Television Series Review – Black Mirror4 min read

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Charlie Brooker declared that the works of Black Mirror were a work of fiction and not satire after an unfortunate story surfaced regarding an ex Prime Minister and the lead in Animal Farm. If you’re unsure of that which I refer I’m incredibly jealous and urge you to watch series two of Black Mirror, in fact, if you haven’t seen the first series then I suggest you get watching that too, and again, incredibly jealous.

I watched a recent interview with Mr Brooker (on Newsnight if you’re interested) where he stated “I hate that word” in response to Evan Davis saying to him “you are a satirist.”  So I think I’m going to call Charlie Brooker a prophet.  No sooner had I finished watching all of Black Mirror series three did I come across an article (sent to me by a friend who had also watched the series) about China’s plans to create a dystopian society by marking it’s citizens which would create a rating and thereby affecting every part of each individuals life, scheduled for 2020 as read in The Independent.

I will also be straight with you and say that I watched this series immediately after Hypernormalisation, the Alan Curtis documentary and I was left wanting to find a way to exist underground, or in some other realm (if you haven’t seen it you must it’s a masterpiece).  Extraordinary times in which we live.

So back to the Prophet Charlie, the latest series of Black Mirror, I’m going to let you into a little secret and declare straight off the bat that episodes three, four and six were my favourites, which played to my equally twisted brain and sentimental heart but the whole series is brilliant.

There are six short stories in all, each with a different moral / human undertones.  It’s interesting to see the many ways in which Brooker examines our relationship with technology and how the more advanced we become on our journey to greatness with these extraordinary devices, the more of ourselves we are likely to lose if not careful.

Nosedive starring Bryce Dallas Howard (that’s Ron Howard’s daughter), Alice Eve an Michael Kelly, written by Rashida Jones (that’s Quincy Jones’s daughter) takes a look at this dystopian future I mentioned above, where everybody has to perform at all times to keep their social media rating high, which affects every aspect of one’s life, including mortgage applications. Cringe worthy, this uncomfortable, shiny happy, pastel coloured tale will make you think twice about social media posts.

Playtest starring Wyatt Russell, Hannah John-Karmen, Wunmi Mosaku and Ken Yamamura is not for the faint hearted, a horror which tells the story of a young adventure who gets stuck in the UK as he is broke and needing cash to make it home agrees to be a guinea pig as part of a computer simulation game experiment which is able to tap into everything he fears.

Shut Up and Dance starring Alex Lawler and Jerome Flynn, how would you feel if there was a network behind the camera on your laptop and mobile devices watching your every move that started communicating with you?  I cannot say more than that, this is for me, the darkest of all the Black Mirrors I have ever seen.  Get ready to shudder.

San Junipero starring Gugu Mbatha-Raw and Mackenzie Davis, if this story doesn’t pull at your heart strings you are made of stone.  Set in the late 80s this is a truly beautiful story about a bond between two women who are completely different to one another that is not bound to time or space.  Wonderfully done.

Hated in the Nation starring Kelly Macdonald, Faye Marsay, Benedict Wong, Jonas Karlsson, Joe Armstong, Elizabeth Berrington and Charles Babalola.   A gripping piece from beginning to end that looks at how everybody interacts with social media and stretches where that could take humanity as a whole from here to the moon.  This is chilling, incredibly thought provoking work that has stayed with me.

Men Against Fire starring Malachi Kirby, Madeline Brewer, Arianne Labed, Sarah Snook and Michael Kelly.  We see how the government uses technology to control it’s army who are there to protect society against an infestation of mutants or “roaches” but an accidental incident involving a piece of software starts to cause a young soldier problems.  This will keep you on the edge.

The casting is spot on, and performances strong all round, this really is a superb series.

Let’s use Brooker the Prophet’s stories as a guide to help us all be a little more mindful when using social media, this is how we interact with one another now and ultimately we have the control.  What do you want to see when the ‘Black Mirror’ looks back at you?

Take a look at the Trailer:

Review by Chantelle Dusette

Check out more of Chantelle’s reviews here.

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