lack Mirror is science fiction like you haven’t seen before. It plays into our own fears about the consequences of technology and pushes the viewer to consider a new set of ethics. One which includes clones, transferred consciousness and extreme forms of punishment.
This examination of modern society had passed me by until recently, when media coverage was boosted with the release of season 4 to Netflix. Since then I have been binge watching the show to catch up with the rest of the world. Keep reading for a quick guide to Black Mirror for those, like me, who are late comers to this dystopian world.
Black Mirror is the brain child of British screenwriter and producer, Charlie Brooker. It focuses on the consequences of our continued and increasing reliance on technology in the modern world. Brooker talks about technology as a drug which has side effects, and it is these side effects which are the focus of Black Mirror.
Speaking of the name, Brooker explains that the 'black mirror' is the cold, shiny screen of a TV, a monitor, or a smartphone; just like those you find on walls, desks and in the palm of every hand.
Each episode of Black Mirror is a standalone story, and can be delved into at any point without having missed part of the story. This approach was intentional by Brooker, who wanted the show to stand out against other dramas and shows in circulation.
This anthology style means that each episode is completely different, and so holds the viewers interest. If one episode is not to your taste, you can skip it without fear of missing an important story line. The episodes vary form fast paced action stories to others which have a more reflective narrative.
Despite only being an hour long each, the stories are still rich in detail and backstories are generally well established. A good mix of the dark and synister with the more satirical and light means is a winning formula that kept me hooked throughout all four seasons.
The maiden episode makes for uncomfortable watching, and throughout all four seasons the audience are taken on a rollercoaster ride through a world where nothing is as it seems. Throughout each episode the viewer is forced to question their own actions and how their morals would align with this dystopian world. Many stories are set in the near future, making them seem very real and possible. Often the viewer is left wondering how they would react.
Have you ever considered life from the perspective of a clone? Would you track your child? Would you take the opportunity to filter real life experiences, or block real people from interacting with you? Would you replace a loved one with an artificial version, or allow another being to live inside your consciousness? All these questions and more are posed by this groundbreaking show.
Despite the creators showing an interest in creating further seasons of Black Mirror, so far there has been no announcement of a fifth season. The next offering for fans of the TV show is a book of stories set in the Black Mirror world, which is being released on the 20th February.
You can catch up with all four seasons of Black Mirror right now on Netflix.