Dark vs Money Heist [Complete Comparison]

Netflix has arguably one of the best collection of web series, whose popularity grows by the day. Among the titans in the Netflix web series which have gained immense popularity are Money Heist and Dark. And here we are going to talk about the two series in detail with a complete comparison of Dark vs Money Heist-which one is better, which one will appeal to your mood and liking, with plot, theme and characters in depth.

First of all let’s talk about the similarities

  • Both series are from Europe and dubbed in English, with Money Heist (originally in Spanish) and Dark (originally in German)
  • Both these series command a 95% plus rating on Rotten Tomatoes and have got ton of likes.
  • Have a bunch of characters with time jumps being an integral part of story
  • Both the shows debuted on Netflix in the year 2017

Surprisingly, both of them give a good idea of what to expect in the title itself. While Money Heist centers around a master idea of theft – “heist”, the Dark web series is a complex story of time travel (PS: this is not Back to the Future) that is never meant to put you in a sunshine mood and you may always be in the dark on what’s going to actually happen.

But obviously it’s not as simple as that.

There is much more to this.

What really makes the shows more interesting are the characters and the way they play out the roles in the plot. In-fact many characters are such that you will either love or hate them (giving very little chance of middle ground)

So let’s get back to the main question

Dark or Money Heist- Which one is better? While this can vary on your individual choice, Dark is great pick if you are looking for a complex mind bending thriller with a unique deep story that has many layers to unravel (a dream like fiction). On the other hand, Money Heist is a pick which will appeal to those who are looking for exciting suspense drama dealing with a tale of imperfect underdog characters trying to pull through a master heist plan-crafted by a whiz Professor.

PointsDarkMoney Heist
CreatorBaran bo Odar,
Jantje Friese
Álex Pina
No. of seasons34 (5th is expected)
Original LanguageGermanSpanish
IMDb rating8.8/108.4/10
Shooting LocationsBerlin (Germany)Spain, Italy, Thailand, Panama
ThemeScience Fiction, Mystery, ThrillerCrime drama, Thriller

Let’s talk about these two series in detail. I am reversing the order here starting with Money Heist first.

Money Heist

This Spanish TV series originally called “La casa de papel” meaning a House of Papers. It was released in on Spanish network Antena 3 as limited TV series in 2017.

Netflix acquired the global rights for the show in 2017 and re-branded the original series as Money Heist with 22 shorter episodes (across Seasons 1 and 2). It later added Seasons 3 and 4 with a much bigger budget, riding on its success wave.

The story is focused on a theme of 2 big heists that take place in a sequence at prominent places – Royal Mint of Spain and Bank of Spain

Central to the story, is the character of Professor who is the master mind of the heists. No, he is not an academic whiz but has the face and some characteristics with a good dose of vulnerability and shyness. He has the plan to pull through one of the biggest heists and builds a unique team of eight members (who have very little to lose) to carry out the plan.

Professor is seen to be a very detail oriented guy planning everything down to the last detail. Team members are prohibited from knowing each other’s real names and called instead by different city names like Tokyo, Berlin, Nairobi, Oslo etc.

However, the team is a volatile group (sometimes downright idiotic) that often lose track of plan and execution is anything but smooth. There are many times where it will seem its all over for the group but they are able to keep going sometimes helped by pure luck and professor’s will. And of-course they even manage to get some help from few hostages and cops (yes, spoilers)

This is story that has many holes but tries to cover it up with a lot of drama with twists and turns to keep you hooked. And there is a good mix of characters with a lot of emotional baggage that will evoke different kinds of emotion, That along with Netflix branding has actually given a lot of kick to the show.

But there are just too many lose ends to take the show seriously – the police force is really dumbed down, the team seems to be a real poor choice (by a professor) to pull out a heist of this kind. What’s surprising even more is some of the hostages (held captive) and common public are showing sympathy for the robbers, for no good reason. In a real world scenario, you would have probably expect this heist to be over before it made any tangible progress.

Dark

Unlike Money Heist which was originally a Spanish TV show bought out by Netflix, Dark got released in December 2017 as Netflix’s first original series in German. The series has 3 Seasons running from 2017 to 2020. With the release of Season 3, Netlix has confirmed it to be the final season to the disappointment of many hard core fans.

Probably- the most unique story line for any TV show you have ever seen. This in fact can compete well with the best of the movies.

The plot is deep-REAL deep and you will have a hard time figuring the puzzle that only gets complicated with each episode.

Enter Winden, a town in Germany that seems doomed for good.

Nuclear Plant -> Cave -> Disappearing Kids-> Messed up Relationships ->Time Travel-> World Travel-> Manipulations

And a hundred things more

If you have a hard time figuring out your family tree and relationships. this one takes the challenge to another level. Infact, Netflix has created a separate site just so that you can keep track of the characters.

Central to the plot are four families who are connected in a a unique way. It’s not that easy to know from the surface. And all kinds of strange things are happening to make it more messier:

  • the question is not WHERE, the question is WHEN
  • Do you have any free will in life or is it all destined?
  • Can your future influence your past?

And of course, what year is it ? (Spoiler)

These are just some of the questions the story asks

The series has a ton of characters and most of them play the role very well. And you will see even the same character being played out by different actors. The casting will leave you in awe.

Dark vs Money HeistComparing the experience of watching

Comparing Money heist and Dark is like comparing apples to oranges. Apart from having a lot of characters and a thriller element, there is little in common. Ultimately, it all depends on your tastes and mood as to which one will appeal you more.

I personally found Money Heist to be a bit of drag after watching non-stop for some time. It initially does a good job of keeping you hooked. You do feel for the characters and charmed by Professor’s personality.

But if you are looking for logic, you will be finding a lot of holes. And there are bunch of scenes that seem to be more of just time fillers. If you are watching for pure entertainment and develop a liking for the characters, you will keep on going – ignoring their occasional stupidity and craziness. But for me, I could not go beyond season 3.

On the other hand, Dark is a much intense story. Although a fiction, the plot is held together in a very logical way which only makes you wonder on how well it’s thought out. Not to mention, the concept of time travel is always intriguing (and this one is much more complex). But be warned, this is not for the meek- there are some scenes that will make you uncomfortable.

There are so many elements that are thrown into this story (actually you could make 3 different shows just using this one). But you need to be in focused mode to absorb, appreciate the depth of the plot and keep track of multitude characters.

There are plenty of memes that give this out- If you are watching Dark- be prepared to take notes and have almonds instead of popcorn.

Some scenes look like a repeat-but there’s a reason for this. And, it’s all happening in a small town of Winden.

Overall, I would recommend Dark if you want to experience something you have never seen before.

Which one do you like the best, let me know in the comments.

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