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Black Mirror

Posted: Thu Feb 05, 2015 2:24 am UTC
by Izawwlgood
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 -
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 -
Living in the past instead of the moment, and how memories can destroy us. Rough stuff.


Re: Black Mirror

Posted: Thu Feb 05, 2015 2:56 am UTC
by Mokele
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?"

Re: Black Mirror

Posted: Thu Feb 05, 2015 3:29 pm UTC
by Izawwlgood
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.

Re: Black Mirror

Posted: Thu Feb 05, 2015 4:11 pm UTC
by Mokele
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.

Re: Black Mirror

Posted: Thu Feb 05, 2015 4:18 pm UTC
by Izawwlgood
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.

Re: Black Mirror

Posted: Sat Feb 07, 2015 3:51 pm UTC
by Izawwlgood
White Bear - Holy fuck that twist was hard to stomach.

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

Re: Black Mirror

Posted: Sun Feb 08, 2015 1:43 am UTC
by Mokele
Izawwlgood wrote:White Bear - Holy fuck that twist was hard to stomach.

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

Re: Black Mirror

Posted: Wed Feb 11, 2015 6:56 pm UTC
by freezeblade
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.

Re: Black Mirror

Posted: Fri Mar 13, 2015 4:56 pm UTC
by Flumble
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?


Specifically towards the episodes White Bear and White Christmas. Not because they are the grimmest, but they provoked me the most.
White Bear
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
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!

Re: Black Mirror

Posted: Tue Mar 24, 2015 11:15 am UTC
by chad23
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.

Re: Black Mirror

Posted: Wed Oct 21, 2015 9:44 pm UTC
by Flumble
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.

Re: Black Mirror

Posted: Wed Oct 21, 2015 10:15 pm UTC
by Izawwlgood

Re: Black Mirror

Posted: Sat Oct 24, 2015 3:16 pm UTC
by Yubtzock
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

Re: Black Mirror

Posted: Wed Mar 29, 2017 4:28 am UTC
by Flumble
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)

Re: Black Mirror

Posted: Thu May 18, 2017 10:07 pm UTC
by Flumble
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.
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.
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.

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 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.
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.

Re: Black Mirror

Posted: Thu Jan 11, 2018 10:13 am UTC
by Plasmic-Turtle
Loving Black Mirror as well. Episodes can almost always be a base for further discussion of some form.

Re: Black Mirror

Posted: Thu Jan 11, 2018 3:49 pm UTC
by Zohar
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.

Re: Black Mirror

Posted: Thu Jan 11, 2018 8:49 pm UTC
by Plasmic-Turtle
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...
- 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?

Re: Black Mirror

Posted: Thu Jan 11, 2018 8:59 pm UTC
by Izawwlgood
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!

Re: Black Mirror

Posted: Tue Feb 20, 2018 3:41 pm UTC
by nicholasbrooks
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.