Black Mirror

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Izawwlgood
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Black Mirror

Postby Izawwlgood » Thu Feb 05, 2015 2:24 am UTC

I'm almost finished with this show, only six episodes, but holy shit I absolutely love it. Kind of Twilight Zone with a Sophies Choice bend. The future tech is well played and the acting is pretty solid. The endings are abrupt and painful, harsh and fairly thought provoking.

I felt the first two episodes were somewhat similar -
Spoiler:
The notion of debasing your values for someone else, as well as the idea of responsibilities requiring everything we are. I loved Bings rant, and the look on the prime ministers face as he walked down the hallway.


Episode three and four -
Spoiler:
Living in the past instead of the moment, and how memories can destroy us. Rough stuff.

Thoughts?
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Re: Black Mirror

Postby Mokele » Thu Feb 05, 2015 2:56 am UTC

I actually really like it (and also like the original Twilight Zone).

However, that said, this site parodies it pretty well, to the point that my wife and I will just randomly look at each other super-seriously and say "What if phones, but too much?"
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Re: Black Mirror

Postby Izawwlgood » Thu Feb 05, 2015 3:29 pm UTC

Ha! That does seem pretty spot on. There's a definite theme/vibe to the way the show plays out.

And I've really liked the tech inclusion, though you're absolutely right that the 'me am go too far!' issue is a bit of a crutch.
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Re: Black Mirror

Postby Mokele » Thu Feb 05, 2015 4:11 pm UTC

Well, I'm not sure it's a crutch, so much as just easy to make fun of. Part of what makes shows like Black Mirror and Twilight Zone fun is that you *know* there's going to be a twist or message or somesuch, and you try to figure out what it is. Are they pawns in some alien's game? What's the secret of this creepy little town? Is the alien text a cookbook? Without that element, it would just be dull.

That said, I really miss Rod Serling's introductions.
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Re: Black Mirror

Postby Izawwlgood » Thu Feb 05, 2015 4:18 pm UTC

I don't think Black Mirror has a twist as much as a 'and these are the ramifications of their actions'. Hence the shows title, too.
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Re: Black Mirror

Postby Izawwlgood » Sat Feb 07, 2015 3:51 pm UTC

White Bear - Holy fuck that twist was hard to stomach.

Waldo - Kind of weak, I felt, though, yes, 'What if [digitaltechnology], but too much???!'
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Re: Black Mirror

Postby Mokele » Sun Feb 08, 2015 1:43 am UTC

Izawwlgood wrote:White Bear - Holy fuck that twist was hard to stomach.


Yeah, that's why I didn't reply until now. :wink:
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Re: Black Mirror

Postby freezeblade » Wed Feb 11, 2015 6:56 pm UTC

This show is awesome, but I can only take a few episodes at a time, because it makes me depressed. Like, holy shit, some of the ones on the first season are just, oh man. I can't even.
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Re: Black Mirror

Postby Flumble » Fri Mar 13, 2015 4:56 pm UTC

To those who don't know yet: there's a new episode since last christmas. It has multiple stories brought together perfectly. :D

Izawwlgood wrote:Thoughts?

Marvelous.

Specifically towards the episodes White Bear and White Christmas. Not because they are the grimmest, but they provoked me the most.
White Bear
Spoiler:
was basically daily torture of an empty "shell" (she didn't know anything at the start of the day and I'm not even sure if she remembered at the end of the day) and the audience loved it. That audience is missing a critical part in justice vs revenge (or plain sadism; most people in that audience probably don't have vengeful feelings but see an easy victim and encouraged kicking). :cry:

Moreover, I really detested the emotional instability (all the –seemingly needless– crying) until the reveal.

White Christmas
Spoiler:
in the same way disregards ethics towards "shadows" (the brain clones) by torturing them into compliance. I'm not sure these half-assed clones must be regarded as humans, but there should be basic rights for them. If you really need entities to relieve people of their destructive tendencies (in a technologically advanced and very libertarian society), make a 3D environment and some behaviour scripts. No humans, animals or intelligences of such complexity shall be harmed unnecessarily.

Anyway, I liked the blocking mechanism. However, it was faaaar too easy to use it. Nowadays it's possible to get a restraining order, but this requires a judge to evaluate the situation and to grant the order. I know, a lot of restraining orders are granted without good reason, but in the episode you needed no reason or court at all.


Fifteen Million Merits comes in third for me, in part because of the penguin. I liked the penguin.

Izawwlgood wrote:Waldo - Kind of weak, I felt, though, yes, 'What if [digitaltechnology], but too much???!'

Maybe it fits as an opening episode? It's lighter than National Anthem, but then again, it's not nearly as (thought-)provoking as other episodes.

freezeblade wrote:This show is awesome, but I can only take a few episodes at a time, because it makes me depressed. Like, holy shit, some of the ones on the first season are just, oh man. I can't even.

If by "some" you mean more than one, it's already the majority of the first season. :P
That's the worst thing about Black Mirror: the episodes take so long to produce. Then again, there's no huge budget and the quality is great!

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Re: Black Mirror

Postby chad23 » Tue Mar 24, 2015 11:15 am UTC

I've watched the first episode so far and I really liked it. People are always looking for bread and circuses and new technologies can bring this to the new level. And of course keynote about values and personal responsibility is strong. Will definitely watch other episodes.

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Re: Black Mirror

Postby Flumble » Wed Oct 21, 2015 9:44 pm UTC

Bumping because this series (=in the strictest sense of the word) deserves more watchers and because Netflix has recently bought/funded the production of a whole 12 more episodes!

Although, producing 12 episodes in one go, whereas the current 7 episodes took years to complete and were broadcast in runs of three, does beg the question whether they can hold up to expectations.

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Re: Black Mirror

Postby Izawwlgood » Wed Oct 21, 2015 10:15 pm UTC

Woooooo!
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Re: Black Mirror

Postby Yubtzock » Sat Oct 24, 2015 3:16 pm UTC

Aw Yiss!

Flumble wrote:Although, producing 12 episodes in one go, whereas the current 7 episodes took years to complete and were broadcast in runs of three, does beg the question whether they can hold up to expectations.

If, out of those 12, there are 3 as good as the previous ones, I'll be satisfied. Bonus 9 decent to mediocre ones are just going to be icing on the cake.
They wouldn't make it into a procedural now, would they?

Other thoughts:
Two-parters are now possible. Maybe a story or two will benefit from bumping it up to nearly feature length.
They might cut the length of each episode a bit at the same time.

Either way, I can't wait for more stories about the "black mirrors of our phones, but too much". :D

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Re: Black Mirror

Postby Flumble » Wed Mar 29, 2017 4:28 am UTC

Oh right, the new season has been out for half a year now. Time to get a-watchin'.
Scanning some reviews, it seems that the 3rd installment is as good as the previous two. :D (no I haven't watched it yet, I'm just voicing excitement to bump the thread and let you know this series exists or maybe lure you into responding if you have already seen the 3rd season)

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Re: Black Mirror

Postby Flumble » Thu May 18, 2017 10:07 pm UTC

3 episodes of season 3 seen so far and it's absolutely great! :D

The first episode is a test: can you stomach 60 minutes of cringy faked happiness and interaction? It turns out that if you have a people-rating app, everyone (above a 0.8) is going to act like a youtube vlogger in real life. :shock:
It's too bad it ends at the end and doesn't show the aftermath. I'd like to see whether our main character changes afterwards.

The second episode is a good horror story. Of course, because it's about simulation, it's going to include multiple layers and the "is this reality or are we still in a simulation" question.
Spoiler:
Also the main person's greatest fear is really relatable to me, for it is Alzheimer's —a living mind in a dying body is one thing, a dying mind in a living body is another.
And it was nice how they put a "Would you kindly" in there. :wink: (still need to play the bioshocks)


But the third episode is the most thrilling one (so far, and will probably keep that title), despite/because of being contemporary and close to non-fiction. After accepting the characters' choice to not go to the police but hoping the criminals will play fair*, I got very much invested in the main character. His emotions were so vivid and his fears of losing face so tangible.
Spoiler:
Moral of the story: assume any compromised information will be used against you, so go to the police instead in an effort to catch the criminals behind it. For people who expect the criminals to play fair, the end is a punch in the gut. But it was to be expected. The trollface was appropriate for another reason too, since the criminals didn't get any loot out of it. It was purely for teh lulz.


[edit]
Fourth episode has a complete change of heart: it's a "what if technology but exactly the right amount" story -it even has a good ending. It's not only refreshing to have an episode in which technology and society have advanced, but it has arguably the best storytelling of all episodes. :D
[/edit]

[edit the second]
I'm out of episodes. :oops:
Fifth was quite nice; too predictable though. Maybe I've seen the scenario too often, but the plot kept really tightly to the scenario, whereas I expected more and was let down.
Spoiler:
I forgot where I saw the concept of replacing your vision before. The earlier episode Playtest did it of course, but it wasn't used for overlaying reality/in a military setting.

In any case, I'd say it's a good tribute to WW2, with its eradication of all imperfect people and very effective propaganda –it's too bad we didn't get a look at their police state.

What I didn't get is why our main character is not considered a 'roach'. Perhaps his genes are good, but he was a complete idiot at the time of drafting. And of course: what kind of supremacist society would include blacks in their idea of übermensch and not merely nordic caucasians?


The final episode of season 3, "not the bees!", is a good cautionary tale. I did not understand why the people involved didn't walk around with earplugs/gasmasks/EMP devices from the very start though. It seemed like the smart thing to do. Also don't put people in an MRI scanner before checking for metal parts.
[/edit the second]

*and getting a malware removal tool while the system is infected —utterly stupid: either you know how to wipe the whole system or you go to a computer store to get it fixed. Also, you don't watch child porn, you just watch anime and read hentai (they're only technically over 18). It may be barely a substitute, but it keeps you away from illegality and robs the creators of child porn of their audience.

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Re: Black Mirror

Postby Plasmic-Turtle » Thu Jan 11, 2018 10:13 am UTC

Loving Black Mirror as well. Episodes can almost always be a base for further discussion of some form.

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Re: Black Mirror

Postby Zohar » Thu Jan 11, 2018 3:49 pm UTC

I watched just a few episodes of the first season and really didn't like it. I'm not very interested in stories about how technology is absolutely terrible.
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Re: Black Mirror

Postby Plasmic-Turtle » Thu Jan 11, 2018 8:49 pm UTC

Yes, I get what you're saying Zohar. But I find that the thoughts that it generates, and conversations it stimulates between my partner and I, aren't really about technology being bad. They're questions about society in general, or ethics, or philosophy... because all of it comes down to people's creation and/or use of particular technologies, more so than the technology itself. The technology doesn't exist in that form without the people who created it. It isn't used in that way without people.

Referencing season 3...
Spoiler:
- Apps that rate people are already here, it's not some distant idea. I think the poor rating and negative reviews these apps receive sums up current society's reaction to that though!

- How could vigilante justice, and the hatred and dehumanisation of paedophiles be paired with technology to carry out said 'justice'... and how do we feel about that?

- How do we feel about the marketing to people of a 'digital afterlife' should that happen - would you use it? My partner and I have agreed, I think, that the 'you' being depicted in the episode is not actually being you, but simply a copy... the real 'you' is dead, and so there's no point opting to 'go' to that digital world after death. But if my partner died before me and did have a copy of himself uploaded to that world... would it be difficult to resist 'visiting', to feel/hear him again? To feel like he was still there? And once I'd done that... would it then be tricky to not go myself, given that the digital copy I'd now spent time with had developed some expectation of seeing me...? And while still alive... if elderly/disabled or maybe even if neither, the temptation of such a virtual reality seems hard to resist. Other games are already addictive enough, right?

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Re: Black Mirror

Postby Izawwlgood » Thu Jan 11, 2018 8:59 pm UTC

I do think they get away from the 'technology is abjectly horrid' slant, and start looking more at social ramifications of future technology. And not so future technology!
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Re: Black Mirror

Postby nicholasbrooks » Tue Feb 20, 2018 3:41 pm UTC

Not all of their episodes are about how technology is terrible, some are pretty hopeful. My favorite was "San Junipero". There were no dark twists and was pretty optimistic.

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Re: Black Mirror

Postby heuristically_alone » Sat Jun 23, 2018 5:53 am UTC

Seriously one of the best shows I've seen in awhile. Cant handle more than a couple episodes at once though.
Spoiler:
really shows how no matter how imperfext society may be, we all give in anyways.
Just watched white bears, which was one of the best and terrible episodes at the same time. When the twist drops and it dawn on you exactly what they're doing, it's jaw dropping, but that's literally what made that episode great. I was so tempted to.skip it because the girl's nonstop crying was almost unbearable making it quite unwatchable.
Understandable though if her brain is being strained and destroyed on that level every day.
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Re: Black Mirror

Postby cephalopod9 » Tue Jul 03, 2018 5:22 am UTC

Re: White Bear
What's the show's point??
Spoiler:
There's a couple meta layers. From the crowd enthusiastically recreating the crime, to putting the cell phone interface on the screen. Is it supposed to be bad that I'm watching the show?
It's weird that the symbol (the creeper mouth?) is used so much. Did that not start off as the murderer boyfriend's neck tattoo?
Is the torture supposed to be being broadcast to an audience that's paying for it? Is the state sponsoring a 200 person 'escape room' game every day... forever?


Black Museum
It was kind of neat to have all the call backs, and kind of tie stuff together, but there's 7 or 8 technologies that don't exist and could never exist because That's Not How Anything Works, just immediately being applied in the worst ways imaginable to support the show's thesis that technology is bad???
The pain addict story
Spoiler:
there's oodles of people out there with chronic pain conditions. more than a few of whom are desperate to get they're pain taken seriously, and/or get meds to help them deal with stuff. As a doctor who can presumably write prescriptions, or at the least diagnose folks with "bad enough for meds" that'd be real easy to exploit.
Following that thread there's an interesting stories to be told about power, and empathy, and pain and value. But no, he runs into the street with a drill.


It doesn't reflect human nature, and it doesn't explore hypothetical technology with any real curiosity beyond How to Make It as Shocking as Possible!

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Re: Black Mirror

Postby Tyndmyr » Tue Jul 03, 2018 3:18 pm UTC

I see White Bear as largely being about the public's lust for vengeance. Now, this doesn't become apparent immediately, so the earlier part of the episode can kind of feel like it's stretching on too long, and not really selling the usual BM technological horror well enough. The ending definitely brings it back, though. I think it's one of the more solid stories, because it's grounded in human nature, not in fear mongering regarding tech. The episodes that rely on the former work for me, and are great, whereas the latter ends up falling a bit flat for me.

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Re: Black Mirror

Postby heuristically_alone » Tue Jul 03, 2018 3:52 pm UTC

Also I think white bear
Spoiler:
is a tourist attraction. Anyone can buy a ticket to participate. It's taking advantage of a criminal and turning it into a business, which probably sounds vetter than a jail cell which costs money. This makes money. Do they do this with criminals all over the country or just this one criminal?
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Re: Black Mirror

Postby cephalopod9 » Fri Jul 06, 2018 3:06 am UTC

heuristically_alone wrote:Also I think white bear
Spoiler:
is a tourist attraction. Anyone can buy a ticket to participate. It's taking advantage of a criminal and turning it into a business, which probably sounds vetter than a jail cell which costs money. This makes money. Do they do this with criminals all over the country or just this one criminal?

Is that based on anything in the show? ...that definitely doesn't add up monetarily
Spoiler:
instead of one jail cell part of building filled with hundreds of other prisoners, it's like, four buildings, a space in the woods, several vehicles and a stage. It's like a full scale film production, and instead of releasing a finished movie, they're going have the extras pay for it.

What's the ongoing appeal? There's no narrative arc, and limited uncertainty. And they could do the same thing in like three spaces in an abandoned mall, instead of driving across town.

There's no, like, psychological reasoning, or philosophy of public good.
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Re: Black Mirror

Postby SecondTalon » Fri Jul 06, 2018 3:17 am UTC

Flumble wrote:The first episode is a test: can you stomach 60 minutes of cringy faked happiness and interaction? It turns out that if you have a people-rating app, everyone (above a 0.8) is going to act like a youtube vlogger in real life. :shock:
It's too bad it ends at the end and doesn't show the aftermath. I'd like to see whether our main character changes afterwards.

What if that one episode of Community, but serious and worse?

I’ve seen that one and the next two of that season, no others. Are the earlier seasons better and I just picked three ... mediocre episodes? Or is this them hitting their stride and I shouldn’t bother?
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Re: Black Mirror

Postby heuristically_alone » Fri Jul 06, 2018 4:18 am UTC

That episode reminded me of an episode of The Orville where they happen upon a planet just like earth but everything is run based on likes and dislikes. Any person that gets too many dislikes is "punished".

Anyhow, yes the first two seasons are vastly superior of Black Mirror, and I recommend checking them out. The very very first episode makes me a little quesy though.
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Re: Black Mirror

Postby cephalopod9 » Fri Jul 06, 2018 6:05 am UTC

SecondTalon wrote:I’ve seen that one and the next two of that season, no others. Are the earlier seasons better and I just picked three ... mediocre episodes? Or is this them hitting their stride and I shouldn’t bother?


That's one of the better ones, IMO. You have something approaching a human motivation and something vaguely related to technology that does exist.

I think I've seen about a third of the episodes, San Juniperno is good. Other than that, there's some parts that are fun, or clever, but it's short sighted, mean spirited, and condescending.
Episodes tend to range from "you had something clever, but you ran it into the ground" and "you can't make fun of it bad".
Spoiler:
"Before you go" the stern woman interrupted Handsome BadGuy "You've been... Blocked"
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Re: Black Mirror

Postby heuristically_alone » Fri Jul 06, 2018 9:14 am UTC

Has anyone else noticed that thebsong the girl auditions with in season 1 episode 2 appears in exactly one episode in each of the 4 seasons? Also, there are signs that many episodes are taking place in the same futuristing society. A couple episodes use the exact same pregnancy test, USD Callister (S4:E1) and White Christmas (S2:E2) the technology is exactly the same.
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Re: Black Mirror

Postby Tyndmyr » Fri Jul 06, 2018 3:58 pm UTC

cephalopod9 wrote:Is that based on anything in the show? ...that definitely doesn't add up monetarily


I would agree that White Bear is not at all financially focused. It isn't a criticism of capitalism or anything, it's pretty straightforwardly about vengeance and tragedy. I don't think it really makes sense from a financial perspective, and in any case, we really don't see anything in the way of financial transactions taking place. Just not a priority for it.

SecondTalon wrote:What if that one episode of Community, but serious and worse?

I’ve seen that one and the next two of that season, no others. Are the earlier seasons better and I just picked three ... mediocre episodes? Or is this them hitting their stride and I shouldn’t bother?


It's hit and miss. Some premises are interesting. Some of them are just "technology is baaaaad", while showing a particular technology being used to death in a not particularly reasonable fashion.

With the exception of White Bear, generally your impression a couple of minutes into a given episode will be accurate for the remainder of it. I'd suggest giving the earlier episodes a short try, but if you hate the setup, just skip the remainder of that episode, and try another one. There's essentially no continuity between episodes, so you lose nothing by treating them as stand-alone mini-films.

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Re: Black Mirror

Postby heuristically_alone » Sat Jul 07, 2018 6:10 am UTC

Holy crap. Hang the DJ (S4:E4) is by far one of my favorites

Spoiler:
A dating app that runs a simulation that lasts "years" to see if you are willing to rebel against the system to be with the one you love. Because of course you would do anything to be with someone you love. Thank goodness it is not the real you that experiences the psychological damages of finding the one you love.
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Re: Black Mirror

Postby techblogger911 » Thu Jul 19, 2018 9:22 am UTC

I have yet to watch Black Mirror, one of my colleagues recommended it to me but I always forget about it -_-


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