Imagine a world with the highest ends of technology. A smarter future, if I must say, but with the same humanitarian values and politics that we follow today. How do you think the situation of our planet would be? Do you predict a change in our lifestyle or our values? Do you think it would be a bane or a boon?
Netflix’s Original show Black Mirror answers these questions in the most vague yet intriguing forms ever. This is a show, with four seasons so far. Focuses on the technological aspect and how ahead we have come and far off we can go with it. Although with this evolution, come great consequences. An anthology, works well for the show as there is a fresh perspective and new characters to read in every single episode without having to watch it in an orderly manner unlike the common show guidelines.
Black Mirror is a wonderful representation of humanity. No matter how far science takes us, our values as a human being hardly ever change. This show also takes a stance towards what is politically correct and incorrect. It is a beautiful portrayal of reality 50 or more years into the future.
The one unsettling aspect of this show stays that, after whatever is said and done in the episode’s storyline, the technology does not change and most of them en don an open note. It gives us the message that situations for a human don’t change no matter how advanced or backward we are, and the only way forward is to live with it or not.
A few episodes like Nosedive (S03E01) are set in a world where people can rate each other for every interaction they have, impacting their socioeconomic status. Lacie (Bryce Dallas Howard) is a young woman, in the said episode, overly obsessed with her ratings; she finds an opportunity to elevate her ratings greatly and move into a luxurious apartment after being chosen by her childhood friend (Alice Eve), who is relatively popular and has a much higher rating, as the maid of honour for her wedding. Her obsession leads to several mishaps on her journey to the wedding that culminate in a rapid reduction in her ratings. Stories like these make us wonder if social ratings are really that important to our current lives that it would lead to personal destruction.
Another such episode being Black Museum (S04E06) where it is presented as a series of three stories told by Rolo Haynes (Douglas Hodge), proprietor of the remote “Black Museum” to his solitary visitor Nish (Letitia Wright), all involving various exhibits related to cutting edge technological connections and transfers with the human brain that Rolo had developed in his scientific career. These exhibits have scarring stories behind each of them where advanced technology has messed up the livelihoods of all the characters.
There are ones with good endings too, like San Junipero (S03E4) where the episode is set in a beach resort town named San Junipero, where an introvert Yorkie (Mackenzie Davis) meets the more outgoing Kelly (Gugu Mbatha-Raw). The town is a simulated reality the elderly can inhabit, even after death. “San Junipero” was the first episode written for series three of Black Mirror; initial drafts were based on nostalgia therapy and designed as a 1980s period piece, featuring a heterosexual couple and an unhappy ending. Filming took place in London and Cape Town across a few weeks. The soundtrack interweaves 1980s songs with an original score by Clint Mansell.
A show like this is bound to make you crave for more. Certain things that capture one’s attention the most are:
- Aesthetics: The era that each episode is set in, has a particular vibe to it. The costumes and the backdrops provide justice to the time period that we’re viewing. All architectural builds or technological gadgets refer to the period in which the plot has been set. It is a wonderful depiction of art through time. For a show like this, where everything is set in the future, it is important that the viewer is also transported to the era they are in, and this is done majorly by the aesthetics of it.
- Genre: Being an anthology, the show follows several themes. Namely science fiction, dystopian, satire, psychological thriller and more. It focuses on the ups and downs in human life revolving around the progression of technology and science. It is set in a complete alternate universe where just a tinge of our reality exists. The theme is more of a mock to the human tendencies and behaviour towards certain situations.
- Background Score: The music in every episode is dark and eerie. It fits the perfect moment that is being portrayed. The viewer is forced to feel the edginess of the show via the score. They might not know what to expect but will definitely connect with the plot. It is the perfect fit for every passing moment.
- Performances: Black Mirror provides justice to authentic screenplay. All the actors play out their characters in the most real form and the casting seems to be on point. Having a different cast for each episode must be a tough one but it is done well. You know the performances are great when there is nothing on screen that resonates with the present reality and yet you are condemned to watch and yet crave for more. It is a marvellous art to watch.
The realistic part of this show is how diverse it actually is. It talks about love, politics, money, memories, etc. in the most authentic and raw forms. It is an extremely inclusive show which makes us love it even more. No filters and no inappropriacy. It is one of Netflix’s best originals!
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