Review of the 1899 series - In 2017, a small German series caused a stir when it was released on Netflix. Produced locally by the streaming platform, Dark fascinates with its universe and its promise of large-scale entertainment. The science fiction tale will run for three seasons, all widely acclaimed by critics and audiences.

Aware of the strength of the two storytellers Jantje Friese and Baran bo Odar, Netflix will soon be entrusting them with a new project. 1899 came out on November 17th and is already proving to be a huge success all over the world. But does the series have the qualities of its predecessor? Take a look at the review that Great App prepared.

1899 Series Review
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1899 Series Review

In 1899, a ship left Europe to arrive in the United States. On board, passengers of all nationalities share the same dream: to start the new century in the land of all possibilities. But when they discover another ship adrift, lost at sea and missing for months, their journey takes an unexpected turn.

It's like losing your bearings

After exploring rainy Germany, the creators of Dark set sail in a steel colossus called Kerberos for the United States. Conceived as a period piece, 1899 has all the qualities to establish itself as our new obsession. From the very first moments, it's obvious that the series is going to put our brains to the test, the mystery emerging like a thick fog that should dissipate a few moments before the conclusion of this first season.

If the viewers are sailing blind, the creators, Jantje Friese and Baran bo Odar, are staying on course. In fact, everything in this series is permeated by the authors' love of mystery and puzzles. Every detail is important, so we have fun coming up with theories from the very first episodes. The scriptwriters are far from new to the genre, and 1899 has nothing to envy other productions in the genre.

With a real sense of pacing, they bring out a bag of knots that the viewer will find hard to untie. Nerves are on edge, we want more and the siren song has an effect. We've seen six of the eight episodes of this first season and the conclusion is clear: 1899 has caught us in its net.

A first-class crew

While Dark relied mainly on an anonymous international cast, 1899 features several familiar faces and personalities. Andreas Pietschmann also seems to have particularly enjoyed this collaboration with the two creators since embarking on this new project.

Here he abandons his time-traveling look to portray the captain of Kerberos, haunted by a heavy past. The German actor lives up to his reputation and leads the entire cast with great ease. He faces an Emily Beecham (Cruella) at her best. The British actress skillfully navigates the different tones of the story, which uses both thriller and horror.

We also noticed the presence of several Netflix stars, such as Miguel Bernardeau (Elite) or Lucas Lynggaard Tonnesen (The Rain). Game of Thrones fans also recognized Anton Lesser, who played Qyburn in the adaptation of George RR Martin's novels. If the story revolves mainly around the character Emily Beecham, the promise of a choral adventure is kept.

Siren song

1899 also largely accepts the challenge of polyglot production. While the European cast undoubtedly made the task of scriptwriters Jantje Friese and Baran bo Odar very complicated, the two creators tackle this major language gap with great ease.

The series also draws a certain strength from this dynamic, allowing it, for example, to sustain the purpose of the narration. The production tries to offer a reflection on this fear of the other, on distrust of the unknown, and uses the actors' mother tongues to mark this bias.

A pearl

Visually, 1899 contrasts with the creators' previous series. After the German forests, Baran bo Odar has to immortalize the dark, narrow recesses of a steel ship in the middle of a rough sea. The camera, however, manages to cope with this restriction and puts it to good use in the service of its story. When it takes the liberty of looking at the horizon rather than the turmoil of this floating prison, it is to better represent the hope that inhabits its travelers in search of renewal.

The director is also using for the first time the Stage Craft technology developed by ILM, which consists of LED panels that diffuse the scenery and can be modeled at will. Just like the painted canvases at the beginning of cinema, these screens allow the actors to interact more easily with their environment, which is therefore made up of computer-generated images and real decorative elements. It is used sparingly and brings out all the fantastic and disturbing dimension of the series.

1899 also summons up all the imagery of its predecessor, with a play of chiaroscuro and millimetric shots. The filmmaker plays with his antecedents to distil clues here and there, no detail is overlooked. This expert work obviously contributes to the atmosphere of the series, which plays with the border between suspense and fantasy. If 1899 uses the codes of science fiction, it moves away from them in its visual copy.

1899 is a ship on its way to success. After Dark, creators Jantje Friese and Baran bo Odar have signed up for a series that already promises to be the hit of the year. The first six episodes are incredibly effective, and let's hope that the last two parts manage to bring this journey to a successful close.


Disconcerting, the new proposal from the creators of Dark has everything it takes to establish itself as our new obsession. The 1899 ship is heading straight for success, with the dose of mystery that made the reputation of its old man on board and a new approach to the fantastic puzzle. It's a series that could surprise everyone!

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November 26, 2022