Thursday, February 26, 2015

Black Mirror

     Black Mirror is terrifying. Not in a slasher movie or even Psycho kind of way, but in a very hyper reality sort of way. The show has brought on comparisons from fans and critics alike to the Twilight Zone. The reasoning is justified, Black Mirror, is a sci-fi anthology series, much like Twilight Zone, in which each episode has a different conflict, different characters and actors, different worlds, and a different tone. 

     Created by Charlie Booker, a British satirist and broadcaster, the show aired on Britain's Channel 4. The cast includes many popular British actors. Popularity in the US increased when the series was placed on Netflix. The shows main theme is how technology is shaping the not so distant future. While the technology is different in every episode its still the driving force behind the characters and their motivations. The third episode, "Be Right Back" was picked up by Robert Downey Jr. to produce.           

                                                                            There are currently six episodes, three each for two seasons, and a third season in production. The plots include: a man who rides a bike for points and spends those points on an avatar, a society in which the chips in people's brains record everything they see and allow for playback, a comedian who uses an electronic bear to run for political office.                                                                                                         

    The production quality is phenomenal. The worlds, which are so unique and distant, feel familiar and tangible. The lighting, in "Fifteen Million Merits" puts the viewer inside the glass rooms which the characters live. The walls are all LED displays and the lighting work that goes into this affect is astonishing. "Fifteen Million Merits" is the most dystopic setting and yet still strikes a visual nerve that is believable.

     Why the show is so terrifying, so gut wrenchingly horrible, is that each episode plays with our expectations and rooting interests. They establish the world, get the viewer comfortable as the characters are, and the shake the world violently. Often we are rooting for immoral actions but they are the best possible result in this strange dystopic future we've found ourselves. 

    It's believable. That's the scary part. It's so real. Each episode could happen; you can see it. The moral implications and the themes leave you silent at the end. Plot twists aside it's scary what humans can do to each other. It's even more horrifying when we look at the technology that the worlds use are not that far off. The camera angles tell the story, the colors tell the story, the extras are perfectly in sync.

        We are going crazy with the characters because of the production and the writing and the acting. It's a show that has accomplished and exceeded all it set out to achieve. It's truly a modern anthology.


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