1899 is a new Netflix sci-fi mystery series. There are eight hour-long episodes in the season, which has a very international cast. The series is created by the same people who gave us Dark, the amazing sci-fi horror Netflix series from Germany.
This time around, there is a lot of English spoken, but not exclusively. And for once, you actually cannot watch this series dubbed. I mean, you could (I think, it wasn’t an option on the screeners, we received), but it will mess up your understanding of everything. And yes, there are subtitles available so you can keep up.
A very slow start, but 1899 picks up from episode 3
You should prepare yourself for quite a slow start to 1899. In fact, I found myself very disappointed with the first two episodes. My expectations were obviously too great based on who created it. As already mentioned, 1899 was was created by the people that gave us the amazing sci-fi horror series DARK.
And yes, it does show that this comes from those same creators. In good ways!
The whole look and feel are the same despite this being in a very different setting. However, where Dark was off to a strong and intriguing beginning, this one is too messy for my liking. As the viewer, you need to get to episode 3 before you can begin to connect the dots.
The first two episodes are like opening a box with a huge puzzle and throwing all the pieces on the floor. Without knowing what image the puzzle will ultimately show. Then, slowly, you get an idea of some elements in the final image, but the big picture is still very obscure.
All of episode 3 starts to give you the framing and some guidelines, so from then on it’s much better. Basically, you need to sit back and observe during those first two episodes, which are about gathering clues more than getting actual facts.
The international cast of 1899
The cast includes German, Spanish, French, English, Danish, Norwegian, Swedish, Chinese, and Polish characters. All speak their own native languages and are portrayed by people from these countries. It’s amazing.
From Dark, we see Andreas Pietschmann as the German Captain of the ship. Quite a move up from playing “The Stranger” in Dark, but also someone in the exact opposite position, since he is now one of the people who have no idea what’s going on.
Another key character is the British Emily Beecham as Maura. Also, Polish actor Maciej Musial (The Witcher) plays Olek, Miguel Bernardeau (Élite) from Spain, and Mathilde Ollivier (Overlord) from France.
Watch season 1 of 1899 on Netflix!
First things first; Watch 1899 without knowing anything and – for the love of storytelling and movie magic – avoid spoilers like the plague. This is also the way to watch Dark or anything else really. Still, with sci-fi and mystery plots, it does tend to be even more important.
Baran bo Odar and Jantje Friese are the two creators of 1899. They also co-created Dark, so it’s obviously a very efficient duo. We were given the first six out of the eight episodes in season 1, so we don’t even know how the season ends. And, to be perfectly honest, this is what we have to base our rating on.
As it’s always the case, those last few episodes of a season can either make or break a story. For 1899, I think (and hope) that they will blow my mind in a way that few series do. But again, since Dark is one of those series that managed to shock and surprise in the best of ways, I have faith in these creators!
1899 is out on Netflix globally from November 17, 2022.