Thursday, March 26, 2015

Black Mirror

This week I'm going to do something a little different and talk about a tv show which (as of late March 2015) is currently available for viewing on Netflix. This show is called Black Mirror, and as is typical of British shows is fairly short, containing a total of just six episodes. (Well, apparently seven but there's only six on Netflix at the moment.) And while I'll be perfectly honest that I don't care for one or maybe two of these episodes, the rest are incredibly fantastic and in my case left me thinking about them for the rest of the day, or even the rest of the week.

Black Mirror is a science-fiction anthology show, much in the same vein as The Twilight Zone, which is probably one of my favorite TV shows. I say science-fiction although some of the stories could happen with existing technology, but most of the stories have a definite science-fiction element to them. However the creators (mainly Charlie Brooker) utilize their stories to make commentary about society today, again very much in the vein of The Twilight Zone. And it's very easy for social commentary to get a little heavy-handed, and that sort of leaks through in a couple of episodes, but at the same time it's really thought-provoking and interesting. And perhaps, in forty or fifty years some of the episodes will be just as dated as some of the more Cold War-oriented Twilight Zone episodes will be, but I like to think that maybe a couple will become timeless classics as well.

As an anthology series, each episode contains its own story, but overall there's definitely a rather dark theme to the series. It tackles various subjects such as human infatuation with media, our relationship with technology, grief and loss, crime, and politics. And overall the episodes are really good because they left me thinking about them throughout the day. Even enough for me to write a blog post about them and tell people they should go watch this show as well. Even if the episode seems a little bit off the mark, it's something that you can talk about. And that's probably one of the greatest powers of tv as a medium, the ability to get us to think and talk about subjects that may not normally cross our minds. That's the power of any medium, really, and tv has definitely made attempts to get us to think about things, but very often shows are just about entertainment. Black Mirror is one of those gems that manages to do both, and I think more people should check it out.

If any of my readers are fans of The Twilight Zone, which I'm going to take a flying leap and guess that they probably are, then I highly recommend that they go and check out Black Mirror. I guarantee you won't be disappointed. (Just don't get turned off by the first episode, okay?)

- Kalpar

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