Black Mirror is the best show that has been or will ever be made.
Black Mirror is groundbreaking.
Black Mirror is a fine wine that should be slowly sipped and savoured.
Black Mirror is back.
In the five years since Charlie Brooker’s anthology series premiered, the anticipation for its return was almost palpable. We were initially blessed with the series in 2011. Over the years, the British anthology was almost like a secret that audiences only wanted to share with their best friend. The show was a deep examination into the dark side of society’s immediate need to embrace any technological upgrade with a blatant disregard for the dangers that might result.
In its first iteration, Black Mirror depicted Brooker’s take on the absurdity of reality television which continues to push the envelope and then seems to act surprised when the same envelope rips at the seams. In what was arguably the best episode of the first run, characters in a dystopian society carried an implant inside them that recorded their every experience. In the episode’s hook, this ends up torturing a man who learns that his wife had cheated on him in a moment that he is forced to relive over and over.
Given its brilliance, it’s easy to see why fans of the show desperately wanted more and at any cost. At the same time, a desire for more Black Mirror also brought an intense fear that the new run of episodes wouldn’t be at the same level as its predecessor. After all, when was the last time you saw a sequel that was better than the original?
It is in this regard that Black Mirror’s third season truly delivers. Netflix acquiring the show offered the series a much larger budget to work with but this didn’t divert the show’s need for simplicity. Instead of overbearing the viewer with special effects just for the sake of having them, the show’s tone didn’t really change all that much.
The best episode of the new bunch is titled “Nosedive” and is penned by Rashida Jones and Michael Schur. It depicts a society where one’s social media standing determines even the most rudimentary aspect of their daily life. From the homes that they can purchase to the type of service they receive when ordering their morning coffee, the series is a frightening look at where our obsession with followers and likes might take us in the no-so distant future.
“Shut Up And Dance” is also mesmerizing. When a teenager is caught in a compromising situation online, his life is turned upside down as he attempts to prevent blackmailers from releasing footage of his mistake.
While many of my colleagues seemed the most enthralled by “San Junipero,” I found this one to be the most perplexing. While it can best be described as an exercise in “time travel tolerance,” it was a little confusing in a first viewing.
“Men Against Fire” and “Hated In The Nation,” are both quite dark, even by Black Mirror’s standards. The first explores war and dehumanization while the latter concentrates on the perils of vigilantism and clickbait journalism.
The interesting thing about Black Mirror is that you while you want to soak it all up in one sitting, it is so thought provoking that you need to step back to fully enjoy it. The show is an intoxicating experience but one that you need to sober up from as well. If Brooker’s version of what might happen actually does, we won’t look back at it with Back To The Future-esque nostalgia. Instead, we will wonder about what we let ourselves even with such a pronounced warning sign.
Black Mirror’s third season is currently steaming on Netflix.
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