1899 is a German multi-lingual epic period mystery-horror streaming television series created by Jantje Friese and Baran bo Odar. As this series was the following project from the creators of the sublime time travel series, Dark, we were greatly anticipating the release of the series by Netflix. Suffice to say that 1899 more than lives up to its promise!

Now, the sheer beauty of 1899 is only realised if the viewer watches the series without any preconceived notions, taking the story completely at face value and of course, without any spoilers whatsoever! All you should really bring with you before diving into the deep waters of the series is perhaps the premise.

Set in the year 1899, just at the turn of the new century, it follows a group of European migrants traveling from London on a steamship named Kerberos to start new lives in New York City. The passengers are united in optimism about what the future holds until they encounter another migrant ship adrift on the open sea. A hitherto uncomplicated journey to the promised land turns into a horrifying nightmare of staggering proportions. (Wikipedia)

Without spoiling the party, let’s just say that 1899 takes its cues from scifi writers such as Philip K Dick (think of Time Out of Joint and The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldrich novels) and scifi films such as Dark City, Truman Show, Inception, Matrix and most recently, the poorly executed Don’t Worry Darling. If you are familiar with these high concept works, then you would have a hint of what 1899 is about.

Sure, the opening chapters are somewhat ponderous, agonisingly so if one were to be critical but the set-up is worth the ultimate pay-off. The multi-national cast of characters brings about a multi-lingual dialogue that carries with it the themes of universality as well as disconnection. Surprisingly, as a TV series, 1899 bears an uncanny resemblance to Lost, especially in its deep dives into individual character studies, and the sense that nothing is really quite as it seems.

What we really want to know is – is there a season 2??? Eminently worth binge-watching NOW!

Watch 1899 on Netflix.

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