Is Dark the next Stranger Things? New Netflix series drumming up good reviews

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Mar 27, 2021, 12:00 AM EDT (Updated)

For those still pining for Stranger Things after binge-watching Season 2 this fall, you're in luck, because Netflix has a new series that could certainly fill the void.

On December 1, the streaming service will premiere Dark, another supernatural series very much in the same vein of the Duffer Brothers hit. And by the early reactions from critics, all signs point to Dark being equally successful for the streaming service. Critics say it's a bit heavy to digest thanks to its large cast and big ideas, but more than worth the time investment.

The premiere also represents yet another game-changer from Netflix given that the show is a 10-episode German import that, if the buzz bears out, could pave the way for America to embrace more foreign-language fare, once again altering the TV landscape as the streaming giant did when it launched its first groundbreaking shows.

Like Stranger Things, Dark, created by Baran Bo Odar and Jantje Friese (best known for their 2014 hacker film hit Who Am I) is also set in a small town. The plot revolves around a group of teenagers and adults, a mysterious power plant (not unlike Hawkins' Lab) and the mysterious disappearance of two kids, with a similar Upside Down-type world adjoining reality.

But the similarities apparently end there according to critics who note the series is more akin to Stanley Kubrick and David Lynch's Twin Peaks rather than trading on the levity of feel-good homages to the likes of Steven Spielberg and James Cameron and  '80s-fueled nostalgia. Time also plays a key role as events play out in Dark over two distinct time periods – 2019 and 1986 – with an expansive cast of three generations of characters all trying to figure out the story's central mystery which involves time travel (as the show's logline notes, it's "not who has kidnapped the children… but when.")

Here's a roundup of some of the more notable reviews:

"Dark’s creators tell their uncanny story in a straightforward, even stately way, and do not draw out suspense only in order to pile in funhouse thrills. The point of a story like this is where it takes you, and this does take you somewhere rich and strange. As familiar as its elements may be, its pleasures are particular and many," praised the LA Times.

"The overall density of Dark and the large ensemble cast will no doubt throw some casual TV fans, and there's strong possibility that folks will drop off after an episode or two… but those Netflix subscribers who are willing to let Dark unravel organically and invest their time in the show will likely be kept interested through the show's overall tension and elements of horror," wrote Cinema Blend. "Each episode contains moments that are truly terrifying, much more so than anything we've seen in Stranger Things."

"Stranger Things fans eager for a bonus serving of retro escapism may be baffled – if not left feeling actively cheated. But Dark is worth persevering with as the tension is ratcheted from gently claustrophobic to actively unnerving, and the decades-straddling plot settles into an web of conspiracies and buried secrets," raved the UK's Telegraph, noting that "as an exploration of evil and the weirdness that festers on the fringes of everyday life, Stranger Things can’t hold a candle to it."

"Dark is also a more mature version of Stranger Things, featuring a great deal of swearing, nudity, and gore. Thankfully, none of the “R-Rated” material feels excessive. Dark lives up to its name in terms of its narrative… [and] is a delightful bit of supernatural fun that’s worth the ten hours it will take to finish," offered IGN.

Are you ready for your Dark fix yet?