Three of the four episodes are told in parallel on two time levels: in the present story, Carsten Schloeter (Mark Washke, “Dark”) and his former business partner Jury Mueller (Michel Matisevic, “In the Face of Crime”) are preparing – separately – with their lawyer, Losina ( The Internet giant is facing a lawsuit against Google for allegedly stealing their program and turning it into Google Earth. Through their statements, they make the past alive, and West Berlin in the post-Reunification period.
Here the art student Carsten (now Leonard Scheecher) and the talented young programmer jury (now Marius Ahrend) get to know each other and soon find many similarities. Both swallowed early cyberspace novels, realized the revolutionary potential of the Internet, and dreamed of a more free and beautiful world through digital networking. They want to contribute to this with a program that allows access to all satellite images of the world, so that virtual travel to all parts of the world: Terra Vision. With a team of hackers and art students, they begin the almost impossible acquisition of Dutch Telecom as a paid art project to complete the project within a year.
Shoraner Oliver Siegenbalg and screenwriter Robert Talheim show this stage of departure and development in a mix of the German cult film “23 – Nothing Is It Feel” and the AMC series “Halt and Catch Fire”. Don’t give up a clich: In the programming frenzy, legitimacy is not as important as independence and democratization, especially among young people who eat kebabs. Telecom, a (still young) government-owned company, jokes that its representatives think only in small and small terms and conduct “credible” studies on the fact that this Internet will never exist beyond the university realm. Anyone who has consciously witnessed the late 1980s and 1990s will recognize many things from the history of German digitization, from screen texts to Boris Becker.
But the real problems of the main characters start after they present the completed program. On a trip to Silicon Valley, a slightly strange jury befriends star programmer and IT entrepreneur Brian Anderson (Lucas Loran). He also contacts Berliners with Google. But the collaboration failed and Anderson developed an app similarly suspicious to Terra Vision.
The new German Netflix miniseries needs something to run smoothly. The dual role-up of past history in the lawyer’s office and flashbacks seems a bit daunting at first, making it difficult at first to identify the dual roles of two main characters of different ages. Events sometimes take place in a very straightforward manner, and conversations are very artificial. But it changes as the working hours progress, and as the upcoming story slowly turns into a judicial drama, it tells of a struggle for justice between two unequal rivals: the idealists but the real pioneers and the soulless mega-corporation. It makes a conversion that is only interested in its profit. This is a story you know from practically every movie and series by Aaron Sork, and from “The Social Network” about the question of who actually developed Facebook.
Only in the long last episode will it become clear how relevant the topic really is. Tap Oops without paying them. Behind this lies the question of what remains of the great promise of freedom and emancipation of the early stages of the Internet, and how the Internet will develop if it is not caught in the cycles of capitalism.
But this is the story of friendship and betrayal, the ultimate human story of two childhood friends who tell and find each other, Siegenbalg and Talheim. The staging is absolutely memorable, with the producers using Terra Vision’s zoom principle only once to switch to a location. After the huge success of the first German in-house production “Dark”, Netflix once again found a subject with this fact-finding series that is internationally compatible. Berlin Company ART + COM Still active, by the way, mainly focusing on digital art projects again.
This text is based on the view of complete miniseries.
My rating: 4/5
All four episodes of “The Billion Dollar Code” will be available on Netflix from October 7.
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