For decades, it seemed the German film and television industries were stuck in a rut, turning time and again to the Nazis and the Cold War as the focus of gritty dramas.
But the landscape has begun to change, kick-started by the October premiere of Sky Germany's 'Babylon Berlin', a glitzy 1920's crime series which holds the title of 'most expensive non-English drama series ever made'.
Now with Netflix's supernatural crime-drama 'Dark' available from December 1st, the new dawn for German television continues.
'Dark' is a fitting name for the gruesome series. Though it has been tipped as Germany's answer to 'Stranger Things', its target audience is considerably more 'grown-up', with the focus on crime and drama, rather than sci-fi adventure.
Set in the small town of Winden in southern Germany, the plot begins with the mysterious disappearance of a boy, the second to have gone missing in the town in the space of a few weeks.
This sparks a desperate search for answers by four connected families as they unearth what Netflix describes as, “a mind-bending mystery that spans three generations.”
“'Dark' is not a series you would expect to come out of Germany, but also, internationally, no one has seen anything like it before,” producer Quirin Berg told the Berliner-Kurier.
German writer Tantje Friese and Swiss director Baran Bo Odar felt it was time for Germany to reclaim its place at the forefront of film, Stuttgarter Nachrichten (StN) reports.
“Fritz Lang and Friedrich Murnau came from Germany and created bombastic pictures: we invented the spectacular Hollywood look. I think it's a pity that this has been lost,” Odar told StN.
Friese and Odar have worked together before on “Das Letzte Schweigen“ and “Who Am I“ and were inspired by “Twin Peaks” and the Nordic Noir genre when creating “Dark.”
The mystery and tension are certainly present in the trailer which features a boy in a clockwork-orange-style torture device, eerie stone caverns and police searching for a body in the woods.
Beginning with the words, “yesterday, today and tomorrow are not consecutive,” before ending on the cryptic tagline, “the question is not where, not who, not how, but when,” it is clear from the trailer that the darkness in the series will come from both the present and the past.
High quality is expected in this golden era of television series and “Dark,” which was filmed in 4K high definition on a specialised camera called Alexa 65, certainly looks like it will live up to the standard.
The first three episodes of the series have already been viewed by thousands of fans and guests at exclusive screenings across the country, Berliner-Kurier reports, but the full 10 episode series will be available on Netflix in 190 countries around the world from December 1st.