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You Should Be Watching: 'Dark'

If you seek absorbing, cerebral drama, then take a trip through the shadowy forest to binge-watch Dark. A German-language Netflix original, "Dark" features gorgeous cinematography and a perfectly paced, complex story that mixes horror with science fiction.

Title: "Dark"

Year it began: 2017

Where it can be seen: Netflix

Who’s in it: Louis Hoffmann, Maja Schöne, Oliver Masucci, Karoline Eichhorn, Moritz Jahn, Gina Stiebitz, Jördis Triebel, Julia Jenkins, Lisa Vicari, Paul Lux, Andreas Pietschmann.

Typical episode length: 60 minutes

Number of episodes to date: 10

Brief plot description: When 12-year old Mikkel Nielsen goes missing after visiting the cave near the Winden nuclear power plant, shocked townsfolk already reeling from a child’s disappearance recall similar occurrences from the past. The story, featuring three families whose lives become entangled in this mysterious town, follows events from 2019, 1986,and 1953.

Why it’s worth watching: "Dark" is a masterfully filmed series that slowly and grippingly explores the labyrinth of secrets in a deeply troubled town. Baran bo Odar’s directing is superb: he draws viewers in with striking sets and eerie music, while deftly managing a complicated story. With its brooding forests and caves set next to an eerie nuclear power plant, "Dark" creates a fairy-tale atmosphere of dread, even as it channels modern anxieties about scientific advances.

The show features a large and talented cast, with many characters played by different actors  at different stages of their lives. Hoffman is excellent in the central role of the young and quietly wise Jonas Kahnwald, who is drawn into a mysterious plot as he recovers from a family tragedy. Other key performances include Masucci’s intensely driven police officer Ulrich Nielsen, whose personal demons haunt him as he desperately seeks his son; Schöne’s Hannah Kahnwald, a nervous woman driven by narcissistic desire; Triebel’s stoic, but fiercely emotional Katharine Nielsen; and Vicari’s passionate Martha Nielsen, whose theatrical performances as Ariadne provide some of the most moving television I have seen. Pietschmann’s performance as the intensely serious and mysterious stranger is especially powerful, channeling the show’s twin interests in psychological realism and scientific wonder.

The Netflix default search gives you a dubbed version of the show. If you prefer to watch it in the original German, use the settings on the bottom of the page to turn on English subtitles and German audio.

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