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Black Mirror (2011)
The best program I have seen in years
I have only seen the first two installments of this series and but was impressed enough to leave a review. Charlie Brooker has popped out of the internet at times when I least expect it revealing the more unsettling aspects of our culture through his program Screenwipe and others. That was my first exposure to Doug Stanhope, a comedian who among others brings us closer together via demonstrations of how media and technology are changing our society and rarely for the better. Black Mirror arrives in the form of anthologized science fiction in the vein of the Twilight zone. It is a series that examines our society's relationship with the media and how it allows us to both shape our own identity and imprison us in a space where empathy and truth are weaknesses and something to hide in order to get ahead.
I have always been interested in futurists and Brooker seems to fill the requirements for one. There is nothing in the first two installments that do not reflect current trends in our collective behavior but instead extrapolates where current trends in communications technology; avatars, social media and reality television might lead us if we do not seek to preserve what is beautiful and pure about our collective consciousness and humanity.
Having seen reviews here that feel there is no commentary embedded within these stories I couldn't disagree more. As the title suggests, Brooker's Black Mirror shows us a dark reflection of our selves and allows us to evaluate these scenarios through our own emotional filters.
There are no blatant soap box messages but I interpreted the narratives as cautionary tales and would hope that no one, when confronted with them, would hope for these near futures. The only thing holding them back from becoming reality is our own resistance to complacency and purely spectator culture.
Beyond these philosophical aspects, the program is incredibly well produced and executed in my opinion. The characters and sets create convincing realities and I was never once drawn out of the story due to poor acting, scripting or characterizations. I could not recommend this series more and hope that it will continue on. Congratulations to Brooker and company for their work and their apparent concern for all of us.