the perfectly spooky companion on this existential journey.

Just in time for the (fictional) apocalypse, the final season of Dark comes to Netflix on June 27.

Featured Image: Julia Terjung/Netflix