1899: The Dark is Rising
November 17, 2022 11:53 AM - Season 1 (Full Season) - Subscribe

1899 follows a group of European migrants traveling from London to New York City on the steamship Kerberos. They encounter another migrant ship adrift on the open sea, and their journey turns into a nightmare, because of course it does. Nothing good ever comes from spooky abandoned ships. From the demented but extremely thorough minds of Jantje Friese and Baran bo Odar (creators of the time-travel series Dark).

I counted six different languages in the first episode alone, but they're all subtitled in English (except for the English, which is not subtitled at all). To all my fellow Dark veterans: pay attention. Every little detail probably means something, from the colour of Mrs. Wilson's gown to the slight-but-noticeable audio faults in Clémence's background music. You will also see that the captain of the Kerberos is an old friend.

Other notes:

I spent a lot of episode 1 going "No! Don't touch that!"

Currently streaming on Netflix in Canada.
posted by Mogur (29 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Currently up to episode 4, and finding it a lot easier to follow than Dark. This may be because there's no time travel (yet), or maybe I'm just missing a lot of details. I would like to point out, though, the image that came to my mind when I saw the repeated company logo: the prism on this album cover. It could be a coincidence, or it could be on purpose - given the showrunners' use of other classic rock in the soundtrack, it might be an Easter Egg.
posted by Mogur at 4:04 AM on November 19, 2022 [1 favorite]

Also, so far I have to agree with the crew. He's a terrible captain.

A good man, perhaps, but a terrible captain.
posted by Mogur at 4:06 AM on November 19, 2022 [3 favorites]

Okay, just finished. One hopes they get renewed, because that last 15 minutes really disappointed me and I want to see if they can recover from that.
posted by Mogur at 5:43 PM on November 19, 2022 [1 favorite]

Another mystery box show that had a simple 4-character title set in white: LOST. Timeline jumps, alternate realities.

The premise of Dark didn't grab me, but this has been interesting. There's a shot of some CCTV monitors at one point that reminded me of both Lost and Wandavision.
posted by emelenjr at 6:17 AM on November 20, 2022

On reflection, I'm not as mad about the ending as I was last night, but it's still a bit of a let-down. Oh well, 90% of it was amazing.
posted by Mogur at 10:21 AM on November 20, 2022

Yeah it was not the direction I hoped the show would go in (though people were calling the possibility after the first episode, so it wasn't a surprise). Still, I'm invested enough to want to see it come back for a second season.
posted by Pryde at 12:51 PM on November 20, 2022

I really liked Dark, but this seemed kind of sloppy in comparison, not nearly as meticulously constructed and with a lot of apparently arbitrary choices, like why is it set in 1899 at all? The ending did intrigue me enough to want to tune in for season two if it happens, though, and I have enough good will left over from their previous show to see if they can pull an interesting story out of the newly-revealed situation. There were definitely more annoying loose ends at the end of this season than at the end of Dark's first season though.
posted by whir at 4:14 PM on November 21, 2022 [1 favorite]

Since this is the Season thread, SPOILERS.

They decided to be explicit about the premise early, so the draw here is focused on how well it could be written and/ how well the actors could sell it.

C+/ B?

Tickled by the homage to 'Cube' (1997) with the interlocking habitat modules.

The reveal thing is common enough to be a trope, but the execution kind of reminded me of 'Life on Mars' (the 2006 UK series, and the 2008 US series).

I remember enjoying both, but that was during a period of lost years for me.

This was fun. I am very glad that it is self-contained and there won't be spinoffs, etc. I believe that it benefited from having a focused scope. Callback to oldschool scifi written short stories heydays.
posted by porpoise at 8:30 PM on November 21, 2022

I agree that this was really sloppy. It reminded me of LOST in all the bad ways, and I'm honestly kinda sad that I gave it a chance because it was 'from the creators of Dark', which I loved.

That said, I remember at the end of each season of Dark, I thought, "okay, there's no way they'll be able to carry this forward properly next season", and they did ... so I guess I'll cautiously watch a next season if it happens.
posted by destructive cactus at 11:52 PM on November 21, 2022 [1 favorite]

I have a lot of jumbled thoughts about the last episode but one thing I know, it didn’t make me jump up and yell yeehaw, can’t wait for season 2.
posted by TWinbrook8 at 10:01 AM on November 23, 2022 [1 favorite]

I just finished it. I didn't love it, but I liked it enough to stick around for the second season which I hope it will get.

  • If nothing else, this show was really, really nice to look at. And I liked the retrofuturist design of the virtual simulation machinery.
  • This would have been much shorter and less frustrating if some people didn't keep not telling each other things for no good reason. I can understand keeping crazy-sounding things to yourself while everything is still relatively normal, but once everyone starts seeing the same impossible things you're seeing, it just gets more and more silly.
  • I was really annoyed by the trope of people talking at each other in languages they know perfectly well are not being understood. This is not, in my experience, how people behave when trying to communicate across a language gap. Olek was a particularly egregious example, since he is shown to speak passable German, which a lot more people on board can understand.
  • There were also moments where it looked like people could inexplicably understand each other despite not sharing a language and not having anyone translate for them, which seemed like lazy writing (but if we find out later that the language gap is artificially applied in software and sometimes glitchy, I guess that's fine).
  • Apparently in the dub the dialogue is rewritten to eliminate the language gap entirely, which on the one hand is disappointing, but on the other hand... does it actually change the progression of the plot in any significant way? Does anything ever hinge on a misunderstanding caused by miscommunication?
  • I also assumed that Daniel and The Boy were the same person (I got big Dark casting vibes), and technically we still don't know that they aren't.
  • I think everyone who saw Dark immediately assumed that Nothing Was Real, and I'm glad that the writers didn't try to drag out the pretence that this was not the case.
  • I enjoyed the ride, but I don't feel that the ending was tied to the rest of the season in a satisfying way. But if this is written as a multi-season arc, the next season could potentially show how the false memories we saw in the simulation are actually meaningfully tied to these people's meatspace lives, and that would be really cool. Conversely, it would be really disappointing if nothing inside the simulation matters and it's just an arbitrary fictional scenario. I'll have to wait and see.
  • "Why would one need so many knives?" Why indeed, Ling Yi.
  • Hot beardy captain >>> shady possibly fictional husband. I will go down with this ship.

posted by confluency at 11:14 AM on November 23, 2022 [2 favorites]

Just finished! Now I can read this thread.

... Huh. I am NOT taking it for granted that what we saw at the end is "reality". There was even a hint that it might not be ("Then who made god?")
posted by kyrademon at 2:14 PM on November 23, 2022 [3 favorites]

I liked this, it was quite a trip.

I don't think the comparisons to LOST are fair. While I loved that show until I hated it, it REALLY didn't answer ANY of the questions for a long time. This one answered lots of questions, but of course we're left with even more questions at the end.

I have no idea if a second season could work. I especially wouldn't like a second season entirely set in "reality" on the ship, that would just be a different show entirely.

I agree it's probably turtles all the way down and nothing we've seen so far is "reality."

But setting that aside for a moment, the spaceship Prometheus is on a "survival mission." Are the people in suspended animation to make them last for a very long trip, and in that case was Moira waking up a good thing or a bad thing? And did the 1400 other people who jumped off the Kerberos correspond to real passengers or were they just NPCs?

Theory: Ciaran is actually an AI who has taken over the ship HAL-style and not her brother.

Anyway lots to think about, and I'll probably forget all about it by the time they make another season...
posted by mmoncur at 9:23 PM on November 23, 2022 [2 favorites]

Hey, can I ask a question? I never saw Dark. What's the language situation on that one? Is it all German and if so is the dubbed version watchable?

I'd like to see it but I generally hate dubbing, especially considering the way the dubbing messed with the story on 1899. I also don't like subtitles much. I suppose I need to go learn Deutsch...

I did like how the languages made everyone isolated on this show. I think the bits of understanding generally matched up with the languages having common words -- it seemed like the Dutch and German people were understanding bits and pieces of each other's language more than the others (nobody seemed to understand the Spanish or French speakers.)

But I'd love to watch a show where everybody understood each other...
posted by mmoncur at 9:35 PM on November 23, 2022

Dark is all German. I watched it subtitled, so I can't comment on the dub.
posted by kyrademon at 2:34 AM on November 24, 2022 [1 favorite]

And did the 1400 other people who jumped off the Kerberos correspond to real passengers or were they just NPCs?

The computer in the final episode lists "passengers= 1423" so that suggests the passengers all correspond to real people. Additionally, Ling Yi's mom is shown in a pod at the end, and she was compelled to jump, so 'the call' seemingly does work on real people.
posted by Pyry at 10:52 PM on November 24, 2022 [1 favorite]

I'm rewatching, so far through the first two episodes, and actually enjoying it. Knowing the secret of the ship makes every scene a little different, like it's a different show. Huh. I'm curious to see how I react to the final reveal this time.
posted by Mogur at 3:55 AM on November 25, 2022 [3 favorites]

My suspicion (hope) is that the simulation thing is a bit of misdirection itself. Evil dad has a whole monologue about how focused Maura was on Plato's allegory of the cave despite not really understanding it: I think the implication is that the way she failed to understand was that she took it too literally, as the possibility of literally presenting false sensations to a person, rather than as a metaphor for Platonism.

That is, as wild conjecture, perhaps the true goal of all this stuff is to gain access to the Platonic world/realm of forms, the substrate of reality, and both the ocean liner and the space ship are merely metaphorical expressions of that journey.
posted by Pyry at 8:20 PM on November 25, 2022 [2 favorites]

Also, a downward-pointed triangle with a line through it is the alchemical symbol for the classical element "earth". This doesn't seem to have any obvious interpretation, but it's very distinctly the same symbol that's hidden everywhere in the show and which is claimed to be the shipyard's logo.
posted by Pyry at 8:24 PM on November 25, 2022 [2 favorites]

Speaking of that triangle logo, I was hoping that the show would offer some sort of explanation about why the unhappy French bride wears earrings with the symbol on them, but they never got around to it. I guess once you admit that everything is a simulation, just about any weird thing can be chalked up an idiosyncrasy in the software or something, but I don't find that very satisfying.
posted by whir at 9:08 PM on November 26, 2022

I kinda fear that the triangle may just a 'Bermuda' triangle reference. The line is a strikeout in a typeface haha way.
posted by porpoise at 12:25 AM on November 27, 2022 [1 favorite]

Theory: Ciaran is actually an AI who has taken over the ship HAL-style and not her brother.

She is also an AI, and this is just one level up in the simulation…

I quite enjoyed it - and frankly the last 20minutes were what made it for me - some level of payoff.

How deep does the rabbit-hole go trope has been a favourite of mine since I read the series of sci-fi books, “The Wonderland Gambit”.
posted by rozcakj at 5:42 PM on December 2, 2022 [3 favorites]

with the symbol on them

Fractal/algorithmic generation of things within the sim - because the pyramid motif occurred far more often than just those earrings - fabric and dress patterns, etc.
posted by rozcakj at 5:44 PM on December 2, 2022 [1 favorite]

I watched this because it was by the creators of Dark but I felt like it was not nearly as well-executed.
The most interesting aspect to me was the language barriers that in a way helped the characters open up.

I still don't really understand why some of them fell victim to the mysterious ticking noise and some didn't.
I also don't understand why the little girl had to be killed off.

I feel like I'd probably still watch a season 2 or 3 just to find out what happens.
posted by gemutlichkeit at 6:24 PM on December 3, 2022

I also don't understand why the little girl had to be killed off

No one is dead - just removed from this iteration of the simulation. The ticking affected 'passengers', but not necessarily core/bridge crew maybe.
posted by rozcakj at 5:01 AM on December 5, 2022 [1 favorite]

Watching a second time - after watching the first time, I went back and watched Dark, which I had never seen. I think that set me up extremely well to have a better understanding of how to approach this show.

Anyhow. In s1, watch Tove’s little sister talks about a folktale about a “ghost ship” where everyone aboard has sinned and has been “turned into shadows” as a result. First watch, I paid no attention to that; now I think it’s pretty significant. A lot of s1 has been slow reveals of how everyone on this ship has sinned in some way or another.
posted by Miko at 7:40 PM on December 28, 2022

.... and... it is cancelled. Thanks Netflix.

For a company that supposedly has such detailed user viewing data, they don't seem to understand that not everyone wants or can watch a show within the first 30-days (or less) of it's release, when people have a backlog of shows to work through. One would think they understand the "long-tail content value" proposition as they have continued shows that were killed on other networks, but no... for their own, they just ax them anyways. (Well, at least they are better than HBO Max, where not only they are killing shows, but removing them from their back catalog)
posted by rozcakj at 6:42 AM on January 3, 2023 [1 favorite]

I am heartbroken about this. I just loved the show and was so invested.

Your point is so good, rozcakj. I mean I just now discovered Dark via this. Also, these episodes are long and I watched them during the holidays. Sometimes I got through only part of one before setting it aside for a week.

Yeesh Netflix. This sucks. I really want to know the rest of the plot!
posted by Miko at 6:00 AM on January 6, 2023 [1 favorite]

Up to episode 5. I noticed Anton Lesser was in the cast list a while back, and it feels like that counts as a big spoiler since he always plays the same character. And lo, it came to pass.
posted by biffa at 1:27 PM on October 12, 2023

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