1899 is a multilingual German epic period mystery-science fiction television series created by Jantje Friese and Baran bo Odar. It premiered on Netflix on 17 November 2022. It has received mostly positive critical reviews, with praise for its casting, directing, cinematography, and acting, though some criticised its pacing as slow. The creators have ideas for two more seasons.
On 13 November 2018, it was announced that Dark creators Jantje Friese and Baran bo Odar were developing the project for Netflix under their overall deal at the streaming service. The series was confirmed to be moving forward two weeks later during a Netflix press conference showcasing European original programming. By July 2020, bo Odar revealed via Instagram that Friese had completed writing the script for the pilot episode, titled “The Ship.” During an interview with Deadline Hollywood, Friese explained how the European migrant crisis and Brexit were influential to the series, saying:
The whole European angle was very important for us, not only story wise but also the way we were going to produce it. It really had to be a European collaboration, not just cast but also crew. We felt that with the past years of Europe being on the decline, we wanted to give a counterpoint to Brexit, and to nationalism rising in different countries, to go back to that idea of Europe and Europeans working and creating together. Being true to the cultures and the languages was really important, we never wanted to have characters from different countries but everyone speaks English. We wanted to explore this heart of Europe, where everyone comes from somewhere else and speaks a different language, and language defines so much of your culture and your behaviour.
As with Dark, Friese served as the head writer of the show. The staff writing team comprised writers of different nationalities including Emma Ko (from Hong Kong and the UK), Coline Abert (from France), Jerome Bucchan-Nelson (from the UK), Juliana Lima Dehne (from Brazil and the US), Joshua Long (from the US), Darío Madrona (from Spain), and Emil Nygaard Albertsen (from Denmark). According to director Baran bo Odar, all scripts were first written in English, then the non-English sections were translated by the staff writers and/or translators. Odar had phonetic copies of the script on set, and language assistants were present during filming to ensure the accuracy of the dialogue.
Friese and bo Odar have ideas for two more seasons, with increased complexity compared to season 1. The planned three-season structure stems from Friese’s and bo Odar’s film background, where films have three acts. The first season served to establish the theme and characters and pose big questions. If ordered by Netflix, the second season would explain the symbology of the triangles, and Maura’s brother would be an important character. bo Odar described this second act as “all about the fun and games, where you play with the theme, and maybe get a little bit more megalomaniacal and crazy, and then resolve it in the third season into a hopefully satisfying resolution.”
- Emily Beecham as Maura Henriette Franklin/Singleton, a neurologist and one of the first female doctors in the UK, travelling alone to America
- Aneurin Barnard as Daniel Solace, a mysterious man who boards the Kerberos.
- Andreas Pietschmann as Eyk Larsen, the ship’s weather-beaten captain
- Miguel Bernardeau as Ángel, a wealthy Spaniard traveling with Ramiro
- José Pimentão as Ramiro, a faux Portuguese priest traveling with Ángel
- Isabella Wei as Ling Yi, a mysterious young woman from Hong Kong, traveling with Yuk Je
- Gabby Wong as Yuk Je, a middle-aged woman from Hong Kong traveling with Ling Yi
- Yann Gael as Jérôme, a French stowaway
- Mathilde Ollivier as Clémence, a young woman from the Paris elite, accompanied by her new husband Lucien
- Jonas Bloquet as Lucien, an upper class Parisian, and former Lieutenant of the French Foreign Legion, newly married to his wife Clémence
- Rosalie Craig as Virginia Wilson, a sociable, wealthy British woman
- Maciej Musiał as Olek, a Polish stoker on his way to New York
- Clara Rosager as Tove, a young pregnant Danish woman traveling to New York with her family
- Lucas Lynggaard Tønnesen as Krester, a young Danish man with a mysterious scar on his face
- Maria Erwolter as Iben, a religious Dane traveling with her husband Anker and children, who supposedly hears the voice of God
- Alexandre Willaume as Anker, a religious Dane going to New York with his wife Iben, his son Krester, and his daughters Tove and Ada
- Tino Mewes as Sebastian, the first mate on the Kerberos
- Isaak Dentler as Franz, the captain’s right-hand man
- Fflyn Edwards as Elliot, a.k.a. “the boy”, a mysterious mute boy found under unusual circumstances, who becomes Maura’s charge on board the Kerberos.
- Anton Lesser as Henry Singleton, a British investor and Maura’s father
1899 had a two-episode premiere on 47th Toronto International Film Festival on 12 September 2022. The series launched on Netflix on 17 November 2022, along with a companion making-of documentary titled Making 1899.
Netflix announced a few days after release, that 1899 was in 58 countries the most watched product of all the offerings available on Netflix at that time.
- S01E01 – “The Ship”
- S01E02 – “The Boy”
- S01E03 – “The Fog”
- S01E04 – “The Fight”
- S01E05 – “The Calling”
- S01E06 – “The Pyramid”
- S01E07 – “The Storm”
- S01E08 – “The Key”
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