‘Black Mirror’ Depicts Horrors of Technology
As new technologies arise, science fiction exploits the wariness consumers have about their reliability and future impact.
These doubts, though understandable, are often misguided.
Science fiction storytellers take aim at such subjects as artificial intelligence, cloning and future warfare.
These takes come with mixed results, often showing a very narrow understanding of the technologies with which they attempt to grapple.
But perhaps never in the history of science fiction has a work understood the terrifying implications of society’s dependence on technology quite as well as “Black Mirror.”
Charlie Brooker’s scathing anthology deals with the subject of how technology warps the world around us with startling clarity.
“Black Mirror,” which started its life on BBC before moving to Netflix in 2016, feels as profound as “The Twilight Zone” must have felt in the 1960s.
It delves into subjects as lofty as media fearmongering, human nature, loss, deceit and corporal punishment.
Not once did it seem hackneyed or reactionary. Instead, its warnings feel new, dire and most importantly, urgent.
However, that is not to say that it’s preachy or boring.
On the contrary, “Black Mirror” is at various times witty, heartbreaking, suspenseful and impressively terrifying.
“Black Mirror” is just about the most terrifying show television has ever produced.
This terror can come from standard horror movies or thriller tropes in several episodes, but more often the terror comes from the accuracy of its prophecy.
From the very first episode, which deals with a politician being forced into an unimaginably grotesque situation by the tidal pull of social media, the show sets a precedent for biting indictments of the human race and its penchant for entertainment and distraction.
More specifically, the first episode grapples with a huge problem: how technology and the world of social media serves to make people leave their humanity behind by blurring the line between entertainment and reality.
If this sounds ridiculous or sermonizing, the show makes up for it by being made with incredible style and thoughtful writing.
The characters are never just talking points but regular people accepting the conveniences of modern technology.
And when they fall victim to it, it’s never because they’re stupid, but rather because, as it so often is in real life, the horrific implications of what they are giving up is not readily apparent.
Brooker, who is mostly known as a leading British comedy writer and TV personality, uses his keen eye for satire to create an impression that television has almost never been able to produce.
This show is alive with ideas and observations in a way that has been notably absent from sci-fi in recent years.
“Black Mirror” never just goes for shock value. Its business is a far graver one.
Brooker has something very tangible to say and clearly has a gift for saying it.
This is not a show that leaves the mind when the episode ends.
In fact, it would be hard to name a show that leaves a more concentrated feeling of dread and fear after the credits roll than this one.
It’d be fairly hard to name any work of art that accomplished its goals so deftly.
“Black Mirror” packs a punch.
It’s a thoughtful, scary and at times an emotional experience that remains constantly engrossing, even in its few weaker moments.
It is full of dire lessons and enough cutting observations to start any number of conversations.
It goes above and beyond the criteria seen in good shows.
This show has the distinct flavor of genius.
It’s an inescapably potent binge-watch that grabs the imagination and refuses to let go until it gets its point across.