Date of Award

Spring 2021

Thesis Type

Rollins Access Only

Degree Name

Master of Liberal Studies


Dr. Paul Reich

Second Advisor

Dr. Martha Cheng


In recent years, a new era of complex television (TV) has grown around time-travel storytelling. Creators have experimented with combinations of distinct genres such as crime, thriller, romance, science fiction, fantasy, drama, and others to create more nuanced and generically hybrid time-travel stories. When a hybrid time-travel show’s story and discourse are both conveyed in an atemporal manner, the viewers must maintain active engagement in the watching and comprehension of events and their significance. One of the most intricate and complicated hybrid time-travel TV shows available to date—and the focus of this thesis research—is Netflix’s first German original series, Dark (2017-2020). Dark’s creators, Jantje Friese and Baran bo Odar, incorporate a multitude of confusing storytelling techniques and devices to invite mystery, suspense, and questions that keep the viewers interested and wanting to know more. These worldbuilding techniques create a centripetal force that lures the viewers in as they learn how to watch the show, follow the clues, and comprehend connections across multiple nonlinear chronologies. This thesis explores the incorporation mythology in hybrid time-travel storytelling and considers its objective function and subjective value within Dark. As the viewer learns how to watch Dark, this engagement leads to a greater awareness of contextual knowledge about the complicated story and discourse. Over time, the viewers strengthen their ability to recall previous narrative information and recognize countless plot associations with other moments watched before. Near the end of the series, this comprehension skill allows the viewers to consider the greater implications of how time travel affects the story, its characters, and what value these moments and interactions have for the viewers watching these people navigate within this world.

Rights Holder

Elizabeth Trepanier