For the unversed, the first non-Hindi show I ever watched was the German series Dark. Therefore, when Netflix announced it was partnering with Baran bo Odar, the creator of Dark, for another series, my excitement levels became extremely high.
While Dark was an out-and-out time-travel thriller, 1899 is somewhat different. It has traces of thrill, mystery, and other elements. Moreover, the style of narration reminds you of Dark at many points.
The show, consisting of eight episodes, began streaming on 17th November on Netflix. It has a total duration of almost seven hours.
Does it live up to the expectations of millions of fans around the globe, including me? Well, let’s find out in my 1899 review.
1899 Series Review Summary
Seen in totality, 1899 brings a lot of flavors to the fore. However, it does feel dreary sometimes, which I cannot digest, given its strong emphasis on thrill and suspense.
When a ship lost for months is discovered by the captain aboard another ship on the same route, a puzzling chain of events disturbs the life of every passenger on the ship. 1899 is a modern-day take on the theory of time travel and the study of the human brain.
The show, created by Jantje Friese and Baran bo Odar, stars Emily Beecham (Maura), Aneurin Barnard (Daniel), Andreas Pietschmann (Eyk), Jose Pimentau (Ramiro), Isabella Wei (Ling Yi), Yann Gael (Jerome), and Masiej Musial (Olek), among others.
What Works for 1899?
1899 creates a promising base with the mysterious disappearance of a ship. Then it incorporates time loops, simulations, and mysteries. The entire idea is pushed forward by intricate characterization. You cannot dislike the concept of 1899, regardless of what you make of the storyline.
If you are wondering whether 1899 produces something out of the box or not, then the answer is both yes and no. The initial premise feels new, but as the story progresses, it gets more relatable to previously released shows and films falling in the same genre.
Suspense and Mystery
The show succeeds in making the viewer curious about what will happen in the story. It has many points of genuine intersection built specially to harness mystique. You will feel a pulse on many occasions and indulge deeply in the tale.
You might have a different opinion, but I felt the storyline of 1899 was above par. Though it couldn’t generate an astounding thrill, the story does feel intriguing. One thing I missed was depth. The makers needed to dig further by utilizing the fluffy parts of the series.
Whether the teleporting moments or the waves of the ocean, 1899 swiftly aces all the graphic effects. You would never find a glitch in high-intensity scenes, including cosmic and galactic photography. An important point to note here is that the show doesn’t overdo any aspect. It stays true to what it attempts to do.
Emily Beecham, as Maura, leads 1899 with her stellar performance. She is detailed, charming, and enigmatic. Her character carries the essence of the show, reflected effervescently by Emily’s expressions and mien. From the word go, the actress makes a distinct space for herself in the audience’s streaming psychology.
Andreas Pietschmann plays Eyk in 1899 and reminds you of Dark. I only saw him for the second time on screen, and he is the same passionate individual who continues to garner admiration. An important part of Andreas’ screen presence is his natural instinct to act. You would always find him effortless and raw, regardless of the character he’s playing. And I think that’s a really significant thing for any stage performer.
Aneurin Barnard, as Daniel, gets into the skin of the character and uplifts the idea of 1899. His undeniable comportment never lacks vigor. There’s more to whatever he does, whoever he refers to, and whenever he forays into different lanes. The actor has an affable demeanor and, in all likelihood, you will fall in love with him.
Talking about falling in love, Masiej Musial plays Olek in 1899. He is one of those characters that most of the films have and are used to extract pure emotions from the audience. In this German thriller, Musial shines, thanks to a positively written outline. Be it his expressions or the intonations of his voice, nothing is off about his outing.
Jose Pimentau, as Ramiro talks through his deeds. His superb acting will have you drooling over him and wanting more. Another star actor in 1899 is Yann Gael, who plays Jerome. He allows you to enjoy a rough presentation.
What Doesn’t Work for 1899?
Unfortunately, as I mentioned earlier, many individual features of 1899 are not tightly knitted. They just touch the crust instead of going overboard to complete the starts. Sometimes, you feel the series was made keeping in mind the second season, and therefore, it restricts itself from opening up.
I would have rather loved the makers putting all their zeal behind making the first season of 1899 a complete package.
It is dicey. 1899 cannot sustain the stimulations due to a dwindling pace. The concept demanded more briskness, which the show could not deliver. It is dreary, without being much dull, which was a surprise for me. You might end up taking a couple of naps in between episodes. Eventually, I think it comes down to the kind of expectations you have from the series.
1899 comes with a great promise and premise. The show has to be watched because it is going to be a long journey. However, expecting too much or on the lines of anything related to Dark would break your heart.