Where do we go from here? Black Mirror is an anthology series somewhat similar to The Outer Limits or the Twilight Zone that predicts what what life might be like as our relationship with technology evolves in the near future. Do we evolve with it or do we become a slaves to it? Charlie Booker the series creator and writer gives us a peek into his imagination of the future through satire and scares.
Read the review of the Netflix series by our contributing writer Matti Bygod:
Black Mirror is an anthology series, each episode is a self contained story with with its own cast and story to tell. You can essentially start at any point of the three seasons. If you’re new to the series, season 3’s opening episode Nosedive is a perfect entry point. Nosedive is a satirical story where social media becomes a life currency. Imagine living in a world where every social interaction is rated, your lifestyle is dependent on how kind and impressive you are to others. I can imagine it because it doesn’t feel far away. This narrative borrows heavily from our reliance on apps like Instagram where we post things we want others to “like” to become more popular. The concept remains similar but “likes” elevate your social standing and determine your station in life with a number scale. Anyone ranking 4.5 and higher is essentially upper class and social slaves to portraying and maintaining the perfect life. Bryce Dallas Howard stars as Lacie a woman eager to advance from 4.2 up to 4.5 so she can move into a nicer neighbourhood. One small emotional outburst at the airport sets off a downward spiral of events that is all too relatable. This episode is lighter in tone than most of the others but is so elegantly crafted that it’s depiction of the future feels realistic.
Episode 2 Playtest is one of the weaker episodes this season by comparison but still stands on its own as a solid concept. Playtest is about an American backpacker short on cash so he takes a quick job testing out a new Virtual Reality game in development. The company is trying to design the ultimate horror experience. The game is designed to connect to your brain and scare you with what scares you most, the more you resist it the harder it searches your memories to design the ultimate scare. What might go wrong does and we learn why maybe we’re not quite ready such immersive gaming experiences.
Perhaps the biggest stand out this season is Episode 3 Shut Up and Dance. This episode looks and feels like it’s happening in the world we live in now. Shut Up and Dance is about cyber blackmail that traps you into performing tasks for an unknown blackmailer. The tasks carried out by a handful or maybe dozens of people range from deliveries to bank robbery. 19 year old Kenny played so convincingly by Alex Lawther is a nice kid that gets recorded enjoying porn on his webcam. Kenny is an awkward shy kid that would do anything to keep this video from being viewed by everyone he knows. Its how far he goes and why this is happening to him that so gripping. This could happen now and it serves as a warning. So often Black Mirror’s themes are warnings about what could happen when the flaws of humanity can be exploited in an age without privacy.
Black Mirror season 3 isn’t without its flaws but it challenges us to think about our fears and anxieties we have as society dynamics change with social media and technology. What will the world become when we become integrated with tools that can help us and destroy us?
Definitely check out this season it’s a welcome addition to the Sci Fi genre!
Review Written by Matti Bygod – @mattibygod