In this column, Man of Many takes a look back at a great TV show or film that may have slipped under your radar. Given the near-limitless entertainment options in the Netflix era, it’s easy to overlook amazing content in favour of the latest hit. For every Game of Thrones, Breaking Bad or Stranger Things, there’s another thing equally worthy of attention and we make the case for why you should watch it and where you can find it.
We’re so out of our minds with desperation we don’t know any better. All we know is fake fodder and buying shit. That’s how we speak to each other, how we express ourselves is buying shit. – Bing, ‘Black Mirror’
Created by Charlie Brooker, the acerbic journalist-turned-screenwriter known for his aggressively satirical output, ‘Black Mirror’ delivers consistently original cultural and social analysis in the form of a near-future speculative fiction anthology series.
Featuring a diverse and ever-changing cast of respected British screen actors and the odd international guest star, such as Jon Hamm in the 2014 Christmas Special, ‘Black Mirror’ delivers uniquely-focused television in the vein of ‘The Twilight Zone’.
It premiered on Channel Four in the UK in 2011 with what, if recent political rumours are to be believed, proved an amazingly prescient first episode involving the British Prime Minister and a pig. From there it has turned its thematic gaze to the media and the justice system, as well as our ideas on memory, death and loss. To go into any more detail would detract from the experience of watching ‘Black Mirror’, as the show triumphs as a collection of genuinely engaging and oftentimes shocking stories.
Like any great science fiction, ‘Black Mirror’ uses its technological twists as a means by which to examine the human psyche. The title refers to the dark, reflective surfaces of the devices that adorn, and increasingly dominate, our lives – the smartphones, TVs and computer screens through which we may catch a true glimpse of our own tenuous existence.
As technology exponentially revolutionises our methods of communication, it alters our relationship to both ourselves and each other. ‘Black Mirror’ exposes the potential dangers of this process, offering a startling perceptive on the darker sides of virtual reality, social media and reality TV and how they threaten to undermine our social and personal relationships.
The show has met with near-unanimous critical acclaim in the UK and elsewhere. Such is its success that Netflix bid $US40million for the rights earlier this year, exposing it to a larger global audience. Netflix have also commissioned a further 12 episodes for release later this month and sometime next year.
‘Black Mirror’ is available on Netflix and Season 3 will be available for streaming from October 21.