TV review: Black Mirror
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The man responsible for the Screenwipe series and Dead Set, Charlie Brooker, is back on our screens with a new, much darker series called Black Mirror. The three part series takes a satirical look at our modern world. Airing on Sunday the first part ‘The National Anthem’ satirised how the internet (and particularly social media) has become a central part of our society and our behaviour, also raising questions about human nature. Centred around Prime Minister Michael Callow (played by Rory Kinnear) who is woken up early one morning to find that the Duchess of Beaumont, popularly known as Princess Susannah has been kidnapped by unknown and for her release they have asked not for money, not power but for the Prime Minister to have done by 4pm, and I quote, to have ‘unsimulated sex with a pig’ live on television. The narrative unfolds as the PM has to deal with the media, the public and his own thoughts leading up to the deadline. Much has been made of Brooker’s use of such controversial subject matter – which use such a disgusting sex act and kidnap to make a point about the extreme use of the internet? But it is this controversy that made Black Mirror so divine to watch and hard-hitting. It is this controversy that makes this show great art. A show like this would shock me from other writers, but not from Charlie Brooker. Brooker is highlighting how with the advent of 24-hour news and social media we have become desensitised to the most extreme matters and how we feel a right to be directly involved in all unfolding situations. But the most important issue this show raises is how public opinion holds more sway than ever before, so much so that political leaders will consider committing extreme acts to appease it. It is incredibly disturbing. It may haunt you. But it won’t change the fact that it's one of the finest programmes to be made in a long time, and even better…there’s two more episodes of this to come.