A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Dark is a supernatural mystery/thriller that's intended for mature audiences. Driven by themes like kidnapping and murder, it includes scenes of people being tortured and committing suicide. Mutilated corpses and other disturbing imagery is also visible. There's some strong sexual content and some partial nudity. Cursing is audible, and drinking and drug use (mostly marijuana) is visible or referenced.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
The first German original series produced for Netflix, DARK is a dramatic, supernatural mystery about some missing children and a town's dark history. It's 2019, and teenager Jonas (Louis Hofmann) has returned after spending some time in a mental hospital to help him cope with his father's suicide. Now back in his small town of Winden, which is known for being near a problematic nuclear power plant, he learns that his classmate Erik has been missing for almost two weeks. Meanwhile, his mother (Maja Schöne) is having an affair with the police chief, Ulrich Nielsen (Oliver Masucci). But when Jonas and his friends decide to search in the woods for something that Erik may have left behind, Chief Nielsen's son Mikkel (Daan Lennard Liebrenz) also disappears. As investigator Charlotte Doppler (Karoline Eichhorn) works the investigation, strangers and corpses begin appearing around town, and odd phenomena continue to occur. Meanwhile, Winden's older residents begin sensing that history is repeating itself. As the community wrestles with what's happening, secrets are uncovered, and how four families are connected to the crimes and to each other is slowly revealed.
Is it any good?
This ominous series features an overarching story that starts out slow and difficult to follow but becomes worthwhile as it unfolds. The mixture of murder, mystery, and supernatural elements raises more questions than it does answers. While this serves to pull in audiences, the show's odd and sometimes disturbingly emotionless vibe creates a sense of apprehension that isn't easy to let go of.
Certain elements of the series feel similar to shows like Stranger Things and The OA, but Dark is unique enough to hold its own. However, the sheer number of characters in the story makes it frustratingly difficult to fully understand what drives them. Certain details of the story get a little muddled with the translation, too. Nonetheless, it succeeds at telling a strange story that is eerily entertaining.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the differences between shows produced for U.S. audiences vs. those produced for audiences from other countries. Why would a show that worked very well for U.S. audiences not appeal to audiences from other countries (and vice versa)?
What makes a series like Dark appealing? Is it the sense of foreboding or confusion it creates? The lack of answers? Do you think the violent imagery is necessary? Why or why not?
For kids who love scary stuff
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.