‘1899’ Fans Still Want Answers

1899, a science fiction series from Baran bo Odar and Jantje Friese, creators of the hit TV show Dark, premiered on Netflix in November 2022. TV producer Ruairi Carroll enjoyed the show’s mysterious characters and storyline.

“Whatever way Netflix algorithms work, it was being pushed on my screen all the time,” Carroll says in Episode 562 of the Geek’s Guide to the Galaxy podcast. “And I was seeing a lot of trailers on YouTube, because I follow the Netflix channel on YouTube. And I kind of burned through it to begin with, and had a great time, I’ve got to say.”

Despite the fanfare, 1899 was quickly canceled, concluding the series on a painful cliffhanger that left the show’s many mysteries completely unresolved. Geek’s Guide to the Galaxy host David Barr Kirtley was disappointed that Netflix would end the show in such a frustrating way. “It’s been more than a year since the show came out, and I’m still just constantly seeing people grousing on social media like, ‘How could Netflix fund this stupid show or this stupid show? Why don’t they give us more 1899? That’s what we really want,’” he says.

Fantasy author Erin Lindsey enjoyed 1899, but understands why the show was canceled, given the many indications that the story was spinning out of control. “There was some serious storytelling entropy going on,” she says. “I think it was going pretty well for the first few episodes, and then each episode got exponentially weirder after that, to the point that I had lost patience by the end.”

So is there any hope that 1899 fans will ever find out what it all means? TV writer Andrea Kail hopes the answers will be forthcoming in one form or another. “Here’s my proposal for Netflix, or at least the producers,” she says. “Could you please just tell me what happened? Explain it to me. I don’t care, write it out. I just want to know. I just want to know what happens next.”

Listen to the complete interview with Ruairi Carroll, Erin Lindsey, and Andrea Kail in Episode 562 of Geek’s Guide to the Galaxy (above). And check out some highlights from the discussion below.

Andrea Kail on mysteries:

Does it all have to make sense? I’ve been having this conversation with my friend lately. She doesn’t like mysteries. She wants everything explained to her as you go, and I’m just like, “Well, let it go in the moment. Eventually maybe you’ll get an explanation, and sometimes not getting an explanation is still satisfactory.” That’s probably just me as a reader/viewer. It doesn’t bother me … I like not having all the questions answered. I am very much a “let it wash over me” person, especially if my first impression, when I’m doing that, is that it’s great.

Ruairi Carroll on Mystery Box shows:

I don’t mind the Mystery Box thing. Well, I can take it to a certain extent. I kind of fell out of Lost. I enjoyed The Leftovers from a couple of years ago, and Dark. But then sometimes I do run out of road with it. And I’ll be honest with you, there are days where I was quite happy to skip over something that was a Mystery Box and just put on Reacher on Amazon, and just watch a big man hit people … Just go with it, that’s the only thing I can say about these Mystery Box things. Just go with it. You’ll either bang your head off the wall for the rest of the night thinking about it, or you’ll be like, “OK, I’m firing up Jack Reacher.”

David Barr Kirtley on Dark vs. 1899:

What happened to me with Dark is that at the end of Season 1, I was like, “There’s no way they can possibly wrap this up. There’s no way this all makes sense.” And then at the end of Season 2, I was like, “OK, they did a surprisingly good job—way better than I was expecting—of making this all make sense, so I’m hopeful that in Season 3 everything will actually make sense.” And then with Season 3, I was like, “Eh, I still have a list of like a hundred things that they never answered that were kind of important.” So if this had followed the same pattern, I’m sure a lot of things would have been answered in a satisfactory way, but I’m still left with the overwhelming impression that at the end of Season 3 there would have been a list of a hundred things that nobody can answer.”

Erin Lindsey on Baran bo Odar and Jantje Friese:

I think if anyone’s going to pull off [a Mystery Box show], it could well be these guys. We’ve picked it apart. That’s our job, a little bit, on this show, but this was an enjoyable show. It was flawed, in my opinion, but it was enjoyable, and I think that even if I preferred Dark to this, I continue to be impressed by the attention to detail and just the pure ambition of what these guys are putting out, and they could well nail it one day. I would recommend this show as enjoyable if flawed, and I will watch the next thing they put out, and the next thing after that, because I have a feeling that one of these days they’re going to hit it out of the park.

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