After Mikkel, a young boy, vanishes from the fictional town of Winden in Germany, a hooded, mysterious individual glances at the newspaper clip which reports the disappearance and strikes out the headline, “Where is Mikkel?”, and replaces it with “When is Mikkel?”. ‘Dark’, a Netflix Original German series, explores the concept of time travel and weaves a complex plot based on Einstein’s quote, “The distinction between past, present, and future is only a stubbornly persistent illusion.” When kids go missing and others are found dead in this small town, that also houses a nuclear plant and an abandoned cave, both of which have major contributions toward the unexplained disappearances, the incidents affect the four prominent families who serve as important elements in this twisted storyline.
‘Dark’s complicated time-travel loop jumps back and forth within four years 1953,1986, 2019, and 2052, with a 33-year gap each. In all of these time swaps, you witness the same people in their past, present, and future, who are somehow interconnected and make you question your very existence. It’s fascinating to think if everything that happens might actually be just an endless circle. Yes, it’s a complicated story, but the creators have done a brilliant job in connecting all the plot lines without leaving any loop holes. And this is what makes this show so interesting. Coupled with sinister, grim backdrops and wonderful background scores from the 80’s pop scene as well as contemporary numbers, ‘Dark’ is a complete, airtight package and is menacing as hell!
Now if you have watched the show and are looking for some similar titles that do justice to ‘Dark’, then wait no more. We’ve managed to compile several shows that are similar in style and tone to this incredibly gripping piece of sci-fi. Here’s the list of best shows similar to ‘Dark’ that are our recommendations. You can watch several of these series like ‘Dark’ on Netflix, Hulu or Amazon Prime.
12. Stranger Things (2016-)
Several fans have compared ‘Dark’ to ‘Stranger Things‘ because of their similar themes. Although we would not completely agree with this viewpoint, still, you should watch one if you loved the other. Set in 1883 Indiana, ‘Stranger Things‘ revolves around the disappearance of a kid named Will and the strange mystery that surrounds the incident. Further investigations by his mother, friends, and local cops reveal sinister secrets of experiments done by the Hawkins National Laboratory, which lead to Will being trapped in an alternate dimension called the Upside Down. Upon its release, this Netflix Original series received immense critical acclaim for its direction, soundtrack, pace, performances, and also for its homage to the 80s pop culture.
11. Unforgotten (2015-)
Written and created by Chris Lang, ‘Unforgotten’ is a British crime drama that revolves around investigators DCI Cassie Stuart and DI Sunny Khan as they attempt to solve several buried, long-forgotten cases related to mysterious disappearances and homicides. Every season introduces a fresh case and several characters who seemingly have no relation to the incident. But as the story unravels and progresses towards discovering the perpetrator, it is revealed that everything is related somehow to each other and to the victim.
10. Perfume (2018-)
German shows are exceptional and therefore, you must watch this Netflix Original after finishing ‘Dark’, just because… well, it’s German! Inspired by the terrifying movie and novel of the same name by Patrick Süskind, ‘Perfume‘ is so twisted it shall leave you scratching your head in agony. When a woman is found brutally murdered with her scent glands removed, suspicion immediately falls on her friends who had experimented with human scents after reading Suskind’s novel during their boarding school days. Investigations by Nadja Simon and Matthias Köhler lead them to another cold case during that period when a young boy had disappeared and never been found. After another prostitute’s corpse is found, with her body mutilated in the same manner, the detectives realize that they are dealing with someone way more terrible than they had imagined.
9. The OA (2016-)
Speaking of mind-bending shows, the next entry on our list is ‘The OA‘. Prairie Johnson, who had disappeared for seven years, suddenly appears one day, calling herself The OA or The Original Angel. She was blind when she had vanished and now, shockingly, she can see clearly. On being questioned about her disappearance by her parents and the FBI, she does not reveal any details. However, she discloses the truth to a group of five locals, asking them to help her bring back the other missing people who, according to her, are trapped in another dimension.
8. Happy Town (2010-10)
In the small town of Haplin, Minnesota, the residents are enjoying a period of peace after a series of unresolved abductions had taken the locality by storm. However, when another incident happens, unrest surrounds the town again and its inhabitants start talking about the Magic Man, who harbors “an ability to make people disappear that bordered on the mystical” and is supposedly behind these crimes.
7. Requiem (2018-)
A supernatural, thriller, ‘Requiem‘ revolves around the accomplished and talented musician-cum-cellist Matilda Gray, whose world dissolves into turbulence when her mother commits suicide. After her death, Gray, one day, while rummaging through some of her mom’s old possessions, discovers newspaper clips which point towards the mysterious disappearance of a young girl two decades ago, in a small Welsh village. Gray wonders if her mother’s suicide and this incident might be related. Determined to unravel the truth, she travels to the village, accompanied by her close friend Hal. But the truth leaves her shaken and forces her to doubt her own identity.
6. Wayward Pines (2015-16)
Set in the mysterious town of Wayward Pines, this sci-fi show centers around the US secret service agent Ethan Burke, who investigates the missing case of two of his acquaintances. After he reaches the town, he meets with an accident. After gaining consciousness, he discovers that he can no longer leave the premises of this seemingly idyllic locality. He cannot even establish connections with the outside world. All the residents are forced to live within the boundaries of an electrified fence and any attempt to escape is punishable by public execution.
5. Glitch (2015-)
‘Glitch‘, an Australian TV show, first debuted on ABC in 2015. Set in the fictitious town of Yoorana, Victoria, its plot revolves around seven individuals who suddenly return from the dead. No, they are not zombies. They are in sound health like normal people. Now, no one in the town understands how or why this happened. However, the seven are somehow connected and they set out to find the truth, aided by a local cop named James Hayes.
4. Travelers (2016-18)
Yet another science fiction TV series, ‘Travelers’ takes you to a post-apocalyptic world in the future where the last surviving humans have developed a technique to transfer their consciousness via time travel into people residing in the present age, i.e., the 21st century. They do so in an attempt to save humanity from collapsing and meeting its end in a terrible future. These individuals from the future are termed ‘travelers’ and they embark on missions in teams of five in the current world, without affecting the timeline.
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3. Altered Carbon (2018-)
‘Altered Carbon’, the dystopian sci-fi TV series transports you to the future, more than three centuries from now. Here, in the fictional metropolis of Bay City, everything is controlled by technology, human bodies can be used as interchangeable vessels, and death is no longer evident. The plot primarily revolves around Takeshi Kovacs, the only survivor after the interstellar war against the new world order. His mind had been preserved till date and he is given a chance to be resurrected and to live by the wealthy 300-year-old Laurens Bancroft, in return for solving a strange mystery. Well, guess what? Bancroft wants Kovacs to uncover the truth behind his (Bancroft’s) own murder!
2. 12 Monkeys (2015-18)
‘12 Monkeys’ again revolves around the theme of time travel. Developed by Terry Matalas and Travis Fickett, this sci-fi mystery drama is inspired by the film of the same name, released in 1995. In this show, one man travels back in time to the 90s from a post-apocalyptic future in order to discover the fatal virus that will wipe humanity from the face of the earth.
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1. Russian Doll (2019-)
‘Russian Doll’, the last entry on our list, is a comedy-drama that follows Nadia when she attends her own birthday party. In this Netflix Original series, she gets caught in an endless time loop, where she repeatedly dies and wakes up at the same spot next morning, thereby transforming a normal party into an inescapable nightmare for the protagonist.
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