Black Mirror

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BackFire
Been watching this series over the last few months.

Essentially a modern day Twilight Zone where all the episodes have a theme of technology in some way. There are some truly exceptional episodes, with San Junipero being my personal favorite, and honestly being one of the best TV episodes I've ever seen.

Anyone else watch this?

Surtur
Yes, I've seen all the episodes. Eh, I didn't like San Junipero. I liked White Christmas with Don Draper and the one about the robot bees with the chick from Boardwalk Empire.

The one where they make Caliban from Penny Dreadful f*ck a pig was kinda funny.

BackFire
White Christmas is probably my second favorite. Loved that episode too.

Also really liked Shut up and dance.

I still haven't seen the last episode - the bee one. Will watch it soon, hear it's good, though.

I just really liked how San Junipero took the story in a different direction from the other episodes. Also the tone reminded me a lot of Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless mind, which I love. Just found the story very moving in a way the other episodes aren't. Also had some awesome music.

samhain
I only watched the Pig F***er episode, which I found totally predictable and pretentious, as such I haven't been able to bring myself around to watching the rest. Part of me hopes that I'll crack one day and give it another go because I do hear really good things about this show from time to time.

BackFire
Season 4 confirmed to be coming in December.

Digi
I've watched seasons 1 and 2. I have one issue with it, but it's a bit of a big one. I guess with a name like "Black Mirror" I shouldn't expect roses and puppies. But, like, a lot of my heroes are guys like Carl Sagan who take the possible, the "what if," and make it wonderful. And I feel like Black Mirror has a lot of brilliant people with clever ideas that work as, well, mirrors of our existence, but they're stuck in pessimism. All their futures and alternate realities are bleak. I'm not saying change the tone entirely. But each episode is its own vignette. They could pivot at any point and give us a full spectrum of possibilities. Instead they're stuck in nihilistic dread at the implications of technology and sociological trends. Our predilection for recording our lives and replaying it proves our undoing as stable individuals. Or our collective apathy toward phony politics allows a more insidious force to rise in its place. They're great vehicles for social commentary. I just don't think they're the only roads down which these ideas can walk.

I wrote a short story for a contest at some point. Winners got picked for an anthology book. The premise was about a Death Machine that, if you chose to go to it, would predict exactly how you died. Only stipulation was it had to always be right. No cheating the prediction. In mine, skipping some of the backstory, the guy is told he'll die when he meets his true love. The very next day he starts seeing numbers above peoples' heads. Different fonts, colors, etc. Eventually he figures out that the numbers roughly correlate to romantic compatibility. Existential dread sets in as he realizes he can see the method of his doom every day. How high do the numbers go? Is he on a countdown? Does this mean he'll never be happy in a relationship? etc. etc. But he's got a really good friend. She convinces him it's a blessing and he starts using it to deepen his relationships. He ends up happily married and the story culminates with him meeting a woman in his old age with a number higher than he's ever seen. He smiles warmly at her, introduces himself and closes his eyes to contentedly embrace his death. The whole thing was set up as a metaphor for our insecurities in relationships.

The premise is probably too trite. I was also never happy with the pacing of it. It didn't get selected, obviously. But the point is, it was a pseudo sci-fi gimmick that created a metaphor for some aspect of our life, but it dug through the shit to find hope. It imagined how the future might be better because of this thing. What might far more clever writers do if they did the same occasionally? I sometimes wonder how people get to the point that they're arguing in mostly curse words on a Youtube video (or something similar). Some are just kids; it's immaturity. But it's adults too. Any study that focuses on "do video games cause violence?" ends up a resounding "no." More generally, "does {insert type of media or stimuli} cause {negative thing}" studies are also almost categorically no. But we'd also all immediately concede the point that what you surround yourself with does have some bearing on your outlook, your actions, your thoughts, your words. That's too holostic to track empirically, but if we look at the resounding aura of cynicism surrounding social media, politics, technology, and other elements of society - the same cynicism that Black Mirror deftly reflects back at us and amplifies in doing so - is it any wonder that fear can govern us and sarcasm is the universal language when even our cleverest shows are parroting that approach? I just want them to dream a bit more. Instead, I feel like we're all sort of watching a more smartly-packaged Waldo bear, whose chief draw is appealing to our apathy and imagining every aspect of our progress as a society as inherently flawed, then expertly tearing it down to our delight. I can handle depressing when it's compelling. But Black Mirror threatens to depress me on a much more meta level when I consider its success.

I'm undoubtedly reaching too far when considering the statement that Black Mirror's success makes. I was bound to step over the line to find where it was at with this train of thought, though. Black Mirror is a good show. Many of the episodes are downright compelling, with interesting characters and premises. It's guess it's just not the show that I want.

Robtard
Started this months ago, watched four of the first season. Need to pick it back up, did enjoy

BackFire
Originally posted by Digi
I've watched seasons 1 and 2. I have one issue with it, but it's a bit of a big one. I guess with a name like "Black Mirror" I shouldn't expect roses and puppies. But, like, a lot of my heroes are guys like Carl Sagan who take the possible, the "what if," and make it wonderful. And I feel like Black Mirror has a lot of brilliant people with clever ideas that work as, well, mirrors of our existence, but they're stuck in pessimism. All their futures and alternate realities are bleak. I'm not saying change the tone entirely. But each episode is its own vignette. They could pivot at any point and give us a full spectrum of possibilities. Instead they're stuck in nihilistic dread at the implications of technology and sociological trends. Our predilection for recording our lives and replaying it proves our undoing as stable individuals. Or our collective apathy toward phony politics allows a more insidious force to rise in its place. They're great vehicles for social commentary. I just don't think they're the only roads down which these ideas can walk.



One of the reasons San Junipero, the episode that won the emmy last night, was so popular and successful is because it did exactly that - shifted the tone and bucked expectations.

And while that is my personal favorite episode, I don't think they should attempt to change their tone for most episodes. I think it's a smart thing to do every now and then because it keeps people guessing rather than just assuming that every episode will end in a character destroying twist. I think changing it too regularly would be inconsistent with the running themes of the show, which are really the only connective tissue between episodes - that humanity is not ethically or morally prepared for the inevitable technological advances that are encroaching on our society.

Also the bleak tone fits the whole "modern day twilight zone" thing the show has going for it.

Digi
Originally posted by BackFire
One of the reasons San Junipero, the episode that won the emmy last night, was so popular and successful is because it did exactly that - shifted the tone and bucked expectations.

thumb up

Digi
May have to check out the recent series, then. It's a quick watch, at least.

Surtur
And all the episodes more or less exist within the same universe so that is kind of cool.

BackFire
Yeah that's one of the coolest things about the show. It's nice being able to tell a friend or family member "Hey go watch this episode of Black Mirror" and have them not have to worry about if they need to be "caught up" like other shows.

Surtur
Originally posted by BackFire
Yeah that's one of the coolest things about the show. It's nice being able to tell a friend or family member "Hey go watch this episode of Black Mirror" and have them not have to worry about if they need to be "caught up" like other shows.

Well I didn't quite mean it like that. The episodes are all self contained, but they exist in a shared universe. The final episode references people and events from other episodes.

BackFire
Oh really? I haven't watched the last episode yet, the only one I have left.

Still though, it's cool that for the most part you can watch them in any order.

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