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Series / Das Boot (2018)

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Die Hoffnung stirbt zuerst. Translation 

"Sie sind Männer der See. Es gibt nur ein Weg wir überleben können: zusammen." Translation 
Kapitänleutnant Klaus Hoffmann

Das Boot (The Boat) is a German series produced by Bavaria Film and directed by Andreas Prochaska. It's been conceived as a Sequel/Spin-Off to the 1981 World War II submarine warfare film Das Boot. Speaking of which, it should not be confused with the 1985 Re-Cut into a mini-series. Unlike the film and 1985 recut, it doesn't limit itself to following a crew onboard a submarine but also has a land-based German Occupation/Resistance-related plot.

The series takes place in 1942, 9 months after the end of the film. The storyline is split into two narratives, one based on land, the other set around a German submarine, the U-612. The focus is on both the claustrophobic life for the crew of the submarine and the French Resistance trying to disrupt their activities in the port city of La Rochelle.

The cast includes Rick Okon as Captain-Lieutenant (Kaleun) Klaus Hoffmann, Vicky Krieps as interpreter Simone Strasser, Robert Stadlober, Leonard Schleicher, Rainer Bock, August Wittgenstein, Franz Dinda, Tom Wlaschiha, Vincent Kartheiser, James D'Arcy, Thierry Frémont, Stefan Konarske and Lizzy Caplan.

Two further seasons aired in 2020 and 2022, taking the story up to mid-1943, with a fourth season ordered.

Previews: Teaser, Trailer.

Das Boot provides examples of:

  • Action Girl: Carla Monroe, an American woman fighting with the French Resistance and veteran of the Spanish Civil War.
  • Artistic License – History:
    • The real U-612 operated in the Baltic Sea, not in the Atlantic Ocean (La Rochelle is situated on the French Atlantic coast). It didn't even see combat, it sank after colliding with another U-Boot, was raised, used for training and was ultimately scuttled when the Red Army invaded East Prussia.
    • The small Soviet vessel is sunk with two torpedoes. Historically, such an easy target like this would have been sunk with the deck gun.
    • The second season takes place in winter 1942 and focuses on U-822, which was commissioned in 1944 and did not partake in any war patrols.
    • U-949 in the third season is fictious - the numbering skipped from 930 to 951.
  • Attack! Attack! Attack!: Under the command of Wrangel.
  • Attempted Rape: Forster attempts to rape Simone after discovering she's the mole. She manages to stab him in the leg before he can, and he nearly dies from the blood loss.
  • Big Bad: Wrangel at sea, Forster at land.
  • Black-and-Grey Morality: The Nazis are naturally one of the most viscerally evil regimes in world history, but Carla's cell of resistance fighters are shown to be comparably vicious.
  • Bluff the Imposter: On the Russian ship, Wrangel bluffs the captain by asking him if he fought against Gorodnjanski's 57th Army on the Eastern Front, before then saying that Podlas was the Soviet commander.
  • Bring Them Around: Wrangel after seizing the command.
  • Bury Your Gays: Simone and Carla, the show's two queer characters (a couple too) are killed off.
  • Colour-Coded for Your Convenience: Hoffmann, generally the 'innocent' party, has a white hat, white shirt, light grey scarf, and at one point some rather fetching light tan trousers. Tennstedt prefers to skulk around in head-to-toe black because he's disloyal and bitter. Or depressed and suicidal. A white hat was the unofficial way of distinguishing a captain on a German vessel.
  • Conflicting Loyalty: Hoffmann or Wrangel?
  • Corrupt Corporate Executive: Samuel Greenwood, Sr. Prior to the war, he happily rearmed Nazi Germany, and is planning to campaign for US President with the money he got from it.
  • Coup de Grâce: Employed by (and on) a number of characters.
  • Death from Above:
    • Allied planes are seen attacking the U-612. The submarine's crew responds by opening fire with the deck gun.
    • And, of course, depth charges for the submarine.
  • Decoy Protagonist: Wrangel and his boat are the first to appear when the show starts, and they are immediately attacked and sunk by the Americans. Wrangel does not reappear until Episode 4.
  • Divided We Fall: Kaleun Hoffmann's pep talk to his men: "There's only one way we can survive: together."
  • Everyone Has Standards: When Sam Greenwood Jr. reveals to everyone in the room how his father helped finance the German U-boat fleet so he could finance a run on the White House, the normally cool and steady Hoffman is shown to be trembling with barely suppressed rage. The American captain likewise tells the Germans about the planned ambush and promises to buy them time to escape, since he’s clearly just as disgusted and refuses to screw the Germans over at the behest of a greedy, power-hungry traitor. The speech even makes clear that his son hates the guy.
  • Gone Horribly Wrong: The attack on the lone freighter which obviously was a bait for a trap, and invited the escorts of the whole convoy after U-612, causing her to sink on the underwater shoal.
  • Got Volunteered:
    • Frank Strasser to the mission after his predecessor was burned at the base.
    • Everybody except Strasser and Maas in drawing straws for a suicidal repair job after Wrangel's coup - supported by everybody except Strasser and Maas - leads to U-612 being stranded underwater. Averted when Tennstedt silently accepts responsibility for leading them into the mess they're in.
  • Homage Shot:
    • In the first episode, a man runs out of the toilet with his ass hanging out during an alarm, just like the first crash dive in the film.
    • Likewise, Season 2 begins with a U-boat torpedoing a ship, only to find it was filled with civilians, similar to the tanker scene in the film.
  • In-Series Nickname: 'Hoffy' for Klaus, used by Sam.
  • Karma Houdini Warranty: In Season 2, Ehrenberg comes clean about the mutiny, resulting in the entire crew of U-612 being arrested. Subverted, in that he is forced to recant and the crew is set free for another mission.
  • Leitmotif: The Das Boot theme returns, in remixed form.
  • Masculine–Feminine Gay Couple: Carla is a bit butch, and her lover Simone classically feminine.
  • Mirror Character: Forster and Carla are actually a lot alike. Both are ruthless ideologues who are largely (almost sociopathically) indifferent to the civilians who die because of their actions, instead blaming the other side for their deaths.
  • The Mole: Frank and Simone.
  • The Mutiny: Wrangel seizes command of U-612 with help from dissident crew members who don't like Hoffmann.
  • The Needs of the Many: Carla justifies her tactics on this basis, saying sacrificing some civilians as a result of the retaliation which she knows the Germans would exact for her attacks will cause more French citizens to rebel. This is debatable, as pointed out by other characters.
  • Next Thing They Knew: Carla comes into Simone's apartment, they share a long soulful look, kiss and then we see them lying in bed together after having had sex. This may come as a surprise to many in the audience, who didn't sense any attraction between them beforehand (though Carla apparently did).
  • No One Could Survive That!:
    • The depth charge attack.
    • Marooning Hoffman and Max on a dinghy in the middle of the Atlantic.
  • Not Quite Dead: Hoffmann in the final episode.
  • Officer and a Gentleman: Seriously subverted by Ulrich Wrangel.
  • Pet the Dog: Duval recognizes Margot while checking a bus that's leaving La Rochelle to Vichy France, but lets her go with little Anna because her name is on the death list and he doesn't want her shot.
  • Questionable Consent: Simone submits to Forster's sexual advance, probably out of fear he might discover Carla hiding in her apartment otherwise. However, later she tells him he forced himself on her. We don't hear or see all that went on beforehand too. Since she's a closeted lesbian though, it's likely Simone wouldn't have sex with him except in circumstances like this, whether or not he would have taken "no" for an answer.
  • Rape as Drama:
    • German sailors gang-rape and beat Natalie so severely that as a result she dies of her injuries.
    • Thorsten finds a woman being held captive on the Russian ship who at first it looks like he's going to rescue, but then he rapes her instead, seemingly to lose his virginity as he felt this made him "bad luck".
    • This horribly backfires on Forster, who gets stabbed by Simone.
  • Rape Is a Special Kind of Evil: Forster, though a member of the Gestapo, is disgusted that the sailors who'd raped Natalie are let off without being charged. He later attempts to rape Simone however, after having had sex with her in a questionable manner previously too.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: Klaus Hoffmann.
  • "Reason You Suck" Speech: Gluck gives a small one to Carla when he's her prisoner, pointing out that the Nazis view her and her cell as a nuisance at best and that the people who suffer the most because of her actions aren't Germans, but rather French civilians, who hate her almost as much as they hate the Germans.
  • Reassigned to Antarctica: At the end of the first season, "Smut" tells Strasser how he was once an up-and-coming engineering cadet, but after an accident in which he didn't follow regulations because his colleagues had "shown him a shortcut," he got reassigned as a cook. In Season 2, he's been assigned as a chief engineer.
  • Recycled Title: The series has the same title as the original film.
  • Red Alert: This wouldn't be Das Boot if someone didn't shout "ALARM!!!" at some point.
  • La Résistance: The focus isn't solely on a submarine's crew this time around. With the land narrative occurring in occupied France, there is some focus on a cell of Communist Maquisnote  targeting Rochelle harbor.
  • The Revolution Will Not Be Civilized: The French Resistance cell in La Rochelle is pretty ruthless, bombing the docks where German sailors are welcomed back (killing many civilians in doing so) and later kidnapping the top German officer, with their leader Carla indifferent to the people who will be killed for it since she's certain this will only increase opposition to the occupation. This arguably becomes a deconstructed trope as it is lightly implied Carla’s cell’s tactics don’t make them particularly more effective and Philip tells her that Allied intelligence isn’t really impressed with them.
  • Seadog Beard: Spending time on lengthy submarine patrols at sea means growing a beard.
  • Secret Police: The Gestapo, who are in La Rochelle, France, to help enforce the German occupation and hunt down the French Resistance. Hagen Forster is a member and one of the main characters in the series.
  • Sequel Hook: By the end of the first season:
    • Wrangel seems to have gotten away with his mutiny against Hoffmann. But it turns out that Hoffmann is Not Quite Dead.
    • Forster survived his injuries, but now needs to do anything he can to stay in the Führer's good graces. Investigating the low morale within the German Navy may lead him to a certain disgruntled submarine crew.
  • Shoot Your Mate: Lutz is smothered by Ralf and Pips out of fear that he'll expose everybody when they return, and the other sailors present allow the murder to happen. What makes this even worse is that Lutz saved Ralf at one point while Pips fled the compartment and left them to die.
  • Shot at Dawn:
    • The young sailor for cowardice in action.
    • Later on five French civilians in retaliation for what the Resistance did.
  • The Starscream: Tennstedt.
  • Sub Story: The U-612 storyline, since this is the follow up to the Trope Codifier.
  • Suspiciously Specific Denial: Wrangel after returning to La Rochelle. He all but tells Gluck that betrayal and murder took place before asking whether the Reich can afford an investigation into a 'war hero' (himself), causing Gluck to reluctantly accept the cover-up.
  • Thematic Series: The show follows many of the same themes as the original film, but is otherwise not connected to it.
  • Treachery Cover Up: Falsifying the log book of U-612.
  • Tyrant Takes the Helm: Ulrich Wrangel, after enlisting most of the crew's support against Hoffman.

Alternative Title(s): Das Boot