Created by Charlie Brooker
A dark anthology series about the twisted hold that technology has over the over us all.
Technology has become something of a crutch for the modern human being. We use our phones and our computers to do pretty much everything, keep in touch with people, take photos of our loved ones and share photos of our loved ones with the people that we keep in touch with. This addiction to technology is at the dark heart of Black Mirror, an anthology series from the imagination of Charlie Brooker, which looks at the twisted dark hold that technology has on all of us.
Now many of you are probably accusing me of cheating given that Black Mirror is not technically a horror series, but I would argue that kind of sort of is. I mean what’s more horrifying than seeing the damaging effects that our reliance on technology has done to us as a species, turning us into zombies glued to our devices? That should keep the critics at bay, so let’s look at the series proper.
Given that this is an anthology series, with every episode being a standalone story, reviewing this series will be slightly difficult without discussing spoilers. So I’ll instead I’ll be talking about particular episodes while keeping spoilers to a minimum, but I implore all of you reading this, go and watch this series. NOW!!!!!
The series acts as a dark satire on numerous modern technology trends with sometimes hilarious, sometimes twisted and but always spellbinding results.
The episode 15 Million Merits is a brilliant satire on X-factor style talent shows, with everyone believing the bullshit idea that the only way out of the horrible empty existence in which they live (in which they constantly cycle on exercise bikes and live in cells seemingly built by Apple) they have to win on the talent show Hot Shots.
Pointing out the all the clichés of these sorts of programmes, from the rude patronising judges to the delusional wannabe stars and the usual sob stories told by the eventual winners, the episode holds nothing back when tearing all this nonsense to pieces.
It’s no coincidence that this episode was co-written by former presenter of The Xtra Factor (and wife of Brooker) Konnie Huq, whose experience likely influenced the way the story was told, and essentially ensures that she will never be asked to present that show again.
The National Anthem is a brilliant look at the popularity of the Royal Family, particularly the likes of William and Kate and the obsessive devotion they can entail. It also looks at the lengths that politicians will go to try and maintain their own careers and dignity even when the life of a popular and innocent person is on the line.
There was also for a time a slightly weird real-world parallel with this episode in the news not too long ago, but to mention what that parallel is would ruin a wonderfully morbid twist.
Not all episodes are twisted and darkly funny; some of them can actually be quite powerful pieces of drama.
Be Right Back for example is a moving look at the power of grief and loss can have on a person when they lose a loved one. The episode looks at how a person can in a sense quite literally live on through the social media footprint that they leave behind once they have passed away, and how this footprint could be used to resurrect them at least partially. It is a genuinely moving episode, thanks in no small part to the brilliant lead performance from Hayley Atwell as the grief-stricken Martha, who is simply desperate to have her dead boyfriend back.
I could go on and describe other episodes, but that would really be spoiling it. So again I urge you dear readers, to go and watch this series where you can. Black Mirror is easily one of the funniest, darkest, scariest and smartest drama series on television right now and with a third series due for releases very soon, courtesy of Netflix, things can only get better. Check it out now.