by Vick Silkenpen
Black Mirror: I recall the feeling I would have when I would tune in weekly without fail to watch the next installment of Twilight Zone and later Night Gallery. Many of the tales would hit me viscerally as well as intellectually and quite often with devastating endings.
Rather than relying on watching those for the umpteenth time, I have been waiting for a darkly twisted anthology to come along that would seduce me. Most still lacked that essential biting beast of escapism at the core.
Then Netflix picked up the British production of the nightmarishly dystopian Black Mirror (BM) and I was hooked immediately. Just like my old fave’s by Rod Serling, each episode of BM uses a new story and new cast.BMcreator Charlie Brooker has “Gumpishly” stated that his show is like a box of dark assorted chocolates and you never know what you'll get.
However,BM is strangely unified with tech-horror consistencies balanced with strains of sci-fi satire sensibility.
Brooker has explained the choice of Black Mirror for the title because that describes what we see when the screens of our TVs and electronic devices are turned off (or are they?). Brookers' disturbingly reflective tales deal out visions galore of how our various tech gadgets may control us in the near future, or at least how our obsessions with them can destroy us and others.
Here are some short summations of the thirteen BM episodes now streaming on Netflix and I am avoiding any spoiler info. Word is that the next season of BM won't come out until October 2017.
Nosedive- This one hits it on the head in familiarity as we view an uncomfortably near future where social media and how we are evaluated by others on it controls our actions and emotional expressions.
Playtest- Gamers may want to be hired by companies for beta testing where a sampling of the intended audience tries the product out but a traveling American gets more than he bargained for.
Shut Up and Dance- Anonymous online forces entrap a young boy and others by threatening to publicize their various online "viewings" or activities unless they commit various crimes.
San Junipero- It takes a bit to orient yourself to what is happening as a shy young girl and an extraverted girl become friends and lovers in a 1987 seaside town where time hopping is common for short periods but there is much more to it.
Men Against Fire- Soldiers Stripe and Raiman have a mission to protect locals from mutants they call "roaches" but Stripe begins to question his perceptions of whom he is killing and how soldiers are trained.
Hated In The Nation- Britain handles their bee extinction due to Colony Collapse Disorder by releasing huge amounts of electronic drone bees to continue pollination, but how does this "advance" connect to deaths of personalities "hated" on social media?
Copyright 2017 The Gayly - 2/23/2017 @ 8:09 a.m. CDT