WarningMight contain spoilers.

I enjoyed this disproportionately despite being staunchly anti-drugs and not feeling much empathy for a boy who turns to crime because of rejection. While many recent works use the Internet to differing degrees of effectiveness, this show understands and is steeped in online culture as none of those was. (Witness Moritz having to turn off his BitTorrent client to improve video quality.) There’s actual code on screen and some sequences provide a decent facsimile of real programmers working with computers. It’s refreshingly non-sexualized. I like the soft æsthetic with occasional surreal sequences: the slow-motion underwater shots, Lenny’s mother explaining MDMA, Jonathan Frakes’s interlude, the sequence from Lisa kissing Dan in the club to Moritz publishing the website, and so on.

The references are timely, with Ethereum and Ripple in the mix. That same timeliness is bound to date it soon enough, given how the world has already moved from cryptocurrencies to NFTs to AI, but then again, this season aired in 2019.

The cast are believable as (sometimes particularly stupid, per Moritz) schoolchildren. Maximilian Mundt renders Moritz compelling enough to gloss over the fact that he’s a bad friend, he’s selling drugs, he tampers with police evidence, and not only does he monitor his ex-girlfriend’s social media, he outright abuses it (which she has an inappropriately subdued reaction to). Buba is reprehensible; Bjarne Mädel is brilliant in the role.

For my money, Lisa (Lena Klenke, who gets in a nice bit of physical comedy at the beginning of the second episode) is the most interesting character. Her ennui and apathy mask a complicated inner life and suppressed trauma, but she remain engaging nonetheless. The series makes an interesting commentary on second identities, both implicitly and explicitly. This is demonstrated nicely by Lenny’s conversation with the female DotA player—oh, the memories—and Lisa’s frank words as she plays the incredible No Man’s Sky.

Damian Hardung imparts a great deal of depth to Daniel, another outwardly clichéd character. Moritz tries to cast him as the villain in his early appearances, but it becomes clear that he struggles with his own demons, like everyone else. One has to feel a little sorry for him when Lenny and Moritz trap him into being their partner, even though he was dealing drugs to begin with. Indeed, the final episode is a dark one, whether it’s Buba killing the hedgehog with his bare hands and later shooting himself with Lenny’s gun, or the new suppliers killing the old supplier.

The parental figures don’t come off well, whether it’s Moritz’s absent mother, Lisa’s ineffectual parents, or even Moritz’s clueless father.