TV: Recommendation – Black Mirror

By James

I love Black mirror. It is amaze-balls. If Charlie Brooker’s sci-fi series is not scaring the faecal matter out of me it’s making me regret ever associating myself with social media, technology or even owning a mobile phone!

Okay, so I’m not selling it very well, but nor am I exaggerating. I can assure you, it is one of the most original, insightful criticisms of modern day society and beyond ever to grace our screens. Not only is it hugely thought-provoking, each self-contained episode is complete with its own cast, story, message and its own unique, distinctive abundance of genius. It constantly questions your life choices, your opinions, your personal reservations on various topics, some of which you might not even have given much thought before. It questions the very basis of your individual ethical code but it does it in a way that teaches or enlightens you, rather than pointing you out for being wrong or different from the person sitting next to you.

Within each meticulously created and established ‘world’ is enough depth and believability to entirely captivate you as an audience. The acting is, for the most part, on point, which goes great lengths to help involve you in this very real experience for these characters; characters that wholly suit and ‘fit’ the world and setting they’re included in. Furthermore, the settings themselves are very well produced with the details and consideration to individualising each scenario executed almost to perfection. You can well imagine each and every episode being the accumulation of our experience so far, especially when combined with the direction the human race seems to be heading in. Stemming from our preoccupation with technology and social media. Not a single episode is too much of a leap from our imagination and current understanding.

For those that have seen the series, I can appreciate that it focuses almost entirely on a pessimistic viewpoint, wildly avoiding any potential benefits that may come with these circumstances, but somehow the cynical point of view seems much more real; as the modern world seems to be spinning out of control, (primarily down to our own innate egotism as a species) this program delivers, what seems to be, a much needed warning to us all. It all depends how clumsily and blindly we march on into our future as a species.

But that is all very dark, opinionated and unfriendly, so let’s talk cast. Hats off to the actors. In every episode, you can see the utter investment the actor has put into the role. Without specifying, some actors I do not enjoy watching, as a general rule, but it would be unfair not to mention and congratulate the talent and impressive performances of all members from all casts. When a big actor walks onto the set, you know you’re in for a rollercoaster ride; but by the same token, actors I had not seen or heard of before were equally as powerful and moving as their more well-known counterparts.

Continuing with the more light-hearted side of things, there is humour subtly weaved in between the ominous messages and heart-wrenching performances. Although it is largely dark humour, with the majority of it laughing in the face of adversity, it is clever and witty which makes for nice relief in the heavy hitting moments.

The thing is, when you have sat through a gruelling episode and your half wanting more, half developing an existential crisis, deep in your psyche somewhere you feel happiness, or a safety as if you’ve had your eyes opened to the situations we might soon find ourselves absorbed in; possibly, in the not so far future.

Personally, I feel the negative reviews that this programme has received are, predominantly, left by individuals who simply did not understand the point of the show or were too perturbed and scared by its raw and blunt nature in exposing potential hazards within their society, social media buzz and daily life-style. In my experience, humans do not like to be told they’re wrong, nor do they enjoy having shocking realisations that things may be having a negative effect on them. It is this insight that makes the programme so clever. In the last episode I watched, I found myself being sucked in by the big questions and falling into the palms of the writers. When I came out the other side I had asked myself the exact questions they had planned and had had a change of heart in my opinion on the matter; precisely what the episode was designed to do. I had been expertly trapped, questioned on my way of thinking, and shown the profound potential of the alternative.

Superbly written, brilliantly acted, and altogether dark, but meaningful food for thought. Excellent.


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2 Responses

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