Allein gegen die Zeit (Alone Against The Clock) is a German teen suspense drama series produced by the public childrens TV channel KiKa.
It is set in and around the city state of Berlin, and focuses on the adventures of couple of students and their teacher of the Otto-Hahn-Gesamtschule (the Otto Hahn Comprehensive), located in downtown Berlin.
The series has two seasons with thirteen episodes each. It plays in Real Time much in the style of 24, so every (30-minute) episode covers one hour of the same day, and each season takes place in a time span 8 am to 8 pm.
These guys are:
- Ben Funke, the rather depressed and semi-orphaned New Transfer Student. Really called Ben Brehmer, living in hiding.
- Leo Largareta, a shy girl who also happens to be a hobby Teakwondo fighter.
- Jonas Stürmer, a rough and difficult and diabetic delinquent from an affluent family.
- Özgür Özzi Delikaya, a nerdy Turkish boy who is the resident Gadgeteer Genius.
- Sophie Kellermann, the young, optimistic and extremely intelligent daughter of a famed psychiatrist.
- Dr. Michael Funke, Bens beleaguered father, a science teacher and the detention supervisor in the Otto Hahn Comprehensive. Really a physicist and nano-engineer called Michael Brehmer, living in hiding.
The story also follows:
- Three of their classmates.
- Özzis cool big brother and small-time crook Cenk and his Arch-Nemesis Marvin.
- The two Berlin police officers Harald Jakobs and Tanja Greve. Promoted to BKA in season 2.
- Sophie's mother Dr Kellermann and her dog, Frisby.
In the first season, Ben, Leo, Jonas, Özzi and Sophie are attending detention class in their school on a weekend, with the only other people there being the Astronomy class making ready for a school trip, led by Dr Funke.
That's certainly reason enough to consider it a bad day, but then things go From Bad to Worse.
A group of terrorists takes over the building, booby-trapping all the windows and doors with electric grids and explosives, and takes the astronomy class hostage. Nobody knows what they came for and what their goals are, until they start calling out a certain Dr Michael Brehmer, who supposedly teaches Science at the school, and is Ben's father.
The detention class, which went unnoticed by the terrorists, must find a way to escape the school and call for help. Ironically enough, escaping the building turns out to be the easiest thing...
The story is continued in Season 2, which is even Darker and Edgier, where the main 5 win a free ticket to a Jet-sky ride at a lake just outside of Berlin.
Instead, they find a dying man in a nearby forest, who warns them that everyone will die unless they are stopped.
A short time later, Ben gets abducted by a group of thugs who hide out in a former Soviet military base, which is owned by a suspicious pharmaceutical company...
Allein gegen die Zeit contains examples of:
- Adorkable: A whole lot. First, there's Özzi, who is The Nicknamer. Also Sophie, who is well-bred and highly intelligent, and is very proud of being allowed to serve detention. Then there is the policeman Harald, who is so nerdy about following police procedure, and not under all circumstances overstepping his boundaries - the law in particular - that he is everybody's Butt-Monkey. Lastly, there is Tom, who is the terrorists' dog handler in Season 2; he is not exactly malicious, New Meat, and is always chewed upon by his comrades.
- Arc Number: Thirteen. It's even on the timer of a bomb!
- Artistic License Astronomy: In-universe: Jackie, who doesnt know the difference between astronomy and astrology.Lenny: Youre even stupider than you look.
- Artistic License Geography: Jackie again. She really doesnt know that Rome is the capital of Italy?
- Big Brother Instinct: Özzi's wellbeing is the driving force behind Cenk's role in the plot.
- Blackmail: The Omega Ring tries to pressure the German government into paying them 130 Million Euros so they won't release their biological weapon.
- Also, in Season 1, Kern uses his knowledge of Harald Jakobs cheating at his entrance exam to pressure him into backing off his case.
- Brick Joke: The plastic dog dirt.
- Rocky, aka Roland, the mildly psychotic New Meat of the terrorists. Also, though to a much lesser extent, Özzi, who manages to get himself into all sorts of dangerous predicaments (especially if they arent even his fault).
- Also Cenk, who is the type of hipster who gets mugged by everyone, be that terrorists, other mobsters, or the police.
- And also Tom the terrorist's K9 'expert', who is mercenary New Meat himself in Season 2.
- Also Lenny, especially in season 2. Whatever he does, it has some kind of negative repercussion.
- Chekhov's Armoury: The detention teacher's locker of confiscated things, that includes, among others, cherry bombs, a smoke bomb, dozens of mobile phones, a plastic dog turd and a remote control car.
- And in season 2, there is Özzi's bagpack, which holds a lot of things, whether electronics or not, that will be helpful later.
- Cloak & Dagger: The standard procedure of the BND.
- Contrived Coincidence: A lot of how the plot evolves and resolves depends on the magic that is Contrived Coincidence. A popular variant: phone or radio calls coming in at an extremely convenient (or inconvenient) moment. Also, characters just keep running into each other.
- However, there is also the possibility that there simply are so many characters and plotlines told in the condensed story (two hours told in one), that it simply seems like contrived coincidinces happen all the time because everything else was filtered out (similar to the Musical adaptation of Les Misérables).
- Curb-Stomp Battle: A handful of terrorists with batons against a whole group of mobsters with baseball bats? Yeah.
- Da Chief: For Jakobs and Greve it's Kern, who is a comissar and a senior. But once it becomes apparent that something is wrong with him, they turn to his superior, Komissar Bauer. In Season 2, after they are promoted to the BKA, their new Chief is much stricter, though he does have his reasons.
- Darker and Edgier: Meta example - For Ki Ka, which is aimed at kindergarden-aged kids at the least and young teens at the most, it was Allein gegen die Zeit that crossed some borders. After all, season 1 treated such wonderfully whimsical topics, like school hostage takings, a fascist political conspiracy, attempted mass murder, an unvilified portrayal of ethnic gang members, police corruption, depression, gun violence and liberal swearing.
- Death by Origin Story: Ben's mother died in a terrorist bombing. Except she didn't, and was kidnapped and held hostage by the Big Bad prior to the detonation after she aided the BND in a sting against said Big Bad.
- Detective Mole: Komissar Kern.
- Dirty Cop: Both Kern and Hajo are on the respective seasons Big Bads payrolls. Then again, the latter is additionally a BND-agent, which makes him a Double Agent.
- Dirty Coward: Lenny, who strikes a deal with the terrorists to sell out the main characters.
- Dramatic Drop: When Dr Funke uses the copier, he spots the terrorists on the schoolyard. Shocked, he drops his hand on the keyboard display, accidentally requesting 11111 copies.
- Easy Amnesia: When one of the kids escapes the terrorists' grasp, she gets hit by a car, and suffers a loss of short-term memory, though thankfully for only an hour or so.
- Elites Are More Glamorous: After all, the SEK are an elite among the German police!
- Enemy Mine: Marvin, the leader of the mobsters from the 'Even Evil Has Standards' example below.
- Even Evil Has Standards: Berlins Turkish mobsters may be bad enough to press people out of their money, and steal and resell mobile phones, but even they cant stand terrorists. Especially the kind of terrorists that Would Hurt a Child. Especially their own family.
- Also, one of the terrorists in the school is against killing the children, as he only joined because of the nanobots' cancer-healing abilities, and decides to help the protagonists.
- Extremely Short Time Span: Thirteen hours - a buttload of plot.
- Family-Friendly Firearms: The main weapon of Season 1's terrorists are police-style batons, and only one or two of them ever carry guns. Later, the Big Bad draws his to control the hostages, but the only shot he ever fires from it is a test shot. Appropriately, they get their asses handed to them by a group of teens with bats. But then, two henchmen enter,submachine guns blazing. Then, the SEK arrives, packing submachine guns, shotguns, assault and sniper rifles, and Forck gives Rocky his gun, who promptly empties the magazine at the schoolyard. The only gun-related casualty is the SEK sniper who gets pistol-whipped unconscious by Kern.
- Five-Man Band:
- Free-Range Children
- Genre Savvy: Lenny.Lenny: "Of course they're not going to let us go! Why do you think they pulled off their masks? Don't you know what that means in movies?!"
- Gosh Dang It to Heck!: Averted altogether. This series contains lots of very school-typical cussing without any sort of Bowdlerisation. Probably because swearing is much less of a thing in Germany that it is, say, in the US.
- Grammar Nazi: Tom, who likes to correct his foreign comrades on their German metaphors. This does not help his Butt-Monkey status in the slightest.
- HeelFace Turn: It's suggested that half of the people working on the terrorist plot are in it for the nano-bots' purpose of healing cancer and wish to finally bring them on the market rather than using the for the fascist ideals of the Greater-Scope Villain. Appropriately, two of them turn against their cronies when informed of the bots' actual purpose.
- HeelFace Revolving Door:
- Officer Hajo. Is he merely an Obstructive Bureaucrat? Is he even working for the police? Who is he taking orders from? The BND, or the Big Bad? Is he still working for the BND? Is he aware of the Big Bad plot? Is he getting qualms about working for the Big Bad? Is he trying to stop the scheme or not?
- Also Lenny in season 1. Is he going through with the terrorist's deal, or is he merely tricking them into releasing him?
- Hello Again, Officer: Jakobs and Greve are two perfectly ordinary beat cops, and they get sucked into the story by repeatedly running into characters that are involved in the ongoings in the school. First, they arrest Cenk, who has been framed for traficking mobile phones. Then they encounter Leo and Jonas, who tell them what's going on. Then they file a missing report in the name of Dr Kellermann, Sophie's mother. In the end, they are the first and (temporarily) only people aware of what is actually going on.
- Heroic Bystander: When Jackie, who has spent much of the time being a Valley Girl, decides to smuggle Jonas' diabetic kit out of the classroom, while risking being caught doing it.
- Holly Wood Tactics: Police snipers don't usually participate in building raids themselves, especially not while wielding their bulky rifles.
- I Know Karate: In the beginning, Leo off-handedly gives Jonas a flyer for a Taekwondo event. The real significance of that is thoroughly explained later, with many fights getting decided by Leo's fighting prowess.
- Jerkass Has a Point: Then again, despite of being an idiot most of the time, Lenny does genuinely try to help. And he is a Genre Savvy.
- Jurisdiction Friction:
- Two BKA officers (Bundeskriminalamt - Federal Criminal Police Office) rescue top-secret documents from the Ministry of the Interior's archives from two shadowy figures. They later get suspected of being part of the conspiracy when it turns out that said shadowy figures were in fact investigating BND agents (Bundesnachrichtendienst - Federal Intelligence Service).
- Also, the BKA vs a Brandenburg State Policeman.
- Loads and Loads of Characters: Just look at the cast list above; that's not even summing up all the recurring characters.
- Love Dodecahedron: Sophie is interested in Özzi, who has an unrequited crush on Jackie, who in turn is attracted to Jonas, who's more interested in Leo, who can't decide between him and Ben.
- MacGuffin: The nano-bots in Season 1, and the orchids in Season 2.
- Mind-Control Eyes: Played straight partially. Greyed-out irises merely signify that a person has nanobots in his system, but not necessarily that he/she is controlled by them.
- Mind Manipulation: Dr Brehmer's nano-bots can attach themselves to cancer cells and destroy them. They can also be used to attach to a person's brain cells and manipulate the thought process, which is the why the terrorists want it so badly.
- New Meat:
- New Transfer Student: Ben and his father came to Berlin only a few months prior. It turns out that they now live in hiding, their real family name is Brehmer, and that 'Funke' is just their new identity.
- The Nicknamer: Özzi, also known as The Özzman and Hero 24.
- Nobody Can Die:
- In the first season, there is a lot of talk about killing, as well as a lot of threatening with death. However, no one actually ever does it, although many are definitely planning to do so, but opt to leave them alive for later.
- Averted with Season 2, where the deaths come not only early, but are quite unsettling to boot.
- No Celebrities Were Harmed: The head-of-state conference is attended by a number of lookalikes of actual (then-contemporary) European leaders, such as Angela Merkel and Gordon Brown.
- Not with the Safety on, You Won't: When Dr Kellermann gets hold of Forck's gun.
- Obstructive Bureaucrat: Hajo, the small town cop in Brandenburg who is a BND undercover agent who was bought off by the Big Bad. This can go both ways, as he will not/cannot pursue certain complaints without outrageous amounts of formalities, but will also at first not attempt to arrest characters without a valid reason.
- Police are Useless: Only when given the situation. Seeing how Kern is working against his colleagues most of the time, this is even more justified in the ensuing confusion. Otherwise they are very effective, as demonstrated by Jakobs and Greve themselves ( as well as the SEK).
- I Fought the Law and the Law Won: The police are usually just as capable to deal with the threats as they are in real life; the big challenge lies in alarming them in time.
- Reasonable Authority Figure: Komissar Bauer is friends with Kern. But when Jakobs and Greve accuse Kern of corruption (which turns out to be true), he does the only reasonable thing; he relieves the two beat cops and orders Kern back to his desk until the evidence arrives.
- The Scream: Jackie and Miri scream at anything that is considered at least mildly shocking. Ironically, many of these screams are even heard by characters in other story arcs (as a reminder of the temporal consistency of the events).
- Sixth Ranger Traitor: Lenny in the season one.
- Take Over the World: Or rather Take Over Europe. With the help of the nano-bots, Dr Andreas Schier wants to unite all of Europe under a fascist dictatorship, in order to turn it into a world power that would be able to rival both America and Asia.
- Tap on the Head: At one point, Corrupt Cop Kern has to pistol-whip an SEK sniper from behind, knocking him out. Said sniper recovers a short time later, bleeding all over the place from the wound behind his ear.
- Team Pet: Frisby the dog.
- Token Minority: Özzy is the only Turk in the group. It is justified however, seeing how the Turkish-German minority is one of the biggest in the country.
- Trigger Happy: Rocky, when given a gun.
- Valley Girl: Jackie and Miri have thick traces of this. They are Book Dumb Drama Queens, who like to scream a lot.
- Western Terrorists: Forck and his cronies are Type I (with some political traces of Type III): Mostly German, and they work for a German Greater-Scope Villain too.
- The same can be said for season 2s Omega Ring. They are Type II: An international assortment of mercenaries out for money, including Germans, Spaniards and Slavs, and are led by a Frenchman.
- Whole Plot Reference: See image caption.
- You Said You Would Let Them Go:Rocky: *throwing the door shut* Oops!