1899 Review: After the release of Dark, Netflix surely wasn’t going to let go creators Jantje Friese and Baran bo Odar. Three successful seasons and a dedicated fanbase that kept on trying to deduce the idiosyncrasies of the show, Dark weirdly enough became the light during the pandemic. Two years later here we are with 1899, that in many ways does live up to that enigmatic nature that these writers have been come to known for. 1899 Review: Critics Call Netflix’s Series From ‘Dark’ Creators a ‘Compelling’ and ‘Trippy’ Voyage!
A ship that’s travelling from Europe to New York City, it features a wide variety of passengers hailing from different countries with each having their own reasons to travel to America. Their journey is met to a halt when they stumble upon the ship of Prometheus, a steamship that had gone missing a while back.
A Shot From 1899 (Photo Credit: Netflix)
Suddenly showing up out of nowhere in the middle of the ocean, the captain of the ship, Eyk Larsen (Andreas Pietschmann), decides to change courses which puts them in contact with Prometheus. Soon a journey that promised a better life, turns into a nightmare as strange occurrences begin to take place onboard.
The boldest choice that 1899 makes is making the majority of its cast hail from different countries. You have an unhappily married couple from Germany, a pair of brothers from France, a Danish crew below the first class and more, while at the center of it all is Emily Beecham’s Maura Franklin. Hailing from the UK, she is studying to be a doctor with a penchant for exploring the human brain. Haunted by visions that she herself isn’t sure of, she aims to travel to America after receiving an ominous letter from her brother which said not to trust anyone.
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While this certainly could have been a weird take, the cast ranging from different countries ends up working into the favour of 1899. There are certain scenes where exchange of information is taking place and the other person can’t understand what’s being said because they don’t speak the tongue. It creates for some tense sequences. The set-design too helps in creating that tense effect with where the ship itself starts feeling like a character of its own.
Standing out among an excellent cast is Emily Beecham, whose character intrigue drives so much of the series forward. Beecham puts on a great show here that plays well into the mysterious nature that made Dark stand out so well. Her chemistry with Andreas Pietschmann’s Eyk Larsen becomes an entertaining one, with the ship captain having to face his own past and try to make sure that the ship is stable at the same time too. Being responsible for all those people surely takes a toll, and Pietschmann’s imposing personality makes seeing that character on screen such a treat.
A Shot From 1899 (Photo Credit: Netflix)
The main mystery is quite compelling too, but I would be lying if I said it wasn’t mysterious to a fault. Just like Dark, the mind-bending shenanigans of the discovery of the Prometheus ship keeps 1899 afloat, yet at times it throws out too much information that juggling all of it together can become quite tiresome. Every character has a certain aspect of them highlighted in every episode, and just remembering it all was quite daunting for me. Not to mention, that you clearly won’t have an idea of what’s going until midway through the season. The Crown Season 5 Review: Elizabeth Debicki’s Princess Diana Stands Out In This Uneven and Unfocused Outing of Netflix’s Royal Drama (News Brig Exclusive).
That’s not to say it completely sours the experience though. With its synth-laden score that helps create the tense atmosphere, the second half of the show starts dropping bombs that makes watching the mystery very much worth it. Sequences that make you question the reality of what’s going on, they are framed like a really bad fever dream, and in its best moments, these keep the trippy ship of 1899
Emily Beecham and Andreas Pietschmann
The Mystery of the Prometheus Ship
Too Much Information Makes It Hard to Keep a Track of Things
Can Feel Aimless for a Bit
1899 is another great addition to Netflix by the creators of Dark. While it can’t reach to that same level of intrigue presented there, this mystery series aboard a claustrophobic ship will still keep you hooked through its eight episodes. All episodes of 1899 are streaming on Netflix right now.
(The above story first appeared on News Brig on Nov 18, 2022 10:57 AM IST. For more news and updates on politics, world, sports, entertainment and lifestyle, log on to our website newsbrig.com).