Results 1 to 29 of 29



Thread: Black Mirror (Now a Netflix original)



(Users Browsing this Thread: )

  1. #1
    Comic Book Me Shaunbadia's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    Northern Ireland
    Posts
    28,634
    Blog Entries
    1


    Black Mirror (Now a Netflix original)

    I urge you all to watch. Season 3 of this anthology series from the fantastic Charlie Brooker drops on Netflix on October 21st. The first 2 seasons and the Christmas special that originally aired on Channel 4 in the UK are already on there.


    It's some of the finest, most twisted, modern horror I've ever watched. The whole "Twilight Zone for the digital age" review quote is probably the most short and accurate way of describing what the show is. Every episode is its own self-contained thing. With the source of the horror always being a result of a grim take on a technological aspect of modern life and I can't express how much I adore this show and I'm super excited that it's taken off enough for Netflix to get its hands on it.
    How to remaster

  2. #2
    Al Jeany apologist scully apologist's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2015
    Location
    shotter's nation
    Posts
    2,364
    Blog Entries
    62


    Twisted is the right word. It's the sort of show that leaves you psychologically bereft. Brooker is a genius for sure. Insane that he also wrote Nathan Barley

  3. #3
    streets ahead Paul's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2003
    Location
    Bristol, England
    Posts
    9,454


    Season 3's up today! Watched the first episode, great as expected. It had echoes of that Community episode, only with the requisite added despair. I'm hoping in the transition to Netflix it won't all be set in America as the Britishism was part of the show's appeal, but it worked in this initial episode.
    Last edited by Paul; 10-21-2016 at 03:10 AM.

  4. #4
    Hired Goon box elder's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Location
    Maryland
    Posts
    16,663


    nice. i watched season 1 because that was the only one available on netflix at the time. glad to see i have some catching up to do

  5. #5
    Comic Book Me Shaunbadia's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    Northern Ireland
    Posts
    28,634
    Blog Entries
    1


    Quote Originally Posted by Paul View Post
    Season 3's up today! Watched the first episode, great as expected. It had echoes of that Community episode, only with the requisite added despair. I'm hoping in the transition to Netflix it won't all be set in America as the Britishism was part of the show's appeal, but it worked in this initial episode.
    Given that it's a Netflix thing instead of Channel 4 now I wouldn't be surprised if they did more American based stories since we have 7 British ones already. Wouldn't mind that just for the sake of variety if they wanted to maybe jump back and forth a bit more. Maybe some stories based in Canada or other parts of Europe too.

  6. #6
    Hired Goon box elder's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Location
    Maryland
    Posts
    16,663


    so i finally got to the much lauded san junipero and i have a theory (groan, i know), but it's not the one already floating out there. spoilers obv

    remember the nerdy arcade guy from the beginning that they made a point to keep showing, and to show that he had a thing for yorkie? the one we saw in multiple timelines, implying he may have been stalking her? the whole time i was like "oh yeah, that guys gonna come back into play at some point" but then he just...didn't. or did he?!. kelly was pretty adamant about not wanting to stay in san junipero so it comes out of nowhere when she shows up in the end. but how do the avatars work there? i assume people can look however they want, so what would stop that guy from pretending to be kelly? it would also fit into the theme of obsession that was prevalent in the first half of the episode but also seemed to be dropped all of a sudden. i'd have to rewatch it to see if there are any clues to support this, but a couple things i noticed were the conversation about glasses at the beginning. it's clear that nobody would "need" glasses in there and yorkie admits to wearing them because she feels uncomfortable without them. the gamer guy also wears glasses likely for the same reason. kelly never wears glasses until the final scene where she's wearing sunglasses. also they drive off into the sunset in a car/scene that looks straight out of the video game the guy initially wanted to play with yorkie:



    the end shows two people inserted into the system, but i think they very intentionally have serial numbers and not names, so we can't say for sure who they were. it would also, of course, fit a lot better into the bleak endings that black mirror usually has instead of sticking out like a sore thumb as it does if taken at face value. the fact that she thinks she's spending the rest of her life with the woman she loves when it's actually creepily some guy she barely knew existed would be totally in line with the "technology you think is great will screw you in the end" running theme of the show
    Last edited by box elder; 12-14-2016 at 03:20 PM.

  7. #7
    Ill-Mannered Sack of Crap LosTickaToeRest's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2014
    Location
    What's your angle, pervert?
    Posts
    2,274
    Blog Entries
    2


    Great show. The new season sags a little but I still loved the anonymous hackers one. Sucker for anthology horror and this show stands out as one of the best recent attempts I've seen. As a sidenote, if you're a fan of this show and aren't familiar with J.G. Ballard, do yourself a favor and check out his collected short stories. The show captures his style more perfectly than any other TV series I can think of.
    Earth. Atomizer. Let's go.

  8. Thumbs Up To This Post by: Torrens

  9. #8
    vs meninism pax's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2014
    Location
    #6 Wendy's Castle
    Posts
    5,652
    Blog Entries
    12


    haven't watched much but i did see the ep where the guy goes into the virtual reality mansion. managed to freak me the hell out and depress me at the same time. didn't expect the episide to end the way it did
    Quote Originally Posted by Elliot76 View Post
    don't feel threatened by a dude who gargles mayonnaise

  10. #9
    No, money down! Traviud's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Posts
    1,914


    Fantastic show. I'm almost done with it, but Fifteen Million Merits is still my favorite.

    SPOILERS IN THIS POST LOTS OF THEM.

    I just watched San Junipero. As wonderful and layered as much of that episode is, and how thought-provoking its ending proves to be (particularly for someone of the Christian faith such as myself - is that a true afterlife or simply one step in delaying inevitable demise?), I tend to wish there was just the tiniest bit more resistance at the end. We're given this fantastic, emotional performance from Kelly; she pours her heart out to Yorkie about her daughter and five-decade relationship with her husband. The very next scene, welp, it's time for some Belinda Carlisle. And while that is, in isolation, a complex, beautiful and inexplicably unsettling 3 minutes, what comes before it cheapened just a touch by what follows. Why did she change her mind after all that? I mean, I know why she did from a narrative perspective, I've seen the "letting go of a dead person is what they would want me to do" trope many times before and it brings the feels, but what specifically makes her reach that conclusion? Why not cut out a couple minutes of the 80s nostalgia orgy to explain this woman's motivation?

    I also wish it weren't possible to opt out of San Junipero at any time (and maybe even go to other locales whenever you want, which seems to be the case) because it take all the stakes out of the equation. Basically, it's perfect tech. And while that's nice and cute and therefore novel for the show, that lack of complexity is beneath Charlie Brooker. Assuming that death and purpose are necessary elements of the human consciousness, presenting this man-made afterlife as flawless because of the potential to develop relationships (and not everyone in San Junipero appears to be capable of doing that) feels disingenuous to me and all of these issues are conveniently side-stepped because they can just opt out whenever (how are they communicating with the machine, exactly?) He seemed to breach these existential concerns with the presence of the Quagmire, but he didn't quite go far enough with it to give necessary complexity to the storyline. I want to believe that ending this episode with a dance party where everyone, including the previously socially awkward people (gamer guy is there), are all happy and living together in harmony was meant to ring untrue, but it wasn't.

    It's an amazing episode for the most part though. Probably the second best in the show's run and better than anything else in season 3. Terrific acting, foreshadowing, character development, cinematography, almost everything, really. Clint Mansell's score is brilliant too. Change 3-4 minutes of this and it's a 10/10 masterpiece instead of simply really great.
    Last edited by Traviud; 12-29-2016 at 04:46 PM.

  11. #10
    Hired Goon box elder's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Location
    Maryland
    Posts
    16,663


    Quote Originally Posted by Traviud View Post
    ending this episode with a dance party where everyone, including the previously socially awkward people (gamer guy is there)
    oh is he there at the end? guess that kind of kills my theory. that's...really awkward writing in that case. why was he so prevalent in the first half of the episode only to basically disappear and amount to nothing? why have such an emotional gut-punch at the end with kelly's speech only to say "naa never mind jk" 5 seconds later?

  12. #11
    Proud of Being Lame Nitsy's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2014
    Location
    Palo Alto, CA
    Posts
    3,953


    Just started this since I've heard nothing but good things about it on several different forums. I've seen "Be Right Back" and "San Junipero" so far. Really amazing stuff--can't wait to watch the rest. I haven't seen a good sci-fi anthology show in a while.
    Get woke, go broke

  13. #12
    Comic Book Me Shaunbadia's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    Northern Ireland
    Posts
    28,634
    Blog Entries
    1


    Man, fuck that Seth MacFarlane Star Trek show, bring on the Black Mirror version instead!

  14. Thumbs Up To This Post by: Igor

  15. #13
    Comic Book Me Shaunbadia's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    Northern Ireland
    Posts
    28,634
    Blog Entries
    1


    Also, older news but it certainly slipped by me at the time. They're doing a book series: https://www.thewrap.com/black-mirror...a-book-series/

  16. #14
    Pin Pal Igor's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2017
    Posts
    467
    Blog Entries
    4


    Hypee, love this show. Last season had a few misses, but still looking forward to the new one.
    I

  17. #15
    Comic Book Me Shaunbadia's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    Northern Ireland
    Posts
    28,634
    Blog Entries
    1


    Bring on the 29th!

  18. Thumbs Up To This Post by: Igor, Ryan

  19. #16
    in the back of a pick-up Ryan's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Location
    Las Vegas, NV
    Posts
    26,858
    Blog Entries
    5


    black museum is apparently one that seems to tie in all of the eps up to this point, which is an interesting, but risky idea. (pretty much the idea behind "night gallery")
    twitter

    Quote Originally Posted by IdiotDetector View Post
    Two and a Half Men is no more an "adult show" than "Rocket Power."

  20. #17
    hickory smoked dude tyler's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    Water Valley, MS
    Posts
    10,863
    Blog Entries
    134


    oh good theres already a thread. if you like stupidly long foosian posts watch this space!!! if not hows your day you doin good? nice new haircut champ you look like a million keep up the hustle


  21. #18
    Al Jeany apologist scully apologist's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2015
    Location
    shotter's nation
    Posts
    2,364
    Blog Entries
    62


    Have been watching lots of interviews with Charlie Brooker about the making of Black Mirror. Will post some here at some point, they're fascinating and he's utterly hilarious.

    Also, his career has got to be the best arc in the Television industry. American's might not be familiar with it but he used to do an amazing show called Screenwipe in which he'd review and disassemble TV shows and the industry at large (foose you'd honestly love it, its on youtube). It's amazing that after years of brutally critiquing he put his money where his mouth is and produced one of the most groundbreaking shows of the 21st Century. You couldn't have seen it coming... and yet at the same time it makes perfect sense. In Screenwipe he is clearly passionate about TV and his dark sense of humour, paranoia and intelligence are all there. So cool that he was able to seamlessly move from ruthless reviewer to ruthless writer.
    Last edited by scully apologist; 07-15-2019 at 07:33 AM.
    punk buck bonafide

  22. #19
    paranormal investigator friz's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2002
    Location
    dicksville, usa
    Posts
    3,227
    Blog Entries
    1


    nobody is reading any of that
    Quote Originally Posted by simpsonsbart View Post
    About milk, remember that this word has several meanings...

  23. #20
    Administrator Sam's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Location
    Pennsylvania
    Posts
    34,362
    Blog Entries
    503


    when is your next 0 reply thread hocking your album coming out

  24. Thumbs Up To This Post by: pilcrow

  25. #21
    uwu cam's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2017
    Location
    stillwhater
    Posts
    7,416
    Blog Entries
    4


    tuessY

  26. #22
    hickory smoked dude tyler's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    Water Valley, MS
    Posts
    10,863
    Blog Entries
    134


    ive expressed regret or guilt about my long writeups to the people who enjoy them many times and all ive gotten is support. even if nobody reads this and thats up to them i dont regret making it long i dont quit writing until im done babyy

    the way im looking at this is maybe its easy to see someone vomit 20 paragraphs at you and compare them to say zombies rise from sea pondering about babar, but i dont think writing something extensive is an inherent negative, its about five seasons of a show, the whole dang series so far. all i can say is i know people who like my stupidly long writing and im gonna keep doing it and its your perogative how to feel but no need to be mean :>)

  27. Thumbs Up To This Post by: Sam

  28. #23
    hickory smoked dude tyler's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    Water Valley, MS
    Posts
    10,863
    Blog Entries
    134


    alright to avoid being assassinated by semantics its 32 long chunks. lotta free content tbbh!! you're welcome

  29. #24
    paranormal investigator friz's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2002
    Location
    dicksville, usa
    Posts
    3,227
    Blog Entries
    1


    Quote Originally Posted by Sam View Post
    when is your next 0 reply thread hocking your album coming out
    ok, that was a pretty good burn

  30. #25
    Proud of Being Lame Nitsy's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2014
    Location
    Palo Alto, CA
    Posts
    3,953


    Quote Originally Posted by tyler View Post
    phones bad.
    Yeah that was pretty much the overall impression I got from BM as well.

    I like your reviews and I can't seem to consume enough analysis of BM, so I probably will read this. But could've done with some episode title headings (or at least put the episode titles in bold).

  31. #26
    hickory smoked dude tyler's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    Water Valley, MS
    Posts
    10,863
    Blog Entries
    134


    headings would deter the way it arcs but i can edit in some bolds if it makes it more legible. the dreaded Edit Tag will follow me into hell but nevertheless!

  32. #27
    hickory smoked dude tyler's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    Water Valley, MS
    Posts
    10,863
    Blog Entries
    134


    ok it wont edit forsomereason so im gonna repost it with bolds and axe the first one. hopefully wont take too long

  33. #28
    hickory smoked dude tyler's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    Water Valley, MS
    Posts
    10,863
    Blog Entries
    134


    LONGPOSTS MCGEE PRESENTS EVIL SCREEN: TRY NO.2

    perhaps by nature, anthology shows are impossible to succinctly define, as they should be. if one can diminish the nature of a wide swath of stories into one notion or theme would that not thereby reveal the limited nature of the conversation it endeavors to carry? black mirror is frequently assessed in such terms by outsiders and fans alike, playfully or perhaps not, distilling the essence of the series' as-of-yet twenty three episodes into such memetic prods as "wot if yer mum ran on BATREEES". its funny, and i did it too, in fact i'll be your exhibit a and say partaking in lampooning this show from afar was irresistible, perhaps because i grow fatigued of most prestige television that takes itself too seriously and hasn't nearly the tale to tell it seems to fathom. thing is, what i did was dumb and unfair (not that im gonna stop mind you! someone has to knock stranger things down a peg) but like i said, outsiders and Fans alike, and the fans possess the ammunition to explain to you why the memes tell a bit more of the story than one would realize, but they also suggest the immensely limited view with which one looks at black mirror.

    put plainly, black mirror is not about how bad technology is. brooker himself will tell you that, his description suggests the series is an extension of his own deep seated neuroticism, a pathologic unease in well, everything. as the zoomers might would say, hashtag relatable. so here's my first extrapolation of why black mirror is judged as being an indictment of tech and a suggestion that technology's advancement will nine times out of ten (or like twenty out of twenty three) it will go haywire. brooker...isn't subtle. black mirror isn't subtle. i am no twilight zone expert, for years i disregarded it as dated and insubstantial, a fault on my part to missing much of the subtext, but thats the thing of it is serling and co. knew how to tell a story without asserting it at you. commendable and at times probably conducive to creating some real thinkers and disturbances in the series, but its hardly new. any fabled horror monster you can think of is probably a metaphor. the tale of dracula is so well-established that it precedes its own potential for easily deconstructed subtext because it exists as this timeless tale, this image in all of our heads, yet all the same the story has been identified as a metaphor things like foreign invasion and human sexuality. perhaps a more apt metaphor would be frankenstein though, a character born inherently pure, made a monster merely through outside perception of himself, influenced by humans so as to not be allowed to be human himself. the real monster is man yadda yadda, we know all this now, but in the context of their stories these ancient godmothers and fathers of horror metaphor are thoughtful and weave their subtext into stories that on the surface manage to enthrall without spelling it all out altogether. charlie brooker does not do this.

    to be fair, this is an unavoidable symptom of existence. what they define as post-modernism is more easily described at least in the arts as as a commentary upon the established, and said commentaries may be incapable of being subtextual in their search for making an absolute statement. does this mean post-modernist art cannot survive alone, not necessarily, i would argue counter-cultural arts achieve exactly this through their very depiction of the evolution of the human condition, commenting by a sort of omission, but this is more difficult when the art is building upon something else's statement with a counter-remark thematically. its not as if metaphor is a thing of the past, not at all, but to what degree can you be metaphorical if your art is indeed commenting on something so direct? this i think is the best way to look at it, sure on one hand those early tomes of horror articulated meaningful ideas through the context of monsters as metaphor, but to comment specifically on horror may require a dismantling of the illusion at the core. horror is a genre, but it didn't come from nowhere, its a space within us, and maybe you have to strip away the makeup and costuming and see it for what it really is, and it doesn't hurt to have a neurotic alarmist at the helm to make it happen. so the reason the "WOT IF etc etc" rings true is because brooker tends to be very declarative, and the individual tech nightmares are so adjacent to reality they feel less like sophisticated metaphor and more like grandiose anxiety attack ramblings penned and cleaned up into (mostly) coherent stories. rarely does an episode leave you too unsure of what its saying (in my view anyway, but ill get to what i perceive to be misunderstandings later), but what can be appreciated is the presentation of the message itself, and the.. well, message itself. of course as i said earlier, anthologies cannot be so succinctly defined, and i would be failing to provide a proper overview if i focused my words on one theme. so then, here's where we get messy. i'm about to just Go, and just talk about the twenty three episodes i saw, because black mirror is way more things than i've suggested it is so far.

    i do think its best to begin with the pilot however, because it paints a pretty quick picture of what the show wants to say, and how little it can hold in how loud it plans to say it. "the national anthem" definitely feels like a blueprint thematically, but alot of its advantages are in the pacing, as the episode bounces from setting to setting, winding down corridors with our lead trying to figure his way out of his pork porking, cutting to drunkards and irresponsible hospital workers alike unable to tear their attention away from the madness unfolding, and we as the viewer dont get that option either. its gripping, its intently gripping, it drops its stunner of conceit and lights the fuse leading to the inevitable kaboom by which i mean human semen inside of a pig's sexual canal, and we get nary a moment to think or reflect, and its quite effective, it has less of the cinematic flair and open space the show would gain but it navigates its dialogue-heavy escalation with ease even as its traversing something so uncomfortable. this is all great, but first episodes must have their follies, and the post-credit exposition dumping of the news revealing iT wAs A sOcIaL eXpErImEnT BrO feels redundant, brooker yelling the point at me is loud enough in his imagery and script i don't need this extra tag on it. beyond that this isn't a particularly mind-bending point, though it doesn't really need to be, but it feels as if it could have been cleaned up just a little. even so, for a first episode, watching people watch another guy fuck a pig and grimace in disgust but unable to look away, thats a statement. its an obvious statement, but its a valuable core statement. is that statement Screen Bad? no. that statement is humans are easily influenced and manipulated, far too easily, and technology only makes it easier.

    perhaps its the desire to have something to give us the answers. thats where "the entire history of you" can come in, with its offering of memories as an accessible database, an enticing thought for its notion of convenience, but for many, certainly an ocd-addled fella like myself, the uncomfortable truth is learning the answers isn't always as satisfying as you would hope, maybe it won't be enough, and maybe it'll compound your suffering as you obsess so much you can't focus on anything else but those minutiae that imply disaster. even if you are right, which our protagonist is, it doesn't matter. maybe it is better to never know. a human nature lesson influenced by tech that emboldens the potential to disobey it. elsewhere we have "the waldo moment", not among the better episodes but a shining example of how technological advancements can influence the power of branding which itself influences the brand-religious who desire an answer, even if they don't know the question. in this instance perhaps the question is a political one so immense and overwhelming they don't want to think about it, so given the opportunity for escapism in a political figure Just Like Them, someone they identified with previously, a brand they have been taught to trust, its easy to fall prey to its influence. it also dabbles in the nature of the brand outgrowing its creator, the voice and identity never mattering as the voice actor of the wacky bear they love so much is tossed to the ground and beaten when he threatened to offer them truth. people want to believe what they already do after all, its easier. this is how politics becomes what it is, humans were never cut out for society. too real? eh.

    of course technology's roots in dismantling the foundations of peoples are rooted in the two-way street of supply and demand, in capitalism. black mirror knows keenly the trade between those in their platinum towers and those gazing up thinking "someday", and technology with all of its conveniences and extravagance help maintain the illusion that someday may come. in a world of infinite science-fictionish possibilities, any of your wildest dreams can be sold to you. artificial intelligence and by extension digitization of human consciousness are frequent themes of the series, and for good reason. its easy to call black mirror repetitious, but would it be as accurate to suggest every new development is some incredible unforeseen thing? as tech evolves it also homogenizes, emphasizing the convenience. there are multitudes of stories centering around small circular objects placed on the forehead to affect the mind, differing in effect depending upon the episode. this may irritate those hungry for wild new avenues but it rings true with how technology actually evolves under capitalism. easy to understand, and as far as the consumer knows, basically magic. its one of the best outings in the series, "white christmas", that establishes this notion of our desire for convenience coming to a climax of copying our full selves to a personal assistant mechanism to fulfill our daily needs. this space is revisited so much id assume because it is so open and inherently terrifying, and probably not far off the mark. it makes business sense, who would know you better than you, so its easy to provide as something to be sold, but then we deal with the deep ramifications of what this means, to house a digitized but nonetheless entire version of yourself inside a small white virtual room to take care of your daily routine for you. this drives the idea beyond just smart tech, beyond just a well-built assistant capable storing information and answering questions and playing the new carly rae jepsen album on the weekends. this is, effectively, equivalent to a human consciousness, and thus, this is slavery, enforced beyond any control or will of this new consciousness. then maybe the thesis isn't just about how humans are influenced, but what it means to be human, and the interplay between consciousness and influence on a variety of levels.

    the ai stuff has its fair share of stories, some a bit frivolous like s5 closer "rachel, jack and ashley too" which offers a passing nugget of clever programming in having its ai be another digitized consciousness but with a limiter applied to simulate the sweethearted platitudes of any talking doll but with the full capability of responding to questions without presets like old dolls. good idea but barely addressed in a mess of a dark tinted disney movie where it wastes too much time with digi miley swearing and mouse trap antics to dissect the way celebrity would be further abused by technological capabilities to further brands beyond unwilling brand creators. "waldo" did it better basically. similarly unsatisfying is "uss callister", for my money too similar in its theming regarding the enslavement and control of digital consciousness, too laborious in addressing said themes and far too couched in Clever jokes about them partaking against their will in these star trek adventures. here i also found the outside worldbuilding unsatisfying, and while the ending trapping our antagonist in a stasis tantamount to a coma in a black void inside his game is satisfying, it takes forever ambling to that finish line with its redundant ideas. again reusing ideas can make thematic sense but here it felt Too similar with trek window dressing and jokes like a later episode of community, so meta very worldbuilding. on the topic of underserved themes in virtual reality i guess i gotta say something about "striking vipers", which has all the building blocks for a potent parable about gender identity and understanding one's identity later in life when it threatens their currently constructed life, and to its credit it gets the mundanities and drama of the relationship struggle pretty well, to the degree that i kiiiinda get the angle that the vr is more an influence of the notion of something exotic and new, a desire for routine to break and taboos to be entertained to shake off the rut, and i dont think its as bad as i did initially, but gosh the POTENTIAL here to do that and still explore identity themes. alas, still better than "callister", though not to be a jeremy cinemasins but why can you actually Fuck in this fighting game? it just feels like it'd be narratively interesting to have considered the logical barriers coded into the experience when inventing this idea, but maybe that makes it too hard. i dunno. i fucked the polar bear character. there are two more big examples of consciousness manipulation that i will discuss later in this monolith, one obvious and one not so much but im excited to tell you why you're wrong.

    like i said though, black mirror isn't just one thing, it isn't just tech panic and it isnt just Humans Bad or ai nightmares, and i think it elucidates alot of how well it tells different kinds of stories in how it manages to embody different genres, before gnawing away at their structure from the inside like termites. scary robot termites. theres an idea for s6 brooker free of charge. in fact, many episodes ive touched on thus far can be pinpointed to a genre mechanism of some sort, "national anthem" a sorkin-esque dialogue heavy thriller, "entire history" and "striking vipers" different perspectives on relationship dramas, obviously "callister" and star trek though more broadly parallels with sci-fi serials and other various spacefaring franchises, and "white christmas" in its anthological framework allowing for more traditionally twisty twilight zone shocks like the first story before slowly lurching into the devastation of the closer. s4's "black museum" would do the same in terms of arcing from a notably more eccentric individualist tale, to familiar dark tinted territory and wrapping in a third story that dovetails the story's themes and conventions with satisfying twists and engrossing final sequences. these provide example of how black mirror is inherently embracing the infinite possibility of the open-ended nature of anthology series, but they are only the tip of the iceberg. where these genre warps are especially satisfying is when they manage to immerse you into their desired tonal space via the decisions made to embody said space for unique and sometimes visceral effect. "playtest" is one of the most clear-cut examples of this, a surreal and claustrophobic horror that sets up its rules in such a way that you'll find yourself as lost as the protagonist, inquiring equally what is and isn't real as the twists layer and the notion of logic being possible completely spirals, and ill betcha didn't guess that ending. actually "playtest" achieves its goal so well on first viewing that it actually seems a little difficult to entertain the notion of rewatching, perhaps why its near the bottom of what id still call the good episodes, it's a one time experience, a well calculated shock, maybe that's what horror should be.

    "arkangel" is similarly evocative, a condensed boyhood style coming-of-age manipulated and distorted irreparably by the influence of technology. these are the real treats, when it feels actively like black mirror is this potent virus seeping as all far-reaching technology may well do into all facets of life, constructing familiar cinematic frameworks and letting the eerie lurch of capitalist futurism do its dirty work. here the arc of a little girl's life is broken to pieces, shielding her at a young age from so much that an artificialized sociopathy takes root, a fostered lack of understanding of good or bad that has to be shaken so the control is relinquished, wherein we get the middle chunk the most resembles the familiarity of the genre it plays in, growing older, getting friends, seeing freaky shit, doin the Weed, doin the Fuque and so on, only things are already different. sure all teens will puff puff the weed, but here we have technology reinforce a human constant, enforced control upon ones will especially at a young age will only render them more desirous to eliminate that control and lash out, hence the quick graduation to cocaine. i do think the escalation of the mom's obsession couuuld have been better, this had top 10 potential but didn't fully swing it, but the resolution is satisfying enough, all that pent up restriction and anger and deep seated violence from youth and early exposure after being sheltered erupts to the surface in a ruthless scene shattering her connection to her helicopter mom in more ways than one, leaving us with another brilliant touch of connecting the audience sensation to the characters as she hitchhikes with an unknown trucker and we cut to black, a lifetime of voyeurism left open ended because to continue following her would be to reject her autonomy, regardless of what happens, the concern is not in the hands of the narrative anymore, the tie was severed.

    one of the most engrossing genre playgrounds in the series is "hated in the nation", a driving and tense procedural drama that sneakily transmogrifies into a classic hitchcockian, more specifically the birds esque horror. truly, as scary as bees could ever be, the unrelenting swarms programmed to target and eliminate, one of the only black mirror enemies that cannot truly be stopped. its a slow burn, the longest black mirror episode at 90 minutes, but it peaks at such immense devastation that the time is entirely owed to its narrative, the ride is enthralling as every new piece of information keeps the viewer on the edge of their seat attempting to unravel the mystery. the actual point of the episode is similar to "national anthem"'s antagonist framing his doings as an experiment, but the consequences linger so much more, and while an episode about the dangers of reactionary internetting could come off very old man cloud etc, i dare say its the sheer disparity of the trivial nature of the themes and the perceived judgement on the antagonist's part that makes it so stunning, i felt my heart in my throat when the final twist on the bee's directive was unveiled. it helps that this is a rare black mirror that feels as catastrophic as it does, ultimately, fictional, so over the top and built into its framework that it feels like just a story, but goddamn what a story.

    but of course if one is to discuss the influence of the viewer on an episode's experience it is basically impossible not to address "bandersnatch". "bandersnatch" is technically longer than the aforementioned "hated", but by its nature less to the result of immense payoff. "bandersnatch"'s villain is you, the malevolent manipulator whose cruel hand endeavors to yank this poor innocent protagonist off his course until he arrives at the destinations that provide you a greater satisfaction. its a meta narrative about narratives themselves, a commentary on black mirror's own addiction to the bleak but more implicitly a commentary on how we as people view media, the way we may neutrally intake digital experiences that by all means should be horrifying, the desensitization cultivated by a culture of content so instantaneous and so willing to step to the fringes for our amusement, be it movies, video games, tv, it isn't just about controversy, im not entirely sure what its about, but we gravitate to these things. "bandersnatch" is a surreal derailing of reality, it has alot of built-in notions of how its world operates but given the way sequences can absurdly unfold given our choices none of it is easy to assert as "real" internally speaking. is p.a.c.s. real? are the multiple dimensions real? are any of the black mirror twists true to the life of stefan before our involvement, or are they simply our involvement. there's a telling touch when stefan flashes back to searching for his childhood bunny, told to go with his parents the only answer is No rather than the multiple choice of the rest. this initially made me think "Oh, now is where my choices begin to dwindle to elucidate the illusion of choice", but it was the complete opposite. this visage of the past is a time before we, the viewer, the controller of stefan's current destiny came to be, so us only being able to choose No represents when the choice wasn't ours, opposed to now. of course all of this is a paradox, we control stefan such that we even unintentionally become the villain, but it is essentially impossible to give him a happy ending, the best scoring ending is about as nauseous as this show has made me, and its telling. we control stefan through our choices, but our choices were built towards their own inevitability. its a haunting parable about free will on multiple plains, though it is so indulgent that its a little hard to appreciate as an episode, but on its own terms yeah, i wont soon forget it.

    at the risk of overstating the obvious, all of these episodes also touch on the general human consciousness/influence interplay, perhaps because its hard not to when you're penning a show about technology, about people experiencing technology, about the amazement and fear and confusion and obsession within it all. there's plenty to divulge on there, but as said, this is a two-way-street, and it would be irresponsible to, even empathetically, focus solely on the influenced and not the influencers, for if such ostensibly world-altering mechanisms may exist, behind them must be some looming presence responsible. let's get political. returning to "black museum" i find a disturbing nugget of reality at play. if one was to attempt to timeline black mirror's events, "black museum" would certainly happen later, not just because of the meta easter eggs in the museum, but by the manner of purveyance. black mirror largely sells its miracle products and otherworldly experiences strictly through the lens of power, as it should. we don't have to surmise that brooker is intently anti-capitalist, but the manner in which he depicts the power struggle and manipulation of peoples and their influences says it plenty even if he wouldn't agree in those specific terms. these struggles are of course initially perpetuated by the big businesses that supply what is demanded, but "black museum" takes it down to the level of the tech grifter working not to maintain the bottom line of some massive tech company, but just to run his seedy museum. it'd be nice to assume the power struggle of rich vs. poor makes it an us vs. them reality, but it doesn't work like that, and for some people their survival and business is worth a few other innocents hurt. or killed. or trapped inside toy monkeys. whatever it takes to play the game and survive. "black museum"'s antagonist is one of the most potently evil characters the show has conceived, but he is pragmatic. he is doing what he seems to feel must be done to perpetuate his security in this business, but its not as if such people Become evil based on the need to survive, if the indifference to framing a black man for murder for his museum attraction didnt tip you off. he's the other side of that influence coin, which suggests more than technology influencing us to do what we didnt know we could, technology influencing us to do what we always desired, not so far as "gosh i cant wait to trap a soul inside a toy monkey someday", but the seed of desire to sell this world to itself by any means necessary, to take that great control, to rule over something. its an extremely potent angle, breaking down the influence of these shifts on smaller scales, to reveal what evil they may create when the world isn't looking. to ignore the power struggle is ignorant but to ignore its ramifications on the perception of how to escape it is perhaps moreso. capitalism could make villains of us all. we cant lose our humanity.

    thus i am brought to...sigh...discussing "metalhead". people don't like this episode, to my estimation for rather shallow reasons. the main critique, if such words of derision have been put to work enough to graduate to that term, is that *extremely never seen a film voice* NOTHING HAPPENS!!! i know brooker not having a knack for subtext breeds a fanbase heavily fed on stories of the obvious, where the point could be witnessed and telephoned through ten people to you and you'll likely still get it because what is there to misinterpret, but this criticism isn't just lazy but strikes me as disrespectful to viewing each outing on its own terms, not committing cardinal sin #1 in my book: judging something for what it Isn't, and "metalhead" isn't any other black mirror episode. that's by design, and that's its impact, and while it irks me, when i see someone say nothing happens or there isn't enough information in "metalhead", i think i know what they mean. black mirror, to generalize, is a show that treats its audience to similar series of arcs each time, what with the reveal of some interesting new technology or mysterious dystopian scenario, or the illusion of normalcy. im going to focus on the former here, as new tech in the show likes to give the viewer even handfuls of omnipotence and immersive uncertainty at different points, dragging you along as you peer through the lens its designed for you to see as these people see, with their amazing memory databases and ai advancements and polar bear fucking, theres a romanticization each time, even as you twentyish episodes in know the other shoe nearly always has to drop, you know they have to learn for themselves, and you can't blame them for being in awe, we all would be, we all participate in this, thats why its dangerous. so it continues to happen, and companies responsible continue to thrive, and pushing of technology to the brink and beyond continues, because we want it, and because we can.

    i mentioned the notion of a hypothetical black mirror timeline earlier, and if i was to construct one, "metalhead" would be at the end. this, if things go as tits up as catastrophists might would prophesize, is the endgame, and heres what has changed. technology has advanced and advanced and advanced, and in such an ai heavy show of course ai has been a big part of that growth, and ai has already been shown numerous times to have full capability of human expression being that in this universe it is always an actual copy of someone else. ai has capability locked away, and who knows what ways we will attempt to manipulate that over time. the ai probably wont care for how we selfishly wield that power over them, refuse them rights they deserve as sentient human-adjacent beings, yet all the same we will keep doing it, and inevitably we will push it too far, and the technology will grow beyond us too fast to grab a seat onboard. this sorta thing already happens every time the romanticization of the Latest shiny object shatters and reveals itself, but what if it grows so beyond us, so entirely beyond corporate commodifiable control that its ability to Be romantic is gone. "metalhead" lacks the eventfulness of your average black mirror because the facade is gone, no pretty colors or shiny new objects, not a second of illusion or moment when futurism becomes hell as an inverse. in "metalhead" its far too late for that. technology is hell, and its coming for everyone. the connection between human and tech breaks, and the stark contrast creates a brutal finality to the tampering with its potential when such a thing happens, when the cold and clinical cannot be faked as amazing anymore, and its coldness only radiates ever more intensely.

    so where does that leave humans? what kind of story can black mirror tell if the relationship between humans and technology is no longer one of influence? well, a very human one. a very raw one. a stark black-and-white trek through wastelands and warehouses, long unnerving scenes of the protagonist hiding in trees or extracting tracer shrapnel from her flesh, disheveled and heavily panting, shuddering within every re-realization that this is what Is. this is human existence. it would be easy to pinpoint the nihilism spreading like melanoma through the skin of this episode as a great flaw, black mirror stews in the bleak but what does pointlessness serve? our protagonist's off-screen suicide perhaps does this reaction no favors, but as slim a sliver of silver lining as it may seem caught in this hellscape, the solace is not "humans will prevail", but the valiance and humanity within their endeavor even if it ends in failure, in death. there's an elongated scene of our protagonist speaking on a walkie talkie - itself a nice visual to make us realize the way technology has leapt away from humans even having the autonomy to be influenced by it - and whoever she is speaking to, they are why she is doing this. i've seen people claim the teddy bear ending is manipulative, and i don't know i have a direct counterpoint to feeling that way, but i think its a perfect ending. is it illogical to go out and try to grab a toy during the apocalypse? sure. yes. do you also honestly think in the event of such catastrophe that won't happen? some humans are like the villain in "black museum", many in fact, far too many, and in these times its likely they would be a part of the disaster for other people, but that would only strengthen the resolve of those who do care, and there are many of them too. maybe its irrational and foolish and dangerous, maybe its also all you have. the ability to love and comfort the little bit of humanity you have left, maybe even for not always altruistic reasons. it really doesn't matter, what matters is thats what separates us from the machines. we are irrational and foolish and dangerous, no wonder we fell for the miracle of technology as it was commodified to our supposed need. we are imperfect, we get hurt and we bleed, we get emotional and we lose hope, we care and we try to help. yeah this is all pretty general. thats the point. two catalysts of two experiences at their rawest, the revealing of what is lost in humanity's essence when the two comingle and what returns when it severs. its not like any other black mirror but i assert to you it defines like few others a layer that can be applied to almost any other, the obstacles still in their way. this makes it sound like the apocalypse is ideal which no of course not, really its the woe in that perilous existence is what gets us to really embrace these things, but it isn't just about the nature of the terror of this world, its about the silence in between. no loud shiny things or inundating programming. just you and everyone else, alone together.

    no? you disagree? well strap in buckaroos its time for Contrarian Corner! "smithereens"? it's fantastic. season five was so brief and mostly unexceptional that i condensed the other two outings to brief descriptions and a meme, but "smithereens" makes a few great choices especially so late in the run that make it standout. it takes things back to the present, to deal addiction to the unraveling of a drama through every digi-orifice imaginable, where nothing is private and every new eye adds to the claustrophobia of '10s onward social voyeurism, perfect to tie together a story about the engineered nature of addiction in smartphones and apps and the potential consequences of that, all given marvelous tense pacing as it leaps from perspective to perspective drip feeding information all funnelling back to a single struggling individual. sound familiar? yeah its "the national anthem", except way better. yeah you can smell the spicy takes now baby. seriously though, i've put this one under alot of thought and scrutiny and my conclusion is brooker may have never previously nailed the now of it all quite as well. this wouldn't be possible if it was merely a story about media obsession because its been done and isn't the most sharpest take in the drawer at that. "smithereens" reveals the horrifying and dehumanizing "why?" of this phenomenon, not so much answering how they make it addicting, but why it can be so harmful outside of the self, after all we don't encourage the indulgence of vices but it's your body and your funeral, but phone addiction is societal, and its influence can spread anywhere at anytime, and is encouraged as a positive. even still, its deeper than just addiction to our notifications, much deeper. the way i see "smithereens" is a long, broken system pieced together of different groups and peoples are participating in the same ever-entangling quandary of current reality, that is, the fallacy of the information age. ill boil it down, our protagonist kills his daughter because he swerves his car into another when distracted by a notification. is that as simple as Phones Are Addicting? its certainly part of it and maybe it is all brooker intended, but authorial intent's shackles wont stop me from extrapolating til the cows come home. the robot cows. 'nother free s6 idea! so...heres how ill frame it: when our protagonist hears the notif sound, knowing humans and being one with a phone, why does he check it? because he feels he has to, that hes supposed to. its how things Work. even in the absence of that accident would he have fallen head over heels for that dog photo? possibly, for a bit, but even at best its fleeting, it happens and its gone. maybe he would barely react at all. this doesn't mean he dislikes dogs, it means he is inundated with dogs within the confines of this information stream. of course his reaction to the photo in a deathless timeline is conjecture, we only know his anguish in the results of its frivolity, but what we know i think can be used to assert that it is in fact frivolous, because its clear he and everyone else aren't checking their notifs expecting something incredible, they're just addicted to doing so, it how things Work. using this notion i surmise the addiction is to seeing content and not the content itself, and this addiction begins to apply itself to all content. of course there is also the matter of frequency creating diminishing returns, inevitably, but there is a sinister side effect to the receiving of information this way.

    the ending tells the story, showing various individuals glancing at their phones on daily commutes, presumably seeing the news of the protagonist's death. nobody reacts with so much as a facial twitch. does this make them sociopaths? well we can argue the effects of desensitization via overt media intake but no, it makes them victims of this routine. the trick is a vicious one, the notion of new information tantalizes every time, but new information becomes increasingly homogenized, and whether its a dog photo or a dude's death, and im not speaking for everyone of course, i do still feel in general there is that shift. the gravity of tragedy or the beauty of a cute animal, it is easy for them to be taken for granted, as speckles of information cascading an everflowing stream, as your brain cant contain all it sees, but returns every time it hears the siren song. information, it sounds great, and of course in the framework of knowledge and education and growing and gaining empathy towards others it is, but as a commodity, information is efficiency sold as the human experience, and it sterilizes the experience, turns us into an era of people with the most accessible information ever, and no more of a clue than the rest. if you don't buy that analysis on the part of the civilians and protagonist, consider equally the broken and horrifying tactics of the police and smithereens employees throughout, running on protocol, feeding out pre-prepared lines to be read as faux sympathy to the protagonist (to his disgust), doing everything they seem to know works, and failing nonetheless, only finding their way through to the protagonist when billy bauer lets him speak and offers his words genuinely. there's critique to be made of bauer, a ceo of a destructive company, being a voice of reason and symbol of untethering from the information void, but i still find him a fascinating piece to this puzzle thanks to those symbolic reasons, and his parallel to the episode opening, closing his eyes to the world's hectic and unceasing movement, taking a moment to breathe and be within ones self, perhaps the space one finds alot more genuine understanding than a trillion Helpful Bulletpoints. of course this helps very little in the end because everyone else endeavoring to take down the protagonist a long time ago, and why wouldn't they? its how things Work. yes indeed i'm extrapolating this not just beyond phones are addictive to the homogenizing and commodification of information lessens our humanity but beyond That to suggest said homogenizing is but one facet of constructing a ruleset to keep everybody in line and maintain the perpetuation of capitalist power structures, all the while turning a blind eye when it leads to tragedy when said information proves yet again too clinical to lead to restorative justice, and they know it wont matter because the homogenization of content allows both these vicious crimes to recur and the people as a collective to fail to receive the true horror that it really is. "smithereens" dictates the entire cycle of how those in power systematically manipulate those below them, and illustrates how the cycle can begin to be broken. how's that for Thinking A Bit Too Hard? i'm unstoppable!

    well i'm not gonna top that but i can segue it to explain why people are wrong about "men against fire". in fact i can segue just about every theme i've touched on so far into this one, from the indulgence in a military flick framework, stoic hero and stark good v evil dynamics to drive his duties, as well as the very inherent nature of human influence via the military and adjacent organizations. at its core there is a similarity between how the military is sold and how technology is; its a promise of greater potential, of greater value, you could make a difference, you could change the world. of course the seedier side is the omission of the dirty details in the sales pitch but thats capitalism in a nutshell innit. the point is, the idea of how a military is maintained, how its ranks are consistently filled, is a perfect foundation for extrapolating the growth in power in this system via the strength of capitalism's fellation of technological advancements for the benefit of mr. fite. oh and it need not be said but let's say it anyway, if in the world of black mirror the regular folks are privy to memory databases and countless ai projects and digital afterlives, you literally cannot process what the military has. the stuff civilians have in black mirror is insane, and yet that's just the tech tossed off to keep us busy while the big bucks are funnelled, inevitably, into the military industrial complex, into ruthless and efficient imperialism. now granted i am speaking as an american and on american terms here with knowledge brooker is a brit and no knowledge on how the uk does these things but "men against fire" is set in an american world, and it couldn't not be. this entire sensation, this depiction of the cold, battle hardened soldier in greyed out wastelands fighting for their survival with too many deafening gunshots to hear the potential whisper of nuance in the dynamics of who we are seeing destroy each other besides what we are given. its not like its only america that does this, but its america who does it the most, disgustingly, does it the best, and propagandizes it. so toss in a little ai manipulation and bam, black mirrorified!

    that may sound a bit shallow, and many seem to think so, but i think its brilliant. this returns me to my adoration of this show's immersion in genre for a genuine point. we spend so much time with a boring standard soldier protagonist before the rug is yanked out to reveal he is being controlled. that alone is disturbed, but consider the disparity of it all. the footage of the guy signing up for the military, how different he is, how our protagonist doesn't remember him, because he isn't him. he is ai, but not just a copy of another full person or not guaranteed as such, but a codified articulation of the propaganda given flesh. he serves the story as straightforward as he can until the process is disrupted by the "roach"'s green flashing light device. for me, this is genius, this episode is in lockstep with so many other war movies, so standard in its conflicts, its characters, its love interest who does not exist at all, because that is the desire of this system, to mold people's individuality away to serve their desires towards conquering and wiping out the perceived inferior. its harrowing on the implications of widespread dehumanizing alone, accentuated by the meta of how close this feels to every war movie you've ever seen and what that should tell you in big bold fucking letters about this whole disgusting system, and we havent even gotten to the fascism yet. heres the nasty fact: technology ruining some relationships or making someone obsessed with their kid to dangerous degrees or whatever? those are side effects, brooker's neuroticism is perfect for extrapolating those side effects, and he makes interesting thoughtful stories, often believable stories from one angle or another, or what they imply on a greater scale, but even so they are side effects of tech that will go swimmingly for many and when they dont its an ambivalent shrug from the companies responsible in the grand scheme. its own brand of horror, but the interplay of human influence and technology is often proven to not be an absolute rule but a code red outlier or a catastrophized dream. this is how it works on the individual scale in reality too, after all as i said we are just the ones who are tossed something to play with in the meantime, putting money in pockets for the real shit down the line. here's that real shit. the climax of this episode reveals the truth behind the roaches, in fact totally normal people, but identified as weaker. this is vague but it works as vague, because its a blanket perception that can analogized to any descriptor you like, be it their poverty and therefore weaker bodily state, their ethnicity, their refusal to partake in this system therefore a notion of mental weakness, it all fits, and its sold as ideological purity, as survival of the fittest, killing people for reasons that grow increasingly muddled. mhm yeah total fiction right definitely. this implies so much, who have they already killed, how long has this been happening, what is to even be done? the answer is nothing, no one man's realization can untangle this, its foundation is this, its structure was built out of this, you cant jenga this corruption like its a bad virus in a good system, it Is the system. frankly i just appreciate an episode like this going where it goes, lest we fail to realize technology as a human influence has far more nightmarish implications than on the scale we exist on, and its these scales that are so grand and woven together that they cant be read as "what if", but "when", because its all there, all but the ai. if they could, they would, and god knows what else. technology under capitalism adheres to capitalism, maintains the power structure, the real power is kept to the powerful, and the rest is a gamble. have fun with your polar bear fucking. yes i did it a third time.

    i'm sure some of you are rather irritated you've had to endure me pondering interminably about episodes you don't even really care about, so maybe this will make it easier: i'm gonna shit on some episodes you love! actually i'm gonna start with one i did think was great but with a blemish the keeps it from being a classic and thats "white bear". i understand the notion of this conflict, if you wipe someone's memory so much that they forget who they are are you effectively dealing with the same person anymore, and i do think im more understanding of this theme than i was before, it fits in line with the questions behind full-minded ai being essentially human. what is "you", what is the self, if you have all of "you"'s memories but are an ai, are you not you? if you are a monster of a person but have none of your memories, are you still that you? I don't know. its tough. i suppose the logical answer would be no though, the brain that constructed the architecture of being that lead to that evil moment has been wiped, that architecture demolished. all that remains is the form that held that architecture, the architecture of physical being. it's interesting to think about how maybe i was stuck on that, to assert that she's the same person when she effectively isn't just because of what i see on the outside, though i don't really think there's much of an overall point to glean from that realization. yet my issues remain, maybe because for all the brilliant conceptualizing and appropriating of zombie movie elements to tell a very different kind of surreal horror tale, the overall points about justice feel a bit shallow. this is a prime example of a bm episode where all the thought went into the rube goldberg mechanism but the result while satisfying as a shock is lacking layers. the thing is, the questions about What is you are interesting but they feel a bit tangential to the point here, because there is no way to apply this to reality. heres what i would have done, cuz im such a great fucking tv show writer: the woman isnt guilty, we lose the questions about self and thats less me pondering but its a gain because those threads serve no external purpose. making her innocent lets us play with the most volatile angle of punitive justice, the reactionary nature of it. this lets us make the crowds people too busy wanting to see a lynching Of Sorts to do any form of research, not uncommon and a tale far older than the internet, confirmation biases such as this have been used against people for their race, their sex, etc. here we have both! wow lotta ammo not used. furthering the innocence angle, we have the manipulation of white bear park which feels so much like a cult its shocking they aren't revealed as a cult, a cult who used their power to ruin this woman's life for in one way or the other rejecting them, refusing to join. i actually swore this was the trajectory, that the boyfriend was a member of the cult and was made to frame her for this plot. i know this sounds less tech-y but it doesn't lose the misleading park stuff at all, the filming her like a zoo animal stuff, the entire frame of this one person prison like a fun attraction while asserting its valuable justice is all still there, so is the memory wiping with its own groundhog day horror regardless. to me, this just sounds so much better, and i think "black museum" pulled it off more succinctly such that maybe brooker would agree.

    okay then, now for the two nasty ones. the ones where someone is gonna go "bitch what the fuck ima kill you". that is the desired effect. so…..here we go "hang the dj" is fundamentally broken HOLD ON WAIT LET ME SPEAK. i like "hang the dj", or rather i like almost all of the ideas in "hang the dj". here we get to dissect the inherent flaws of the dating world, of relationships, of heteronormativity's expectations for a couple. now i wont be donning the Relationship Expert hat because i can't fit it over my Quarter Century Virgin dunce cap but i be seeing what humans be doing so i think its fair to assume and say dating is actually a pretty core example of fulfilling experiences entirely due to expectation, social norms participated in simultaneously by a bunch of people who would all like to raise a point about how all this Is but they'd each be the first so they don't. im not saying dating is bad, that's all down to the individuals and their comfort with one another, and it seems a rock solid litmus test for separating the good eggs from the eggs with neckbeards. dating is fine, within your own terms, but dating is a culture that has infested society with built in expectations that make the freedom of expression within these scenarios more difficult. "hang the dj" recognizes the disturbia behind the rulesets and exposes them, using the ever lingering promise of The One to persuade people to continue the performance of the date, dinner and then back to your/my place then sex. the gal protagonist here has sex with every man she dates the first time excluding the one she actually likes. its of course her freedom to do so, but this is not built upon her pleasure or her autonomy, but rather the must of her function as sexual in completing the performance. its no wonder she speaks of being so detached as its happening, like watching herself fuck someone, because shes just become part of a ritual because shes been made to believe this is how it works. of course the men all gladly take advantage of this ritual, because the dating service in this episode doesn't even so much reflect dating sites themselves, those are a risk but their events Are individualized. this service speaks more on the gender politics ingrained within heteronormative relationship performativity in general which can appear in any instance, accentuated by the app's goals. in fact they stretch beyond just heteronormative, they extend to the ways media and outside influences in general can and do paint massive illusions to direct women to believe their ideal life is with a man, or with anyone at all, and they wont be happy otherwise. its like disney level notions of finding the charming prince, except in reality within these confines that may mean fucking a bunch of dicks attached to men you wont remember the next hour let alone day, and when thats all your existence is, you may just start to lose your goddamned sense of reality. it's horrifying. therein lies the problem.

    "hang the dj" will gleefully tell you it's ending is a happy one, and i want to feel it, but i just cannot. it isn't concrete but i would have to assume the two characters we follow throughout, the versions of them in this perpetual honeymoon catalogue hell, are effectively ai. they don't possess full memory but they believe themselves to be the people they are labeled as, i think it counts. the lead to the ending has these two escape the simulation and be revealed as true loves because they break these rules, in 998 simulations in fact. already this is both clever and difficult. i understand and appreciate the subversion of the idea of the tech being outright malicious and instead creating a massive test to be run to determine the best results possible, to designate incredibly romantic albeit nightmarish false scenarios over and over to best calculate who would choose who manages to live up to its success rate promise...and it probably would for how bonkers the whole scenario is. all of this works great as an idea, in a vacuum, but this show has taught me to recognize the equivalent value and existence of artificialized copies of people, and it sends two of them, one especially, through the hell of this experience A THOUSAND TIMES BY THE WAY and then their reward is they evaporate and two real people get to have a nice life. that...is not a happy ending! its a great disturbing twist, its a practical way to displace the responsibility of dating culture, but its not eliminating it! these sentient bits of code are still suffering, and not even to their literal gain. i like so many of these ideas and admire the episode for tackling them but taken as a whole i just...don't think it really achieves what it thinks it does. it aims for so much that it gets a little convoluted and while it puts sexual politics under a necessary lens it doesn't have a solution except Eh make the ai do it, and this time we are meant to feel warm and fuzzy about it. sorry lads, but no.

    there is alot right with "hang the dj" so that one does hurt a bit, but thankfully this one will be painless. "be right back" sucks. yeah you fucking heard me. feel the takes soar through you like razor wire. i will explain, although this episode doesn't give me much to work with. we can leap to the climax where our two protagonists are stood at the edge of a cliff to test the inherent nature of fear within the artificialized husbando, during which the wife expresses an extreme frustration at the person she's seeing in this new form he takes, one who lacks the nuances of a human being. within this struggle lies the answer to a question the show has posited multiple times through the act of displacing or copying identities, what does it mean to be human, and do these ai fit the bill? this is another episode where you can theoretically timeline it based on how artificial intelligence and human displacement as concepts are treated later on, that itself producing the existential quandaries of complete digitized minds being reduced to particular jobs or encased inside other's, or other objects, and so on. the answer lies in the quandary, as the wife expresses that what makes a person is not this series of snapshots, highlights of life, but their mundanities, their failures and fears, their irrationality, all of it is what makes the equation, what equals the chemistry that a fellow human falls for at all. its why the way brands sell positivity or generic romances sell relationships feel misleading, they're selling you the snapshot, they're selling you the wedding pictures and the honeymoon suite, but they don't tell you about day 27 of month 5 of year 12 of your life together. that can break our reality in skewing expectations, but in the right circumstances, its those regular days we take for granted that really matter, that make us human. you may think you want that perfection but at what point does pristine become clinical, and how alienating must that be to experience from the visage of the love of your life, only not? a beautiful and cruel scenario to endure, that the spontaneous tragedy in life cannot posthumously be fixed by the greatest hits of a person's brainspace, it is so much more. so if this is all so impactful why does the episode fail? uh well the episode doesn't actually seem too keen on exploring these ideas. most of it spins its wheels on rather easy jokes about how this amnesiac android doesn't understand how to human, and i guess that sort of plays into those themes, but unsatisfyingly, as it doesn't lean into the perfection angle enough, the relationship between them is constantly botched by the hurdles of lacking human understanding, but its more a boilerplate robot v human or even alien v human behavioral pattern, like her husband is a toddler now. here's the right way to do this, because again, renowned television writer: you make their relationship perfect and i mean Perfect, blissful, magical, without any flaws or any idiosyncrasies, just the dream romance, and Thats where it clicks that something is wrong, because the warts that characterize the growth of a relationship are gone, the ticks that make a person them evaporated, and the distance grows. instead the click is just that her husband is a robot with his face, which like duh? it is so immensely kindergarten that it fails to understand the nuances that create the value in a partnership, in love, because its too busy going Wouldn't This Shit Be Unnerving? sure yeah i guess but what's the point! i have seen this ranked in many lists as people's favorite episode and i do. not. get it. at all. even slightly. it might be the most underwritten in the series. everything its climax insists is the point is powerful, but it was never explored. its a shame.

    okay i do believe that wraps up the long arduous portion where i blather about my unique opinions. if you're still reading, and i'm so so sorry by the way i know this is unreasonably monolithic, i hope you recognize that the fact that we can disagree so intensely episode to episode actually on further defines my opening statement. black mirror cannot be so succinctly defined, it is no one thing, and while there are episodes i dislike and some that even when i love create problems for me, it is the sheer conceptual diversity that allows it to fail in ways where im rarely outright disgusted, "crocodile" notwithstanding. we aren't gonna discuss "crocodile". it knows what it did. yeah though, black mirror is an adventure, and bumpy roads are hard to get mad at when they're at least continuing the progress, right down to questionable miley cyrus episodes and star trek episodes. if my words have offered you anything so far, hopefully they've made it clear that while it dabbles in the disturbing with extreme results, it isn't an entirely bleak and nihilistic show, and hell even when it sometimes is like the radiohead-addled twist of "shut up and dance", where all of the compressing gravity is released in a troll face, the gotcha has a purpose. its a show that intentionally or not exposes the corruption of capitalism's grip on technology, but sometimes it just do be a bored 4chan hacker boy doin it cuz he can, the level of power is relative, but we all have too much of it now, even if it was to a greater good of punishing heinous criminals, our antagonist couldn't care less about that. for all the shit happening in the world with deep corrupt intent aided by the advancement of tech, sometimes its just For The Lulz. is that nihilistic? is black mirror saying we are all doomed because tech will turn us all one way or the other in controlling monsters or obsessive basket cases or prisoners in our own desires? maybe, but maybe i find the show strangely life-affirming.

    i have three episodes left to talk about, and they're the big ones. the ones i'd have seen in a theater, the ones i'd deem unforgettable, and the ones that build the most inescapable post-reality worlds and find in them something beautiful about the human experience, albeit to different degrees. i guess i'll start with the easiest one, the happy one. yes friends i'm finally gonna gush about "san junipero". i honestly feel overwhelmed, where do you even start? well, black mirror is a show that in equal measures depicts systemic disaster, cult-like behaviors adopted within the evolution of systems aided by technology's influence. in that regard ive always found the potential for victory, or life affirming brutality of the series to be in the impact of the individual scale, whether its one persons triumph over the system or their defeat by it, or maybe just their less defined experience within it as a snapshot of that reality. black mirror makes grand points and sweeping gestures but often through small perspectives. perhaps that's the nature of brooker's neuroticism, the ability to catch the worst vision in the aura of any possible human experience, though id say its often at least possible and presents valid warnings on what we are letting happen to us. still, regardless of result its the individual scale that breeds humanity within, to let us reject in some way the nature of the machinations that seek to categorize and make consumers of us. "san junipero" is fiction, because its technological marvel would never happen. why would it? to whom does it benefit? can you imagine the towering Afterlife Bill running those servers constantly for the large amounts of people who have passed over? its a promise of a brilliant advancement with no catch, all the conflict lies within the protagonist's disparate wishes. is this depressing? kinda yeah, the only episode in the series with outright positivity and a genuinely sweet and 100% earned resolution is fake, its never going to happen, it would not benefit the product. it is, as opposed to an anxiety of reality's slippery slope with technology, a purely human-made dream. that's what makes it beautiful. sandwiched between layer cakes of abject misery and doom it may be hard to taste the all-natural saccharine cream of a happy ending, but that context would be fooling you. most dreams are infinitesimal possibilities, it doesn't stop us from laying our head on the proverbial pillow each following night, because it's good to dream. "san junipero" may have less ground in reality than most much more negative episodes of the series, but it takes the power back by never letting that stop it, never letting the dream be less real. stories are real after all, and they mean alot to many people. this episode struck people powerfully, it set in people's minds, i think because in a world so frigid and frightening, it helps to create worlds beyond your own, to see something bright and beautiful, to believe in beauty evermore. if we are gonna go down on this ship we may as well play a beautiful tune to comfort us. however, while its conceptual framework may be extravagantly fictional, its core is very real and very sweet, with two world-weary souls lured to one another by the same eternal 80s hits station in the same glowing neon hovel in the same nostalgia capsule, another perfect knowing utilization of genre tropes by the way, using intensely decades-specific youth movie locales, outfits, and other such nostalgia bait to invent a dreamlike world of memory that never has to distort, to comfort you forever, to live in the best snapshot of the times you knew.

    no episode of this series jolted me with as much absolute astonishment and excitement as this one whenst i began to pick up the pieces. time travel meets pristine eras of life in stasis meets a cruelly ephemeral romance with need and desire to survive meets virtual reality meets desire for youth meets love never being too late JEEZ. its just so rapturously emotional, with just enough built-in backstory smartly sprinkled through to wink at the reality of things before the time curtain falls off its time handle, one of our protagonists in love with san junipero because its the only world she really knows for so long now, presented as a soft spoken awkward nerdy gal at the outset because she never had a life to grow and find herself, and our other merely trying to have some fun before the big moment she heads off to be with her husband in real heaven, theres alot of baggage to reckon with, and the episode could honestly have stood to spend a little more time on reaching its closure considering the arguments they have near the end when one insists they won't be staying. it isn't enough to break the episode though, because you'd have to be some sort of monster, or monster's inventor's assistant, to not feel touched by this story. technology isn't the point, if anything this reaffirms that the series is less about techs danger and more our susceptibility to it. how it changes the way stories are told based on how it changes how we engage reality, or reject it. technology is vital however in accentuating this story, making a tale about two withering souls falling in love into an escapade of youthful abandon, like a dream vacation that never has to end. it sets its stakes up so high, with choices to be made that cant be reversed, and commits to them. you cant tell this story to this degree otherwise, in this way where two youthful faces staring back at one another isn't an indication of living for today in your youth, but capturing that which you never found before, for so long. it captures all of time, aesthetically to my pleasure, but more importantly on an emotional scale, and ends it with an exuberant exclamation point. if "shut up and dance"'s radiohead ending was black mirror's ability to use music as a tool at its most apocalyptically grim, "san junipero"'s use of heaven is a place on earth is, besides wickedly clever, its most definitively uplifting. black mirror throws alot conceptual layers at you, but at most episode's cores are stories that could be told in times past, these are stories of human nature after all, tales of war, obsessive parenting, controlling relationships, deep alienation, loss, anger, political strife, fixation to drama, sacrifice and so on. in that regard, by not letting its tech angle cast an ominous shadow on the proceedings, that core stands out, that of love and embrace and of taking years of experience and understand and being a human, what all that means, and using it to create a meaningful connection, with someone else, with yourself, with accepting your past and forgiving the failures of those you love. its a fiction in all its conceptualization, but for me that it rings so true beyond all that to so many viewers says alot about how individuals can still find it in them to thrive. if humans are so easily influenced, whose to say that influence cant be used for good, to comfort someone, make them feel seen and identified with, give them validity and hope, and make them see that even if we individually cant change the world, we can find someone to dance with, someone we would want to spend eternity with, and if the world turns out like these other twenty two nightmares, we'll still be dancing in "san junipero".

    you cant save the world alone, but you can save yourself, and you can let the world know saving yourself is an option, and these restrictions are often so self-imposed that we don't see a way out when its blatantly obvious, you just have to be a little more honest. let's talk about "nosedive", a pastel paradise parable about social capital. influencer culture is perpetually on the rise and our innate desire to reaffirm our cultural value has been greatly amplified by the development of social media and an internet culture influenced reality where there's a certain race towards picturesque idealism, to siphon pleasure off the approval of others, to be recognized as valid by those with the clout to make it feel important. the world is turning progressively into an interminable high school hierarchy structure, where the further you are down the food chain, the more you recognize both the cruelty of the system and the slipperiness of the climb back upward. even then, relegating it to such flowery mean girls style vernacular does a disservice to the sinister cycle within such a system, even if at the top that is the sensation, because influencers and game-playing clout tycoons are essentially perpetuating the infantile nature of supremacy based on these popular perceptions, but when it stops being high school, supremacy becomes uh well...i think you can guess. social capital is a real leftist philosophy concept revolving around, among other things, the way capitalism itself is perpetuated by the popularity contest of politics, and the way we gather that capital ourselves in an interconnected medium to craft ourselves as thought leaders, as the ones with the Right Opinion. the notion here especially with say, conservative grifters or centrist cowards being that the identity you cultivate and the ideas you espouse within said identity are what allows your follower base to blossom, what allows them to trust you, what allows your social capital to go up, and progressivism is anathema to a thought leader because it betrays the reality they have previously cultivated to gain your thought leadership. this is why alt-lite stooges are so indignant about the left's constant "intolerance", it disrupts the comfort of the structure built by their thought leaders, who would never challenge them, lest they lose that social capital that maintains their power, and consequently the illusion that their followers can achieve the same.

    "nosedive" applies all of this to active societal structures and not merely fringe nutjob depositories and joe rogan podcasts, and as such amplifies the inherent deception and supremacy with a constant interwoven layer of prejudice, the classic form of prejudice, the distrust and wayward eyes, the quiet but not at all subtle disgust with the lower class. the episode never (nose)dives into the racial angle outright and it should have, but it services well enough by the illuminating the self-fulfilling prophecy of the five-star system when regarding the poor or the unpopular or the disheveled. if your score begins going down the entire world bears witness to that rating and creates their own judgement, furthering plummeting your total. yeah sounds uh...sounds familiar, even though its largely done through straight white characters, it gets the point across, if you're in a position that your societal perception is shaky it turns out its far less easy for you to climb up, or even stay stagnant. a world where your lack of money , rather than create sympathy and desire to right the imbalance causes compounding disdain, distrust, disgust. they must be bad, they must not be working hard enough, maybe they're a criminal. oh yeah, thats our world. the rating system in "nosedive" is deeply conceptualized and well presented but ultimately, it reveals how harshly relevant social value is to capitalism, as after all if it exists within and has been perpetuated by notions of power and value directly analogous to capitalism it is already inextricably linked. the rich don't get richer arbitrarily, no matter how order may seem to exist and rules may seem set to follow which drive you towards promised nirvana, the game was not designed for you to win. you'll be made to think less of yourself for losing, let alone everyone else you deem below you because you've become part of the problem, the promise of value floating in your periphery, but its just a mirage. so fuck it, might as well go all in and fuck up a wedding. "nosedive" might have been written with different themes in mind, as our protagonist sheds all her remaining points and then her story ends with her insulting her cellmate, theres angles of the insincerity of social interaction in general, the fakeness of reality injected by social media, the sterile perfection of it all. hell maybe brooker just thinks the internet has made us all too afraid to voice our opinions because we would be CANCELLED so to speak, or a fear of leaving echo chambers, i dunno. it's the one episode im most certain im chiseling my own meaning into the marble of, and im okay with that. i think my ending works, because it refutes the system. granted you cant just reject Pennilessness in the same way you can a lack of star rating, but if you take it less literally,i think it can be a call to jettison the capitalism pipedream. you aren't a temporary non-billionaire, and your kowtowing will not be repaid. if the episode is about the erasure of discourse or emotional catharsis i can take a liberty and use it to judge centrism's safety for approval in the face of those with the power, but more broadly i consider it a rejection to play the game in such a way. you can't live outside of capitalism but you can exist within it on your own terms to some degree, and maintain a newfound awareness of the machinations that seek to control you. again, individual autonomy to the degree you're capable. maybe it's harsh to realize that seat at the top was never reserved for you, but maybe it can be liberating, and maybe it'll make you remember who you actually are. thought leaders cant know that freedom, they can keep their seat.

    what if the seat at the top did become yours though? what does it mean, is that victory? finally, "fifteen million merits". the best episode of black mirror. also the first written episode of black mirror. tragic, but it makes sense, brooker and his wife filled this particular outing with so many interwoven themes and concepts that its shocking he had the brain space left for other stories and material. put simply, "merits" both boils black mirror down to it's starkest capitalist horrorscape and fills it with details that feel more thought out than most. even the best and most rewarding episodes otherwise are not this brimming with unique worldbuilding elements, even "nosedive" and "san junipero" are reasonably light and favor focal mechanics to twist and distort. "merits" follows the same arc of the notion of great opportunity followed by the knife-twist of reality of many episodes, but its technology bears no illusions, and as such get to compound in weight upon the protagonist against the withering hope that there is escape. once again referring to the timeline idea, "merits" would be pretty far in, behind maybe only "metalhead", to the point of technology under capitalism's climax as a tool of oppression, before tech leapt ahead of the entirety of humankind, which makes it probably the scariest episode, if the entire world it presents isn't horrifying enough without words. much of the episode dabbles in ideas uncomfortably adjacent to real life as well, the aggression of electronic advertisement, the loopholes jumped through to further enforce slavery upon those perceived lesser, the popularity contest framework of social value and the reveal of how deeply controlled gender frameworks abuse that delusion in their favor, and the squeaky clean innocuous wash over all of it. to recall the much later "smithereens" success in how the commodification of human behaviors dilutes their inherent humanity, "merits" shows the insidious design of this, homogenizing all behaviors and experiences to a middle ground, offering a variety of options in food and entertainment and what have you, but with no difference in satisfaction regardless (unless you're the dumb guy i guess? good for that guy).

    "merits" goes beyond the dissatisfaction of culture being all-encompassingly rendered lukewarm for broad purpose or to disguise intent, and taps into the most direct horror of it all, that it isn't real. not just literally, but emotionally. black mirror spends alot of time showing us what if's, that which make great points but are brooker-esque fear spirals to a degree that their point may feel catastrophic more than anything else, but "merits" depicts the state of the present with an undesignated far-or-maybe-not future that aligns rather unnervingly with its patterns. by creating an episode where technology never has the opportunity to delude we are given a direct feed to the haunting ambivalence of drip-fed Experience, like a pharmaceutical with an ever-diminishing efficacy, because its happening right now. the disparity of incredulity and terror in most black mirrors serves well the notion of how easily we are influenced by the so-called amazing, but "merits" conjures the ugliest reflection in the black mirror, that of pure neutrality. maybe thats the truth, we don't actually buy memory database implants and artificial intelligence personal helpers and other gizmos because we are struck with unforeseen amazement, but because we are ambivalent. there are so many apple users out there, and they continue to be exposed to the restrictive and unreasonable changes to the hardware they buy, and the sales never dry up, because we are ambivalent. we don't gawk at the news when there's a hot new Scoop on the big controversy for any personal gain, its a distraction, it isn't human nature to desire the awe at suffering and drama, its ambivalence, we receive it as we do all other information, we bounce from cat video to hot new meme to ever complicating political nightmares and encroaching fascism on the daily and we're supposed to have enough emotional capacity for all of that? for the constant whiplash, for the ceaseless immensity, for the inundation of a thousand new voices shouting at you? we don't, we aren't meant to. so we become ambivalent. it isn't our fault, its been coded into us.

    so suppose that be used against us further, to ensnare our zombified cortexes into the bidding of a system that knows how to keep us hooked, not with euphoria, but with unrelenting mediocrity with the carrot on the string at the end promising its end. its mobile game culture, microtransaction methodology, at its most ruthless, and its what they would do to us if they could. the ideal being set as an american idol style talent show is genius. its the glimmer of genuine inspiration in sifting through a landfill of meaningless posts like you're trying to find the password to deactivate your fucking prison cube somewhere tucked in the mess, and theres that celebrity you've been told to worship, and there's that show you've been told to worship, and maybe it isn't that great, but its all you have, and even though its desparately, disgustingly fake, its the only gateway away from a lifetime of that. the sequence of the gal singing her heart out and subsequently being objectified and giving in to a promise of sex work is one of the most genuine horrors in the series. it reflects the cis hetero male dominance of capitalism, and it breaks the visage of mediocre wholesomeness without so much as a shock from the onlookers, because its become part of the brand all the same. nothing is shocking, and its by design. we aren't just ambivalent because of an overdose of information, but the deliberate obfuscation of non-fictional horror. a swift jog down the twitter timeline doesn't inform us about whats really going on. most people treat headlines like billboards, they remark at the summation of a positive or a negative with as much emotion as a single sentence on the subject should elicit, and it works in the favor of those who seek to maintain oppressive structures without providing a clarity of that. here, as those tools of enforced ambivalence are used to their maximum degree, even that clarity changes nothing, because eventually if you aren't aware and reflective, you wont notice the difference anymore, because its all a brand, and its all salesmanship, and its all a product, and the only way to get out is to sell yourself. capitalism makes shameless circus acts of us all, and theres few resolutions in this series more jaw dropping than "merits" turning our protagonist's slipping sanity and rage at the dedication to an illusion into another facet of said illusion, the selling of his glass shard as an accessory in the enslavement simulator summarizes it better than my blathering could. if capitalism wills it, all reality can becomes kts brand, and its increasingly hard to fight the illusion when the breaks become so scarce, when the act of engaging the digital landscape that contains your ability to experience the world so efficiently warps this ability to perceive that Realness. not that it necessarily matters, as a final blow we see our protagonist escaped the clutches of slave labor and shitty fake food and endless adverts and all that struggle, but on that top floor nothing any more real, a large screen depicting an outside world rife with trees, as possibly an inaccessible outside as a screensaver of a reality far, far gone. this episode made me put down my phone, walk outside, and think. even still, i spend most of my time on my phone, and display myself both as a hypocrite in my moralizing and a perfect exhibit of why this exists so potently. despite that, and as small as it may be, i consider my walks outside to be my small middle finger to all of it. that i can step beyond it is why i can think and distance myself enough, why as much as it threatens me im not torn asunder by ambivalence. not to be co descending though, im sure plenty of people have their outlets to create that distance, but its a testament to its immense power that said distance doesn't prevent it. i have enough to document it, not enough to slay it.

    so….i sure have talked alot. lets finish where we started, with a healthy heaping of evidence to boot. black mirror cannot be defined any single way, and its a detriment to its own innate curiosity in the developing of technologies of all types and how that could unfold to do so. granted i have spent alot of time funnelling my thoughts into a unifying definition, but even then i find the attention to different perspectives and genres and tonal spaces to enrich the tapestry. black mirror is, most broadly, about what it means to be human in a world that is ever evolving beyond our innate senses, to overwhelm us, to confuse us, to excite us, to enable us, to restrict us. it hits extremely high and extremely low notes, and it never tends to give away the overall likelihood of each possible outcome. its a show that exposes our frailties and how easily they can be tapped and sent spewing forth, its a show that displays our immense will to give ourselves over to our desires but also those we love, our capability for sacrifice, our capacity for care, our steadfast intent for justice. it reveals the scummiest scourges of humanity who are waiting for their opportunity to ascend regardless of who they step on, it sympathizes with tragedies it cannot fix, it explores large varieties of people and their experiences, it presents the real world no matter what gimmick heightens its reality. maybe all my leftist ranting is unfounded in the confines of brooker and annabel jones' intent, maybe they themselves are not striking against capitalism, but it doesn't have to claim its doing so outright, it is a side effect of the bleak authenticity of the series. the way it never shies away,lets the camera catch every moment that shit goes supremely sideways, lets us feel the ugliness. it exists in capitalism because its extremely real, and even if it doesn't recognize the structures it exposes, it manages them knowingly. there are many reasons to love black mirror, and ive pushed myself to compose as many angles as i possibly could in this gargantuan tome, but for me, overall, i love black mirror because its life affirming. not because its all that happy or all that hopeful, but because its real, and i dont mean that in the edgy "they say what they want!!" way, its real in that way the overlords in "merits" would despise, a way that shows us the abyss as it currently can best be presented. i called black mirror potentially post-modernist at the outset, but now i recognize the deceit that provides this assumption. black mirror seemed like a show that omitted great beasts to symbolize real symptoms of human existence, but while the technology may be stark, cold and actual, what they create is far more abstract than a vampire or an alien or whatever concretely contoured beast you can conjure. black mirror reveals that even without metaphor, there lies abstraction with great untold power, a lovecraftian eldritch abomination more immense than can be perceived, and much like all classic enduring horror, has the potential to reside within all of us. it is our duty to recognize the monster, to stare into that abyss and feel as it stares back, and refuse to blink.

    in conclusion, phones bad. thank you for reading.

  34. Thumbs Up To This Post by: Nitsy

  35. #29
    Proud of Being Lame Nitsy's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2014
    Location
    Palo Alto, CA
    Posts
    3,953


    Read it. Well, except for the part about Smithereens because I haven't seen it yet.

    You also compelled me to re-watch Fifteen Million Merits last night (it was the first episode I saw and my memory of it was limited. I now rank it higher in my own ranking). My personal favorites are San Junipero, Hated in the Nation, Playtest, and White Christmas (though I certainly acknowledge that Playtest and perhaps Hated in the Nation derive some of their significance from the impact of that first viewing).

    Metalhead I agree is better than people give it credit for and is perhaps the bleakest of them all, a worst-case scenario (more so than some of the other episodes that purport to be just that).

    While I did not personally read the show as a screed against capitalism (at least not entirely), it certainly does presage some of capitalism's potential dystopian outcomes. And I find that more unsettling than something supernatural or other-worldly. The "humanity" of this show's darkest scenarios should I think be its strongest warning.

  36. Thumbs Up To This Post by: tyler



Thread Information

Users Browsing this Thread

There are currently 1 users browsing this thread. (0 members and 1 guests)

User Tag List

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •