Day #172: Black Mirror (TV Series)

Synopsis:

[From IMDb:] A television anthology series that shows the dark side of life and technology.

My take:

It’s a distinct possibility that there are bad British television shows out there. In fact, it’s an inevitability – after all, no one in perfect. Thankfully though, I’ve yet to come across one; and Black Mirror has been added to my list of exemplary TV to come out of the country where, we’re occasionally reminded, my nation’s Queen resides.

(As far as I’m aware she wasn’t involved in producing Black Mirror though, so she doesn’t get any credit for it.)

There are a lot of things to love about Black Mirror. The level of creativity displayed in developing the concepts for each episode is phenomenal; the acting is phenomenal; the production quality is phenomenal. Really, it’s just all around brilliant TV.

What really stands out for me though, is the way that each episode takes you on an emotional journey, where you’re encouraged at one level to see these characters as real people going through real situations, and to recognise that there’s some major commentary going on about the human condition at another, more allegorical level.  In other words, it’s entertaining and smart, which is right up my alley.

Black Mirror is focused on dystopian visions of alternative universes dictated by certain aspects of technology, so it doesn’t often dip directly into the horror-specific pool (although there are certainly horrific/creepy/frightening aspects to some of the stories). Having said that, White Bear differs, in that it has a much more traditional horror movie theme (a woman waking up without memory in a world affected by something that makes people zombie-like, where many of those who’re unaffected wreak havoc), and even has its own little horror movie-worthy twist. It’s just unfortunate that, while not bad, it’s, uh…probably the weakest of the lot.

In contrast, Fifteen Million Merits was definitely my favourite episode – if you can say that something that broke your heart at least three times can be your ‘favourite’ anything. It’s sweet and uplifting, right up until it’s soul crushing. And Daniel Kaluuya’s monologue toward the end of the episode was just so freakin’ powerful.

And, proving that I’m not above liking things peppered with dick jokes, I also enjoyed The Waldo Moment, which offers up a simultaneously witty and – again – heartbreaking take not just on the story of a comedian being used up and spat out by his artistically destructive shtick, but on the state of the culture of politics in a world of career politicians and disenfranchised voters.

That’s right. Smart political commentary and blue cartoon bear dicks. Bloody brilliant.

Content creators take note: credible characters and strong actors go a long way toward selling even the most out there stories.

But, yeah, okay. I’m done gushing. You can (and bloody well should) stream Black Mirror on Netflix.

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