"1899" Review: Netflix's New Gem of Fiction
The science fiction genre continues to be decisive for Netflix and this year closed in style with a magnificent series. Is "1899" the new jewel of the streaming platform? We tell you in our review .
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Leer en español: Reseña de "1899": La nueva joya de ficción de Netflix
If there is something that Netflix knows very well, it is telling stories, above all, those of science fiction. Throughout 2022, it has released high-quality series and films, but none of them managed to generate as many expectations as “1899”. For those who wonder why, the answer lies with its creators, Baran bo Odar and Jantje Friese, experts in blowing the minds of viewers with their disturbing psychological terror.
This period drama is set in the year of its title and features a plot full of mysteries and twisted time games. Those who already know the work of both producers ("Dark", for example), know the importance of paying attention to the smallest detail of the plot, and the stories of the different characters that little by little appear on the screen. As long as those guidelines are followed, understanding the reveals at the end of each episode will be easier.
Although the premise of “1899” is purely fictional, behind it there is a touch of realism. During a voyage from London to New York, a European steamer full of immigrants stumbles across a similar one adrift on the high seas. From there, everything will take an unexpected turn when the enigmatic moment goes beyond a simple shipwreck, since the past of each of the passengers will be connected to a mysterious network full of secrets.
A Sinister and Deep Series
The collection of clues to follow to unravel the enigma behind the ship lost on the high seas leaves no respite. The inexplicable of their destiny is drawn with small subtle horrors, which lead to wonder what lies at the bottom of the sea and that can cause so much terror. It is evident that there is something that, for the time in which the story takes place, has a supernatural or scientific improbability profile, and that thanks to the brilliant use of the script makes the series not predictable in that sense.
In fact, the fact that “1899” does not try to explain its darkest points, but instead builds something new based on an apparently meaningless event, is a brilliant narration bet. Both Friese and Odar support their new creation due to the absence of comprehensible data, since they dose the information so that from time to time it drops a depth charge in the twists of scripts. This, without a doubt, is the strongest point of the series.
Likewise, it is worth mentioning that the contribution of numerous characters and the use of several languages are an attraction that does not go unnoticed. Although for some it could be heavy for so much information at first, the personal stories that are presented manage to catch the viewer, especially due to the fact that each immigrant speaks their own language, a gesture that is worth a lot.
However, that could also work as your Achilles heel. The fact that “1899” manages to develop its story on many fronts could overwhelm with so many subplots, to the point that it leaves the impression that many mysteries will remain unsolved. Although, in reality, there is not much to worry about in that sense, since its creators are characterized by concluding each plot they develop, as happened with "Dark".
Regarding the technical plane, the German series leaves the bar high. On the one hand, Ben Frost is in charge of a powerful and accurate soundtrack that maintains the tension minute by minute. In turn, Nikolaus Summerer's photographic eye is capable of taking the small scenarios of the story to another level, also adding to the use of special effects worthy of a Netflix fiction series.
Finally, the performances are outstanding, especially those of the main duo who bring out their on-screen chemistry: Andreas Pietschmann, who plays Eyk, a ship captain who must face terrifying visions of his life while trying to fight the unknown; and Emily Beecham, as Maura, the key to all the mystery surrounding the plot on the high seas and what is to come in the next episodes of "1899". They are also joined by Aneurin Barnard, Fflyn Edwards, Clara Rosager, José Pimentão and Miguel Bernardeau.
Also read: What are the Most Anticipated Streaming Premieres for December?
Netflix and Its Successes with Science Fiction
Since last November 17, "1899" has become the number one series on Netflix in several countries. According to data from the streaming platform itself, the story created by Baran bo Odar and Jantje Friese exceeded 79 million hours viewed in its first week. This figure increased considerably for the following week, as it reached 88 million views. Will this be the beginning of the success of Netflix's new fictional gem?
Part of the recognition that the German series is having is due to the fact that its creators have already brought a fascinating story to streaming: “Dark”. At the time, this became a cultural phenomenon by touching on topics such as time travel, paradoxes and quantum physics, a formula that did not guarantee success at first. However, in the end, the complex plot left a mark that is difficult to erase on the streaming platform.
For its part, another of the most striking science fiction stories of the last decade goes through "Black Mirror". And it is that since its arrival on Netflix, the British series has gained greater relevance worldwide due to its anthological stories about the dark aspects of technology. Five seasons, a special and an interactive movie are the result of one of the best views on science fiction today.
And if we talk about fiction on Netflix, we cannot fail to mention "Stranger Things". At the beginning of 2022, a fourth season was released that broke all kinds of records (287 million views in the first week), something that made it clear that this genre suits the streaming giant quite well. In other words, this trend continues to bear fruit, and they very surely trust that "1899" will also become a fictional success in their catalog.