1899: The Ship
November 17, 2022 8:13 PM - Season 1, Episode 1 - Subscribe

Maura helps a pregnant woman. The captain makes a brave decision after receiving a message from a lost ship--and discovers something mind-bending.

Vulture - Premiere Recap: Welcome Aboard -- "From the very start, 1899 is forcing us to question, well, everything. Is the bit in the mental hospital a dream? Is everything on the boat a dream? Does the mental-hospital part come after everything we’re about to see? Are both realities somehow happening at the same time? Is this, like, a Matrix situation? Is Maura’s point of view to be trusted at all? Who knows! The unreliability of everything adds an air of unease and discomfort."
posted by oh yeah! (13 comments total)
When I learned we were getting a new Netflix show from the creators of 'Dark', I was so looking forward to giving it a thorough binge-post-athon, but it doesn't look like I'm going to be able to get through it quickly enough to make it useful for discussion. (I was at a shiva call this evening, tomorrow night I've got to devote a good chunk of the evening to peeling pomegranates, for bringing to a Saturday family get-together-meal which will take up most of the day and probably leave me too with too much of a food coma to get through many episodes/posts.)

So, I don't know when/if I'll post more episode threads. I see Mogur has posted a full-season thread, but, I don't want to spoil myself on whatever twists & what-the-fuckery Baran bo Odar & Jante Friese have thought up this time.

I thought this first episode was pretty good, as first episodes go. Curious to see what the deal is with the beetles -- in addition to the ones we saw scuttling around on the boats, and in the flash of images after the little sister of the pregnant Dutch woman touched Maura's belly, I noticed the embroidery at the neck of the French newlywed woman had an insect pattern.
posted by oh yeah! at 8:41 PM on November 17, 2022

I've watched two episodes two far and can't binge it either - I think the binge-watching model is really bad for that sort of show where all the fun is in speculating about plot twists between episodes.

I'm still on the fence. I didn't watch Dark, because I rarely enjoy time-travel stuff and I guess time-travel stuff could be a factor here again. Right now my bet is on something like Suckerpunch, where they're all actually experimented on in a sort of asylum, and the journey on the ship is some sort of shared hallicunation.
posted by sohalt at 1:26 AM on November 18, 2022

A note on potential themes: Naming something after Prometheus is probably a staple of the genre - evoking human hybris and/or human ambition. The original story is about expanding the realm of the possible for humanity, of giving power that used to be limited to the select few to people who were not supposed to have it, of being punished for it by being trapped in a loop, forced to forever relive a traumatic experience. I'm curious to see if there will be a specific person who takes on the mantle of the Prometheus analogue in this narrative, and whether they will get the hero or the villain edit in this show.
posted by sohalt at 1:46 AM on November 18, 2022

Alternative theory: They all uploaded their consciousness into the cloud after getting tired of life in the wake of personal tragedies - maybe based on the promise of reuniting with loved ones - , and now they're being punished by Roko's Basilisk for not having worked hard enough to bring about the singularity/treated by the A.I for their depression with a novel take on exposure therapy/experimented upon by our new robot overlords to gain new insights about the human psyche? I do hope there will be some explanation for the choice of the 19th century setting!
posted by sohalt at 1:56 AM on November 18, 2022 [1 favorite]

I'm enjoying playing Spot The Triangles
posted by kyrademon at 2:34 AM on November 18, 2022 [7 favorites]

The boy gives them a tetrahedron, not a pyramid. It's made of 4 triangles and is the shape of a 4-sided die, which is used to roll hit points for the wizard class in old D&D. Is he trying to tell them that they have magic powers but are incredibly fragile?
posted by Mogur at 1:56 PM on November 18, 2022 [4 favorites]

I love the setup of a ship going to investigate this other derelict/ghost ship! That's classic, and I yearn for a kind of realistic/horror/disaster movie type treatment that I know this can't be. When the thing they found on the other ship turned out to be a Mysterious Child Who Wont Talk, though, my whole body spasmed in rejection.

I probably still haven't recovered from "Dark" I don't think lol.
posted by fleacircus at 8:55 PM on November 18, 2022

I've never seen Dark and had no context for 1899 except that it was creepy oceanic stuff, which was enough for me. But I had mixed feelings about this. I was thrown, I think, by the dubbing, with French people having English accents, and the dialogue was often pretty clunky.

The first episode felt like it was trying to cram too many people with secrets into one episode. It was like a whole season of Lost character teases in one episode. I'll probably give another episode or two a try, because creepy oceanic stuff, but this episode didn't move me much.
posted by synecdoche at 1:09 PM on November 19, 2022

I'm three episodes in and enjoying it a lot, but I really love the trope of an abandoned Mary Celeste-type mystery ship in a period setting. This isn't specifically a Bermuda Triangle story (at least so far) but all of the triangle and pyramid imagery certainly invokes it.

I don't always have the attention span for subtitled shows, but in this case the mix of languages really adds to the feel of the setting and I think watching an all English dub would really be losing something.

I think I'd be disappointed if it turns out it's a dream/mental hospital/computer simulation, but it'd depend on how that played out I suppose. A mix of weird science/steampunk and/or supernatural forces would probably be more appealing to me.
posted by Pryde at 2:29 PM on November 19, 2022

It was a little better than 'Chapelwaite' in getting things introduced and moving, but not quite so quick into the action as 'From.'

Digging the setting. I wish there is a better was to convey who understands whom - and how well. And that more is made of the communication gap (between stratified society, even language aside).

Huh, cool. England had been admitting women into medical schools since 1876.

Santiago Ramón y Cajal [nytimes.com] worth finding a way around the paywall or at least google image search Santiago Cajal started drawing images of microscopically enbiggened individual neurons in situ in the brain starting from around 1890.

A big advance was a (serendipitous) method to make just a few scattered neurons take up dye and the rest are transparent-enough. My PhD supervisor gave me a hardcover copy of DeFilipe's 'Cajal's Butterflies of the Soul' as a graduation gift and while the repros aren't great, they are still gorgeous.
posted by porpoise at 7:09 PM on November 19, 2022 [3 favorites]

I was thrown, I think, by the dubbing, with French people having English accents, and the dialogue was often pretty clunky.

I would strongly recommend not watching this show dubbed (unless of course this is necessary for your understanding or enjoyment).

The dialog is always different in dubs but in this show it's drastically changed, fundamentally altering the meaning of the conversations. In the original, the characters largely do not speak each others' languages and their struggle to communicate is a pretty clear part of the show's theme and plot.

In the dub, the dialog is rewritten as if they are speaking the same language and do understand one another. For instance, after Maura helps the Danish woman in steerage and is visited by the younger sister, the original dialog is:

Ada [in Danish]: When I grow up, I want to be a doctor just like you.
Maura [in English] I'm so sorry. I don't understand what you're saying.

This is part of the tragedy of the scene—Maura has been excluded from her desired profession because of sexism, and now here's a girl who could use the mentorship she was denied, but she doesn't even realize it.

In the dub Maura responds "I'm sure one day you will" and then leaves the girl anyway. What?!
posted by bcwinters at 10:31 AM on November 21, 2022 [8 favorites]

In the dub, the dialog is rewritten as if they are speaking the same language and do understand one another

wow, what a travesty. I feel the language barrier is integral to the narrative. At first I was almost a bit frustrated, when characters kept talking to people who clearly didn't speak that language as if they did. But then again, what else can you do? (I mean, i would have liked to see a bit more searching around for bits and pieces of other languages one might have in common- a lot of people really seem to speak only their native language and never try anything else; don't know how realistic it would be that the French Lady has no English or German whatsoever.)

But ultimately, it's important to keep talking, even if there's so little hope of being understood. Just for the effort. Just for the intention. To keep connecting, even with low chances of success. And it seems to work too, eg. for the Doctro and the traumatized?/supernatural? child. Because even if you can't undertand the words, you can understand the effort.
posted by sohalt at 2:07 PM on November 21, 2022

I watched most of Dark but I was starting to lose grasp on all the threads when it shifted to the post apocalypse future and I noped out.

This one, the first scene after she “woke up” from her asylum dream…or did she? because even though the setting was a cabin on a ship, there was no motion. It’s fall if not winter on the North Atlantic, guaranteed you’ll get some rolling seas. I’m not going to try too hard to Figure It All Out though, she said cluelessly. But you know, the Prometheus, it’s pretty trashed for a mere four months and no way would I have opened that cupboard, it’s obvious that kid is Damien.
posted by TWinbrook8 at 7:41 PM on November 21, 2022

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