1899 is an exciting new Netflix offering from the German director Baran bo Odarwho created and directed Dark also with the streaming service. Dark ran for three seasons and was considered a defining success in almost every aspect of the series.
It’s only been two years Dark satisfactorily completed and Odar is back with another series that has a similar tone. So is 1899 Another hit for Netflix? Let’s hop aboard and set sail as we explore what Netflix has to offer 1899 has to offer.
[Warning: Spoilers from Netflix’s 1899 are below!]
Netflix 1899 Travel across the ocean
The show follows the passengers of the steamer Kerberos on its way across the Atlantic to New York City. Four months ago the steamship Prometheus was mysteriously lost at sea by the same shipping company. Unexpectedly the Kerberos starts receiving a transmission from the ship Prometheus.
The translation is simply a set of coordinates that is repeated over and over again. The Captain of Kerberos decides to take a detour to the new coordinates to look for survivors. But when they arrive Prometheus is empty. That’s when things get really weird.
tension is the word
Baran bo Odar sets screws on the viewer early on and keeps tightening them as the show progresses. There are several little things that seem odd, from the way people react to repeating patterns, numbers, and shapes, to the eerie background fiddles and music that keep you constantly on your toes.
The really masterful aspect is that Baran bo Odar don’t siphon off any of that excitement with cheap jump scares. He just keeps the tension on 11 the whole time.
Small clues to the greater mystery are scattered throughout the episodes like breadcrumbs, but it’s not quite enough to paint a full picture of what’s going on. There is a very shutter Island-like feel for the way the series is presented.
The main character Maura (Emily Beecham), is on Kerberos hoping to find information on that Prometheus and her brother, who she believes was on board and had important information to share with her. She works with Captain Eyk Larsen (Andreas Pietschmann) to examine the ship Prometheus as soon as it is found.
However, the more they find out, the less they understand. And they have to understand it because whatever happened on the Prometheus is not over yet and it is coming for the Kerberos next. Discovering the truth may be their only way to survive.
Multiple threads and many secrets in there 1899
Maura has many secrets that she hides. So does Captain Larsen. But it turns out that everyone on the Kerberos is hiding something. They are all running away from something or running toward something. And their presence on the Kerberos has clearly been tampered with by someone.
1899 also has a ton of different characters to keep track of. There are no less than 15 important characters to follow, maybe even more depending on who you consider important. Each of these characters has a complicated backstory that is gradually revealed as the story progresses.
Many of them are more connected than it first appears. These connections become important as events unfold, but why exactly these people are brought together remains elusive.
Language diversity creates an authentic feeling
One of the really interesting (to me) but potentially daunting (to some) aspects is the wide variety of languages spoken during the conference 1899. I can’t be 100% correct but I believe English, French, German, Dutch, Spanish, Japanese and Chinese are spoken.
There may be others, but since I don’t speak that many I can’t be sure. All of these different languages are subtitled for those who don’t speak seven or more languages. That gave the show a very authentic feel. After all, English speakers are used to seeing shows where all of the non-English characters still speak English, even if everyone in the scene is ESL.
This was a particularly poignant election since Kerberos is a transatlantic steamer that was filled with immigrants in 1899. Most of the passengers did not speak English. It has created a more believable world to listen to people conversing in their own language. It also created more tension between the characters as the different groups cannot understand each other and have to rely on facial expressions and hand signals to try and communicate in hopes of getting the message across.
So all these different people, hiding different secrets and unable to understand each other, are thrown together in a closed environment with ever-increasing tension and no escape. Things are getting incredibly tense, to say the least.
And the closer Maura and Eyk get to the truth behind the matter Prometheus and the Kerberos, the closer the whole group gets to an explosive showdown. With so much pressure that something has to give, the only question is what and who goes first. It promises to be a great show once they do.
Netflix 1899 is a great show, but not for everyone
1899 is a really great mystery show. Baran bo Odar uses story, music and sets to expertly increase the suspense and keep it at an incredibly high level. They just keep waiting for a release but it’s not coming and it’s amazing!
Also notable with such a large cast, all of the characters feel really rounded and three-dimensional as the show progresses.
Of course it’s not for everyone. If you’re not someone who can handle suspense or a slow building story, you won’t like it. And of course, if subtitles bother you, you won’t have as much fun. However, if that’s your only reason not to watch, I recommend checking it out, it’s worth it.
People who enjoy running a show while goofing around on their phones will quickly get lost. You absolutely have to Pay attention to the show to enjoy.
So this is the big snack 1899 is worth seeing. It’s one of the best non-English offerings on Netflix. Discover what happened to that Prometheus and what happens on the Kerberos will happily take a week of your time (or a day if you can’t wait). The only thing I really know right now is that seeking the truth is the most important thing a passenger can do.
1899 is an eight-episode limited series, rated TV-MA, coming to Netflix on November 17. Will you watch her when she’s released on the streaming service? Let us know on Twitter @LunaGauthier19 or @MyCosmicCircus. And if you haven’t already, check out our recap of the premiere of another hit that’s about to enter its season finale. Interview with the vampire!
Rating: AMC’s Interview with the vampire premiere