Gimme Something To Watch: Black Mirror

What a time to be alive.

I am currently sitting a little over 2400 km away from my hometown (1491 miles to those who use fake measurements). Whoever is reading this right now is most likely even further away. This level of integration would not be possible if not for the dramatic advances in technology over the last few years. Of course, this is all ridiculously obvious.

But what if technology becomes too much for our own good? What if such improvements are paving the road to our doom?

Sure, these questions may also seem played out in our current age, but British TV show Black Mirror shines by examining them with maturity unfound elsewhere. No, the robots are not rebelling against us, there’s no alien invasion or zombie outbreak. Instead, Black Mirror presents a horrifying shade of modernity in which the responsibility for human suffering is none but ours.

The episodes are not connected by storyline but they all share a common theme. The first season is comprised of three episodes. Episode 1, The National Anthem, sees the United Kingdom Prime Minister woken up in the middle of the night for a disturbing discovery: the Princess has been kidnapped, and the criminal’s only demand is to have, by 4 PM of that same day, a national broadcast of the PM performing an indecent act (warning: this is a big euphemism). Our relationship with social media is the target here.

Following, Fifteen Million Merits displays a dystopian society where humans live in cubicles and their sole ocupation is to ride bikes in exchange for merits, a digital currency used to purchase food, items for a virtual doppelgänger – think Xbox avatar – or even your way out of the rat wheel. Consumerism, reality TV and deeper existential themes like the meaning of work and human activity are imbricated in this epi.

blackmirror (3)

The Entire History of You closes out the first season by focusing on a young couple to show what may happen in a world where humans are able to replay everything they experience. Episode 3 is my personal favorite because it was easily the most relatable, but the series as a whole offers a very different spin on the sci-fi genre, adding a lot of dramatic heft to the mix.

There is a second season with three more episodes out, as well as a 2014 special starring Jon Hamm (of Madmen) fame. I still need to check those out, but judging from the first season alone it is worth doing so. Good news is, Netflix comissioned a third season with 12 episodes to be released some time in the future. The previous episodes can all be found there.

Much like the finest humour, Black Mirror is not designed to blast you with instant gratification. It’s designed to make you think.

I hope you find yourself obsessing about it as much as I did.

Written by:

Published on: January 20, 2016

Filled Under: Nerd Shit, Reviews

Views: 1261

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  • King Shit of Fuck Mountain
  • YourLogicIsFlushed

    I planned to start watching this show this weekend. Nice timing. Although I doubt you wrote any spoilers, I prefer to know next to nothing when going into something, so I will come back to this. Thanks for the reminder though!

  • Stanley
  • Waynecro

    Dude, I just finished watching this. The scariest thing about it is how believable it is. Many of these technologies–or their enabling technologies–are already under development and advancing rapidly. I work with several technology analysts who have nightmares about this kind of world on a pretty regular basis.

  • Think I’m gonna check this out over the weekend while shit piles of snow are dotting the landscape where I live. That second episode is sure to further cement my deep seeded hatred of corporate office work.

    • Stockhausen

      You will love it.

  • This seems pretty interesting, Dagon. Thanks for sharing, will do my best to check it out.

  • I think the only way that fat fuck Americans can get their food is by exercising for a certain amount of time. You really want that Wendy’s triple BACON cheeseburger then burn some calories first. Hahahahaha!!!! America is so gross.

    • Just like those people in the picture above. Ride the bike first then get your food.

    • RJA

      Indeed. I’m about 20lbs overweight – and I look at myself in the morning and think “god, I’m disgusting” and then I go out into the world and think “I’m not that bad”.

      • If there is one thing that pisses me off, it’s seeing lazy unemployed fat fuck Americans breed and eat too much.

        • Waynecro

          “Lazy fat fuck humans breed and eat too much”: FTFY.

          • Thank you.

          • Waynecro

            Not a problem. We wouldn’t want to exclude anyone deserving of our disgust.

          • Yeah, looking at you Finland.

    • Waynecro

      I think this gross is pretty universal at this point.

    • Stanley

      Lunch.

      • Damn Stan, you eat a late lunch.

        • Stanley

          I popped off to the gym at lunch time.

          • Ah, I wish I could do that. I have to work out at 6:30 in the morning and when I get home from work at 5:30.

          • Stanley

            I like first thing in the morning best, especially for running, but I’m injured again and so I had to go and lift weights with the bros.

          • Bummer! I’ve been riding indoors the past 2 days because of how cold its been. It’s above 20 today so I’ll be able to get a run in here.

          • Stanley

            I’ll most likely be on the trainer tomorrow watching the last episode of Jessica Jones. Fuck that show is crap but I have to see the last episode.

          • It was hit and miss for me. Still enjoyable though. By the way that Bekëth Nexëhmü vinyl sold out in one day over at Arcane Altar.

          • Stanley

            Well that’s a bummer! It was sitting in my cart since yesterday and I just checked out and got an error.

          • I’m sure he’ll restock though. That was insane.

    • Salvador Dalí Lama

      I think a good way to show people what they are putting in their bottles is to do that. Show them via training/working out just how much shit they have to do to burn off that ONE burger. Once they see how much work it is they will either start eating better because they don’t want to work that hard, or they will continue to be fat and lazy because it’s too much work.

  • RustyShackleford

    This show is tight! I like the anthology series thing they got going on cause if you don’t like one episode you can honestly just skip it and might still like the others. Also really dug the christmas special episode, how come American series don’t do that? Alas, the Brits are clearly superior. Yup!

  • Arhyswehaveasshtoninshingmeats

    I watched an episode of this series, where a woman wakes up in a neighborhood and everyone is just filming her with cameras and cellphones while she’s being chased by a psychopath with another couple, the ending is really mind blowing.

    • Waynecro

      That’s one of my favorite episodes.

      • Arhyswehaveasshtoninshingmeats

        I really liked it, it was very heavy, let’s say.

        • Waynecro

          Indeed. And the way all the people were filming without interacting looked so goddamned creepy. They did a really good job with that episode.

          • Arhyswehaveasshtoninshingmeats

            It’s all so twisted that is hard to stomach.

          • Waynecro

            Definitely gives the viewer a lot to think about. The guy who told me I had to watch the show called it a “modern-day Twilight Zone,” and I can totally see that.

          • Dagon

            That’s a perfect description. The way this show installs ethical questions in your mind is perfect. I find myself thinking about episodes long after I’ve watched them.

          • Waynecro

            Ethical and philosophical questions abound. Some of those episodes are like spooky thought experiments.

      • Dagon

        I would say it’s on par with Jon Hamm’s special.

        • Waynecro

          Definitely some thematic similarities.

    • Max

      That’s a good one, isn’t it? Though none of them are bad.

      • Arhys

        Yes it was very well thought out.

  • Dubs

    I’ve heard good things about this, Dagon.

    • Stockhausen

      Watch it. Watch it. Watch it. Watch it.

    • Arhyswehaveasshtoninshingmeats

      I’m certain you will like it, is very thoughtful.

  • Speaking of shows, anyone watch Fargo season 2? Just started it the other night. So far so good.

    Oh, the new X Files starts next week too.

    • Stockhausen

      I’m still only on season 4 of the original series (X Files). Time to shirk all responsibilities and not leave my couch.

      • I’m 7 episodes in season 7. Slow slow process.

        • Dubs

          Have you seen the bad ones yet?

          • Not yet sir. I did however watch the COPS episode. I think the episode was called “EX Cops”.

          • Dubs

            Yup. I actually didn’t hate that one. The monster was pretty novel.

          • Oh poop. Acording to IMDb the next episode after Ex Cops is First Person Shooter. Hahaha, fuck. Guess I’ll be watching that during dinner tonight.

          • Dubs

            Good luck!

          • I’ll get back to you on it.

      • RJA

        I’m 3 or 4 episodes into season 6 – don’t think I’ll make it in time.

    • more beer

      I thought season 2 was better than season 1. That show is so good.

    • yes, season 2 features who @disqus_kqxyUNPxty:disqus calls “bacon and eggs man” Nick Offerman — who basically steals any scene he’s in

  • Stockhausen

    I blew through all the episodes on Netflix pretty much instantly. They hit hard, man, and I need more.

    • Dagon

      Same here. The day after I wrote this I finished the remaining epis.

      • TrickleDownOvTacoKvltRiff

        Wow, this sounds awesome. Thanks

    • BLACKBEARD UNFILTERED

      Im barely buying one bottle according to this thing.

      https://media4.giphy.com/media/UNeHvSzLsXwE8/200w.gif

      • more beer

        What do they know?

    • YourLogicIsFlushed

      I’m in the 6 bottle range, so like 6 6-packs should be enough?

    • Case of beer should do it for me. I’ve never operated a snow blower while intoxicated, looks like that may be a possibility this weekend.

  • BLACKBEARD UNFILTERED

    Ill add this to my queue, Dagon

    OT: on the latest record order, Mare Cognitum’s Phobos Monolith en purple, and Botanist’s VI: Flora

    • Stanley

      Arcane Altar has the Exercises in Futility LP.

      • LVL 10 BLACKBEARD

        thank you for the heads up Stan. Now it has to wait for friday, tho, that ive placed this order. I might have extra money not smoking but im still po’.

        Edit: my guess is that this album will be repressed for quite a while

  • Spear

    I watched the first episode with some friends a couple months ago. Haven’t been able to convince them to watch more.

    • BobLoblaw

      Your friends are stupid and you should persevere.

  • Guppusmaximus

    I vaguely remember seeing this show…I can’t wait for the next season of Power to start.

  • Bossicus thee Rossicus
    • LVL 10 BLACKBEARD

      Very cool, and looking forward to it. April fools release.

      Tapirs boner already visible

      • Janitor Jim Duggan

        In b4 Tapir says he doesn’t get boners.

        • more beer

          Remember sex is fun and Tapir against all fun. So even if he even if he could get his little soldier to stand tall. He would’t use it.

  • Edward/Breegrodamus™

    Fish God’s favorite episode was also my favorite episode.

    • Dagon

      Stay connected.

  • Dagon

    Second season is stronger in spite of the third episode.

    The Jon Hamm Christmas special named White Christmas is absolutely phenomenal.

    • Edward/Breegrodamus™

      I didn’t love the political cartoon bear episode that much.

      • Dagon

        That’s the one. Thought it was too abrupt and kinda pointless, honestly. The transition between the epi and its ending was not smooth at all.

      • Max

        I think that one probably has more resonance in the UK, where there has a long been a tradition in the tabloid media of cruel irreverence and dumbing down debate to the prejudices of the “man in the street.” That happens everywhere of course; but in the UK, from what I gather, it’s quite a pronounced phenomenon.

        It sort of ties in a wider development there concerning how “the elite” relate to “the masses”, especially at election time. The UK has a rather explicit class consciousness / system that is expressed not just in income level or occupation, but also in things like speech accent and mannerisms, making it more obvious. There has been a lot of debate there in recent decades about how to make the institutions and personalities of power (such as the royal family) more “accessible” to the general public, and this has usually amounted to more engagement with popular media – which is naturally a double-edged sword for those participating, given how unethical the UK media is.

        • Dagon

          That’s an interesting perspective, of which I had no idea. I thought most accent differences regarded geography and not necessarily class, but then again I’m no expert specially in british accents.

          • Max

            Accents in Britain certainly are regional, but there’s also an element of education. If you go to a posh school, you invariably come back sounding like your peers instead of your neighbourhood.

          • Óðinn

            You won’t come back from boarding school speaking like you’re from east London? 😉

          • Óðinn

            Oh yeah, regional accents denote class in the UK.

        • Óðinn

          “Dumbing down debate to the prejudices of the man in the street.”

          That’s Fox News’ job in the United States.

          • Óðinn
          • Max

            Fox News certainly does do the same dumbing down of debate as what the tabloids do in Britain; but the UK tabloids have been doing it for several decades now, while Fox has only been going in the US for about 20 years if I’m not mistaken? Before then, it was long recognized that the US actually had a quite high standard of political journalism compared to other English-speaking countries.

            No society is without class distinctions, and you’re certainly right that the US now has less upward mobility than it ever did, and less so than other OECD nations. But I guess the point I’m making is that the UK has always had a more VISIBLE class structure than the US (or Australia, where I’m writing from), which is why somebody like Trump can, to an extent, make himself out to be a “man of the people” despite his inherited wealth, whereas somebody like David Cameron can’t.

          • Óðinn

            Yes. The Fairness Doctrine was repealed by the Reagan Administration in the 1980s, opening the floodgates for dishonesty in media. Fox News actually had plans to start a channel in Canada, but abandoned their bid due to a Canadian law that forbids media outlets from deliberately misleading the public.

        • Óðinn
        • Óðinn
    • LVL 10 BLACKBEARD

      Was Jon Hamm not mentioned in the article?

      Wtf man

      • Edward/Breegrodamus™

        He was, Blackie!

        • LVL 10 BLACKBEARD

          Im goddamn out of it today. I cant wait for the weekend

    • BobLoblaw

      White Christmas ties all the technology together. Best watched as a whole and not thinking of it as episodic.

  • Count_Breznak

    Well…., Cameron didn’t need a hostage situation.

  • LVL 10 BLACKBEARD

    Started clearing lvl 60+ grifts in d3 if anyone is lfg

  • …Ellipsis…

    The creator of Black Mirror, Charlie Brooker, actually did a zombie themed mini-series called Dead Set, prior to BM.

  • LVL 10 BLACKBEARD

    Does anyone here use over-air HD antennas, in the US?

  • Óðinn
    • more beer

      I just saw she blames Obama for her son beating his girlfriend. I have heard politicians say some crazy and stupid shit in my life. She is now the undisputed heavyweight champion of political stupidity.

      • Hammerdong Von Spookypoop

        See why I don’t vote?

        • more beer

          Actually, no I don’t. Complacency like that, is a big part of the reason things remain the same or get even worse. These idiots count on your none vote. Then they need less of the idiot vote to either gain or remain in whatever office they ran for. Other than the bullshit that took place in Florida in 2000. It probably wouldn’t have been so close. The more people who take that attitude. The more likely we are to have morons running the country. Like George W Bush. You can continue not voting. But you and others with that attitude. Will be a big part of the reason we will be calling Trump Mr President.

          • Hammerdong Von Spookypoop

            As I’ve said many many times, give me someone I can vote for with a clear conscience and I’ll vote for them. The whole ‘vote fore the lesser evil’ thing is more proof of complacency with the system than me saying ‘fuck you, not giving you my vote’. You’d be a fool not to think that the choices you have aren’t already bought and sold from the get go.

          • more beer

            No what you are saying doing that is fuck me harder, don’t even use lube.

          • Hammerdong Von Spookypoop

            No, what I’m saying is “fuck you, you idiots don’t speak for me”. This song says it perfectly:

            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RWre8fQNM5E

          • everyone’s crooked. i just give my votes to one of my smarter friends.

          • more beer

            Yes very true. But at the same time it is one of the only ways to be heard. Vote third party it is what I do.

          • actually i have been known to vote third party as well. if only these sheeple would wake up and vote third, trve change might come to the US

          • Sir Tapir The Based

            My little vote always goes to waste because I vote for the small parties.

          • Óðinn

            Even if you take that view, they’re not equal.

          • Óðinn

            I agree with you wholeheartedly on that, more beer. Apathy, when it comes to our political system, fixes nothing. It also allows those who want to do us harm the chance to strengthen their hold on power. There are very powerful business interests who count on the apathy of certain blocks of voters for their continued success.

      • Óðinn

        Yes. “Obama made him do it.” It had nothing to do with Sarah Palin’s own bad parenting or her son’s own will, intentions, and character…

        When will people learn that Obama is responsible for domestic abuse. 😉

        • more beer

          I guess Obama is also responsible for the kid cutting the brake lines on school bus when he was a teenager. It had nothing to do with them just being a white trash family. is just another case of no one taking responsibility for their own actions. Which seems to be the new American way.

    • Dave Vincent’s Perm

      ‘Trump is a special, special man.’

      I have to say, I agree on that one.

    • LVL 10 BLACKBEARD

      Yeah, her endorsement speech was hilarious (as it is any time she opens her dumb mouth)

      https://www.yahoo.com/politics/sarah-palin-endorses-donald-trump-222630232.html

      • Óðinn

        You’re right. That is hilarious. She’s got an IQ of about 70.

  • Óðinn

    I’ll check this out Dagon. Thank-you.

  • Eliza

    This seems very interesting.

  • Hammerdong Von Spookypoop

    Definitely checking this out! Obrigado!

  • Count_Breznak
  • i know why Dagon posted that image: look at all dem buttz

    • Dagon

      I am the booty god.

  • 365ChaosRiddenDays

    “Black Mirror” is worthy of our time, It’s good that a third season will “see the light” sooner or later.