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To Watch: Black Mirror
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This holiday month, my true love Netflix gave me the gift of the British anthology series Black Mirror, which is without a doubt an example of the most subversive and smart story-telling I have come across on television. It’s like a futuristic version of The Twilight Zone for the digital age. Each story carefully teeters just outside the realm of possibility in regards to technology, but no matter how advanced and futuristic gadgets may appear, the narratives are grounded in real human emotions that allow us to empathize and feel unsettled about our own anxieties.

Charlie Brooker, the show’s creator, wrote for The Guardian, “If technology is a drug – and it does feel like a drug – then what, precisely, are the side-effects? This area – between delight and discomfort – is where Black Mirror is set.” He exaggerates current inventions to a point where they are horrific, yet still seductive: What if you could “block” a person in real life? Or DVR your encounters and replay them later, having a visual record of every move? Or what if you could rebuild a dead person based on code made up from their social media output? What are the consequences of living lives through these black mirrored screens?

Without giving away any spoilers to the short series, I’d recommend starting with episode 1 to get hooked. (Chronology isn’t crucial since each episode is an entirely new setting with different characters.) Through its mind-bending twists and acerbic wit, Black Mirror critiques the dark future we could be in for, or as Brooker puts it, “The way we live now – and the way we might be living in 10 minutes time if we’re clumsy.”

Who’s watched it? What else should I watch?

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  • I definitively have to agree, Black Mirror has been one of my favourite series ever!

    I really enjoyed the recent Christmas special too! 🙂
    x

    • Charlotte Fassler

      It was terrific and I liked how it was a bit longer and kind of felt like 2 episodes in one.
      I WISH THERE WERE MORE.

  • Esther Levy

    Currently on episode 2 and can’t shake this anxious/awesome feeling I have

  • Amelia Diamond

    IDK IF I CAN HANDLE IT

  • Oh my gosh everyone watch the whole thing now! I need to talk to people about this. It is so good. The world building is off the charts! Every episode ends and I’m sitting there like “Well that was the best one” and then I watch another on and I decide THAT one is the best ever.

    • Charlotte Fassler

      OK so which was your favorite?

      • Shit I really like Be Right Back and The Entire History of you. You?

        • Charlotte Fassler

          Isn’t it eerie how “Be Right Back” has a similar vibe to “Her” yet aired about 9 months before the film came out?
          Shows we are all thinking in a similar way.

          I really thought that “The National Anthem” was really smart and well done. Also a big fan of “15 Million Merits”.

          “White Bear” was NUTS!

          • The thing I love about Be Right Back is that before I watched the series I had a conversation with a friend about someone we knew who had died recently and how weird it was that all their social media stuff was still there occupying a space as if they were still around. It’s unsettling but in a way that is kind of completely new to people. It’s like technology has kind of evolved how we think about ghosts.

            Also Fifteen Million Merits is a life ruiner.

          • Charlotte Fassler

            I agree which is what I think is so on point about this show. They exploit these real sentiments and anxieties and alter it with some sort of futuristic element and it hits home in such a way uniquely akin to the Twilight Zone.
            Seeing a show that so explicitly cuts at our morality in relation to technology is smart and current. I remember how shaken up I was in regards to the death of a friend but more so about the reaction and presence social media had in the grieving process.
            Weird times.

  • Sarah

    It’s so great, but the 7 episodes do go by pretty quick. After watching I was looking for something to fill that dark/erie vibe and was able to with The Knick.

    • Charlotte Fassler

      ooooh interesting, I haven’t watched that yet but have heard good things!
      Additionally, I really want to check out the other projects Charlie Brooker has made.

  • Don’t EVER start a series – once you do, there is no going back!

    jeansandmacaroons.blogspot.com

  • Charlotte Fassler

    I’ll be watching this later:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t3EoNsGHZD0

  • Paulajrr

    White Bear was amazing! and the costumes were really cool too

  • One of the reasons I love British television so much is that most of their seasons are short (only 3 episodes)! That way, I’m not spending days and nights glued to a screen, though I’m completely guilty of doing that anyway.

    I also discovered that watching Black Mirror right before bedtime is completely counterproductive. The show is so genius and terrifying that I was actually scared to walk to the bathroom at night. It’s pretty insane.

    • Charlotte Fassler

      My dad and I both had nightmares after watching the first two episodes…..

  • Sarah

    I sort of regret binging on this series over winter break because I think this is the type of show that you should savor and really think about for a while. But I also don’t regret it because this show is BOMB.

    “The National Anthem” wrecked me because it was just…. raw? I guess? It was so uncomfortable but you couldn’t look away which I guess is the point of the episode. Morbid curiosity.

    And I read somewhere that Robert Downy Jr. is making “The Entire History of You” into a movie which is weird because I thought that episode was done perfectly.

    • Aydan

      Yes, I heard this too! Hopefully it just draws on it as inspiration and then uses it to tell a different story but in the same vein!

  • Aydan

    Got hooked on these back in England. I have to say that its one of those shows that has me gripped from beginning to end. There’s usually a twist and you NEVER know its coming. This is white-knuckle TV!

  • Honestly, I really wish I hadn’t seen episode 1 of season 1.

    http://onsecondavenue.com

  • I’m to scared to click play, but i know i’ll get hooked. It happens every time.

    • Charlotte Fassler

      DO IT!!!
      Also there aren’t that many so it isn’t a large time commitment…

  • I have to watch it now!

    http://www.FashionSnag.com

  • Quinn Halman

    “Entire history of you” was unreal

  • Beccy E.

    A couple of my work friends recommended Black Mirror and I am hooked! It is written and directed perfectly, and I keep wanting more. As for other TV show suggestions, if you haven’t gotten into Battlestar Galactica yet, PLEASE DO! It is amazingly addicting.

  • charlotte p

    You HAVE to watch Utopia! Another amazing British series. The cinematography is amazing, with a thought provoking story line!! Defiantly worth a watch!

    • Charlotte Fassler

      so down. Channel 4 seems to be where it’s at.
      (nice name btw…)

    • Nicky Odujirin

      I’m heartbroken that it didn’t get renewed. There at least needs to be a third season because I need some sort of resolution!

  • great review definitely makes me want to watch it!

    http://www.modeography.com/

  • linata

    i will watching this later at home

    agen tiket pesawat

  • Ooh I’ve been loving this series! I just watched “The Entire History of You” with my boyfriend… it’s probably my favorite episode that I’ve seen thus far.

    — Michelle | MXP STYLE

  • Nicky Odujirin

    This is one of my favourite series! I’m partial to 15 Million Merits and White Bear, both of which have scarred me for life.

  • Sophie

    Yes!! Black Mirror is such an awesome programme. It’s pretty interesting, scary, extreme, ridiculous, thought provoking – UK’s channel 4 did pretty well! I was impressed!
    The Christmas special was a bit terrifying.
    http://saintsonaplane.com

  • Mónica Parga

    Who else compares everything to Black Mirror now? 😀 After watching the series, I can’t avoid relating real news to the series… I recently began compiling all the news that could belong to an episode http://blackmirrored.tumblr.com

    • Charlotte Fassler

      Oh that’s awesome! (also scary & plays into my own anxieties about technology).
      I definitely now think of too much in relation to Black Mirror. Though there are so few episodes, it really stays with you.

      • Mónica Parga

        Yes, the stories are tremendously effective and powerful. ‘Her’ is like a sugarcoated version of it 😉

  • Joanna

    Love this show! Charlie Brooker is brilliant. If you liked this, you should watch his show Screenwipe!

  • “White Bear” had me sweating. I have such horrible anxiety about being chased. I was just like, “HELP HER!!!!!!” but also, “Someone give her a hairbrush!!”, you know?

    • Charlotte Fassler

      And you just know once you hit the end that her hair is only getting worse from there……

      That episode had a lot to unpack about it, and was pretty damn disturbing. It was pretty chilling at the end when they showed everything being set up.

      I do think that episode could have been tightened just a little bit because some of the chasing felt redundant and we still would have had the same anxiety-provoking experience as viewers without as much of it.

  • lemkam

    They lost me on the second episode. Just can’t get into it.

  • D

    Black Mirror: White Christmas (Feature length special) I hope you get to see it!

  • Nina P

    If you’ve never come across The Day Today it’s really about time! It’s a surreal British 90s parody of the news and it’s sadly still rather fitting 20 years later. Written by Chris Morris, Charlie Brooker’s cowriter on the show Nathan Barley (which is also worth a watch for its send up of early London hipsters!), I think it’s definitely an early precursor of Black Mirror, though slightly less disturbing and rather more funny.

  • Alison Kale

    The very first episode scarred me for life. I don’t know if I can watch more!!

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