Ever heard of a series called Dark? Most people haven’t — and that’s alarming. This is a well-reviewed sci-fi series that already has two seasons out, with a third one on the way. What’s more, it’s available on Netflix, the home of sci-fi hits like Stranger Things and Black Mirror. So why isn’t it getting the attention it deserves?
The Trouble with Language
Here’s the thing: Netflix started in the US before it reached global popularity. It had to cater first to American audiences. In other words, it provided movies and series in English. Sure, there are now Netflix originals in other languages, but the fact is that a significant portion of the shows available today in the platform is still in English.
So the first challenge to Dark is that it’s not in English — it’s a German series. Not many people are okay with having to read English subtitles, and this remains true whether they’re watching anime or French shows. Some will always prefer an English dub to replace the original language.
Dark does have offer English audio. However, there are audio sync issues and the voice acting leaves a lot to be desired. What can a good, compelling story do when the viewer decides to ignore the show because it either sounds awful in English or they’re forced to read subtitles?
A Lack of Extensive Promotion
Netflix has a huge budget. It’s why it can buy the rights to stream the most talked about movies in film festivals. Similarly, it can easily promote a new show online and offline. The company even paid $100 million just to keep Friends for another year. But the truth is that not all shows get promoted the same way, and shows like Dark didn’t get the advertising extravaganza of Stranger Things.
It may have gotten to the ‘front page’ of Netflix when its first and second seasons premiered, but that’s about it. Dark disappears from the view of most users once a new show gets the spotlight. Unless you’re an avid viewer of sci-fi shows, it won’t appear in your suggestions.
Dark as a Sleeper Hit
All hope isn’t lost. Dark already has the support of many critics. They already liked the first season, and the reception for the second was even better. Moreover, you can never disregard the impact of word-of-mouth. It may take longer than Queer Eye and Tidying Up with Marie Kondo did to get a sizable audience, but it’s possible. Remember: Black Mirror was also once an unknown sci-fi series Netflix got it.
The goal now is for Netflix to help Dark get some steam before the third and final season. That may be difficult since Stranger Things Season 3 was just released, but viewers shouldn’t see it as a dichotomy. In fact, Dark being a sci-fi series with comparisons to Stranger Things might help it get better viewership. Once people are done watching the latter, Netflix could suggest Dark next.
There are multiple factors affecting the popularity of Dark. No one knows exactly how the final season will turn out, but what remains true is that this German sci-fi series on Netflix is worth the watch.