Black Mirror: The Importance, The Legacy and the Future
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Charlie Brooker's renowned and prophetic satirical, dark comedy series Black Mirror returns on Netflix this month.
Few programmes have been as astoundingly successful in examining the horrors, and potential horrors, of our modern world and future involving technology, the media, politics and human interaction.
Black Mirror retains similar nihilistic cynical aspects of Brooker's previous works TV Go Home, Screenwipe/Newswipe, Nathan Barley and Dead Set, but with the addition of intriguing narratives based on fears of societal transformation, blending a perfect mix of sci-fi and dystopia.
The six episodes of the third series are highly anticipated. But before the new series hits our screens it's time to take a look back at the moments that have made Black Mirror standout as a modern masterpiece of television.
The Best Moments of Black Mirror
Although all of the episodes are fantastic and have their own particular merit (the individuality of each story is one of the many achievements of the series), here are some episodes of Black Mirror that particularly stood out:
The Entire History of You (Series 1, Episode 3)
Written by Jesse Armstrong, of Peep Show and Fresh Meat fame, The Entire History of You stars Toby Kebbel and Jodie Whittaker. This is one of the most emotionally driven Black Mirror stories, that experiments with a very human and real relationship, entwined with futuristic technology and the extremely dark pitfalls that come with this.
The ‘grain’ is the catalyst for this story, a piece of technology that is implanted into the brain and records everything that is seen. Throughout the episode we see how this, more often than not, causes problems dredging up previous negative memories and allowing the protagonists to dwell on recent moments.
Honing in on the philosophy of what makes us human and completely skewering this by giving each human the ability to relive everything they have previously experienced, negating the option of letting things be and moving on. This particular episode focuses on a married couple and the slow decline that their relationship takes. It's incredibly interesting and heartbreaking to watch a nice and respectable family get torn apart throughout this episode.
White Bear (Series 2 Episode 2)
Starring Lara Chrichlow and Michael Smiley and written by Charlie Brooker.
Victoria Skillane (Chrichlow) wakes up in an unknown location, with pictures of a man and a young girl, who she assumes to be her family. Distressed, Victoria leaves and is shocked to see that the surrounding human population are filming her. She is soon flung into a deadly conflict with an unknown enemy. Similar to other episodes in the series, there is a sense of mystery that runs throughout and takes many surprising and shocking turns.
White Bear explores many societal issues, such as the potential development of our already voyeuristic-obsessed culture, as well as the treatment of humanity by those in power.
This intense episode ultimately offers the audience a conundrum, that challenges our perceptions of what is right and wrong.
White Christmas (Christmas Special)
White Christmas aired at Christmas in 2014 was a feature length anthology episode (pretty meta) split into three sections, all involving Jon Hamm's character Matt Trent and Joe Spall (Rafe Porter).
Matt and Joe work in a small cabin, in an unknown snowy location, where they have done so for five years. Figuring out that they are both unaware of how either of them ended up in the cabin they both share their stories.
White Christmas definitely has a lot of complexity and depth, so to really experience the episode, it is best to just sit and discover the secrets for yourself.
But the episode is incredible and in classic Black Mirror fashion implements fantastically well-imagined technology into equally amazing and brilliant storytelling, that will leave you feeling deflated and full of hopelessness - but also, hopefully well-entertained.
Netflix have commissionned 12 new episodes of Black Mirror to run over two series.
The episodes are titled ‘San Junipero’, ‘Shut Up and Dance’, ‘Nosedive’, ‘Men Against Fire’, ‘Hated in the Nation’ and ‘Playtest’. There are some famous faces appearing as well, with the likes of Bryce Dallas Howard in Nosedive and Jerome Flynn in Shut Up and Dance amongst others. Offering their creativity, we also have directors James Watkins (The Woman in Black), Joe Wright (Atonement and Anna Karenina) and Jakob Verbruggen (House of Cards and Misfits) taking the reins.
Whether you pick up on the social commentaries that Black Mirror offers or not, the storytelling alone makes it a compelling watch.
The satire never overshadows the narrative. It's definitely worth a watch if you haven't seen it. And if you're left wanting more afterwards, then there are six more episodes on the way very shortly.
Black Mirror series 3 debuts on Netflix on the 21st October.