1899 is a Netflix Original series that takes place on a large immigrant ship heading to America in the late 19th century. However, a distress signal leads the ship off course and into a nightmarish reality for all of it’s passengers. Let’s consider the pros and cons of 1899…
Pros: Firstly, this is a thrilling mystery that I enjoyed trying to predict and pick apart. The plot draws a lot of inspiration from The Matrix, which is one of my all time favorite movies. Secondly, I enjoyed the performances and intimate direction. Due to the confined setting and interwoven story lines, each character interacts with each other, lending itself well to the “whodunit” mystery. Lastly, is the suspenseful and unsettling tone that remains throughout the show. I commend the creators Baran bo Odar and Jantje Friese for their tremendous job instilling fear around every corner while also not being afraid to tackle deep philosophical concepts.
Cons: There’s a lot to like about this show, but the pacing acts as a double-edge sword. The gradual buildup as the characters uncover the mysteries around them works well, but it’s not until the final two episodes that any substantial reveals are made. I was intrigued enough to keep watching and am glad I did, but the show seemed to dump a lot of exposition at the end without much time for viewers to catch up. This also leads to a cliffhanger ending which implies another season. I’m hopeful because it feels like this story was just starting to gain some traction.
I give the first season of 1899 a B+. It’s a compelling story that is well acted and directed, but the climactic reveal might not be the payoff you’re expecting. If a dark nautical mystery sounds good to you, then you found the right show! Happy Watching!
Where to Watch
- Netflix with Subscription