'1899' Netflix series recaps: A journey through the brain by sea

Dark showrunners, the dynamo husband-wife team of Baran bo Odar and Jantje Friese, are back with a new TV series called 1899. If you're looking for Dark content, go here

As the German-language Dark came to its epic season 3 conclusion, fans in mourning took solace in the news that a new series was coming. That the series would be set in 1899 proved an intriguing concept, since Dark took place in six time periods, spanning 165 years.1899 landed on Netflix in November of 2022, two years after Dark concluded.

Dark earned dedicated fans for its well-crafted time travel plot, complex characters, intricate storylines, and brooding tone. So, 1899 lands with big expectations. So, how does it compare to Dark, and what can viewers expect?

Of course, every artist needs breathing room to experiment and try different things. It would be boring to "do another Dark." In this show, a cast of international characters travel on the good ship Kerberos, journeying from one continent to another. But their path is interrupted by a signal sent by sister ship, the Prometheus, who has been missing at sea for four months. As the Kerberos sails to lend aid, the passengers wonder who might have survived.

One of the most intriguing parts of this new story is the muti-national cast of characters, each speaking their own language. I love the realism of this decision and the how it might impact the story. As someone who has traveled abroad a fair amount, you often journey alongside people from all over the world, and language barriers are expected. Also, each language has a distinct sound and cadence. Make sure you adjust the settings to fully immerse yourself in the world of the story. Don't let subtitles be your nemesis.

Like Dark, 1899 contains many mysteries. Everyone holds secrets, and things are not always what they appear. While I have just started my watch with the first episode, I'm already intrigued by what will be found on this adventure. One of the tricky things about Dark was how complicated the timelines became. I had to start a flowchart to keep track of all the generations. Perhaps 1899 will prove a gentler mental exercise. But it's clear that the showrunner will continue the trend of moody music and meaningful set pieces. Jantje Friese and Baran bo Odar love dropping breadcrumbs for people to ponder. Each prop, artwork, color choice, and motif can carry hidden and multiple meanings.

Just consider the ship names: the Kerberos and Prometheus, brand names in both Greek mythology and security tech. In the world of Greek mythology, Prometheus stole fire from the gods and gave it to mankind. Banished to eternal punishment for his sins, he's a cautionary tale of reaching too far with technology. Kerberos (German translation of Cerberus) is the 3-headed guard dog of the Underworld, tasked with keeping the dead from leaving. There's more to the story, and only time will tell if these myths tie into 1899 (I'm sure they will). 

There's also the title credits. The music is a distorted version of "White Rabbit" by Jefferson Airplane. Arranged by Ben Frost and performed by Sting progeny Eliot Sumner, it uses the first and fourth verses, but the chords are all off. Perhaps reversed? More to come, I'm sure.  

People came to rely on my Dark episode recaps. I will do the same for 1899 as I write them. Let's hope "What's lost will be found."

Spoiler-full recaps

Episode 1: The Ship
Episode 2: The Boy
Episode 3: The Fog
Episode 4: The Fight
Episode 5: The Calling
Episode 6: The Pyramid
Episode 7: The Storm
Episode 8: The Key

Bonus Episode: Netflix Cancels 1899 (filmed in December)

Series Wrap Up: The End of 1899