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Black Mirror - (The Modern Twilight Zone)

Discussion in 'Entertainment and Technology' started by Clay, Oct 27, 2016.

  1. Clay

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    Black Mirror is a British television anthology series created by Charlie Brooker that features speculative fiction with dark and sometimes satirical themes that examine modern society, particularly with regard to the unanticipated consequences of new technologies.

    I can't believe there's no thread for this yet! Black Mirror is probably one of the most unique and darkly horrifying shows out right now. Unlike most shows, which make you happy and excited or even angry and upset, Black Mirror will mainly leave you horrified.

    It's an anthology series that's connected only by one central theme: Technology. The name, Black Mirror, comes from the fact your phone, television screen or monitor, are all "Black Mirrors" when switched off. It has been described as the Twilight Zone for the modern age and it's not for the faint of heart. I'll give you a brief blurb of every episode so far and my opinions on them. But here is the most important part:

    You can watch these episodes in any order you like. None of them are connected. They're all completely different stories set in different realities and each episode tells a single story.

    And yes, it's on Netflix.

    EPISODE 1 SEASON 1 - The National Anthem
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    The Prime Minister of the United Kingdom is woken up in the early hours of the morning to a shocking dilemma. Princess Susannah, a much-loved member of the Royal Family, has been kidnapped. Appearing distraught in a hostage video she reveals the kidnappers one demand; the Prime Minister must have sexual intercourse with a pig on national television at 4pm, or the she will be executed.

    Despite being the first episode I'd actually suggest you don't watch this episode first. Unlike most other Black Mirror episodes this one takes place in "our world". It's a satire on the social and media frenzy surrounding things like this, complete with Twitter trends and Youtube views. It's hard to describe but most fans of Black Mirror will tell you not to start on this episode. It's a good episode, but it's just not the best one to start on to get the "feel" of Black Mirror and you'll appreciate it more if you go back to it after seeing others.

    EPISODE 2 SEASON 1 -Fifteen Million Merits
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    In this world, everyone must cycle on exercise bikes in order to power their surroundings and generate currency called Merits. Everyday activities are constantly interrupted by advertisements that cannot be skipped or ignored without financial penalty. The only way to escape this drudgery is to enter the 'Hot Shot' talent show and pray you can impress the judges..

    This episode is almost quintessential Black Mirror and like almost every episodes it's a dark satire on our world. I had skipped this episode for ages, thinking it didn't look that interesting, but having watched it recently I can say it's now one of my favourite episodes. This one will almost certainly horrify you.

    EPISODE 3 SEASON 3 - The Entire History of You
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    In this reality most people have a 'grain' implanted behind their ear that records everything they do, see, or hear. This allows memories to be played back either in front of the person's eyes or on a screen, a process known as a 're-do'.

    The incredibly useful technology in this episode is great. Something funny happen to you at work? You can just show it to all your friends later! Bump into someone you haven't seen in months but can't remember their name? Quickly scroll back and find the memory of them introducing themselves! This is the episode I usually suggest people watch first. It has an incredible piece of technology but shows the dark effects it can have on someone's life..

    A random piece of trivia: Robert Downey Jr. loved this episode so much that he bought the rights to make a film out of it.

    EPISODE 1 SEASON 2 - Be Right Back
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    Shortly after a young couple move in together the social media obsessed man is killed in a car crash. His grieving partner then discovers some computer software that allows her to.. "talk".. to him..

    An episode with a tragic start and some computer software that allows you to talk to someone who is already dead? Yep, this episode is Black Mirror at its finest. This is another great episode that gets progressively creepier as it goes along and is another great place to start watching. There's a sense of creepy unease throughout this episode so beware.

    EPISODE 2 SEASON 2 - White Bear
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    Waking up after a failed suicide attempt a young woman discovers she can't remember anything about her life. An ominous symbol is being broadcast on every screen, and she quickly discovers that something terrible has happened to the world..

    Horrifying. That's how you would describe this episode. Truly horrifying. Without a shadow of a doubt this is one of the darkest episodes of Black Mirror. Because of how dark this episode is I'd suggest not starting here because it will probably leave you feeling terrible. A really great episode, but my god will this episode stick with you.

    EPISODE 3 SEASON 2 - The Waldo Moment
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    A struggling comedian, who voices a popular animated blue bear named Waldo, finds himself mixing in politics when TV executives want Waldo to run for office..

    This episode is mainly a satire on politics and protest votes. Despite being a crude and rude animated cartoon bear, Waldo is incredibly popular with the public. This episode helps show what a farce someone like him can make of the political system. Despite this every series has a weak episode and this is probably the weakest episode of Black Mirror. Unfortunately, despite the fact it's bizarrely topical, I'd suggest skipping this one for a while.

    CHRISTMAS SPECIAL - White Christmas
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    In a remote snowy outpost, two work colleagues share a Christmas meal together and swap creepy tales of their earlier lives in the outside world..

    This is one of the best episode of Black Mirror and, because it's a special, it's slightly longer than every other one. It's a sort of 'Treehouse of Horror' episode, as multiple stories are told over the course of it. Despite being one of the best episodes I'd suggest you don't start here either. I's better to watch a few others first. But be warned; this episode is arguably as horrifying as White Bear.

    SEASON 3 EPISODE 1 - Nosedive
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    In a world where anyone can rate your popularity out of 5 stars, and your life is entirely controlled by how people evaluate you on social media, a woman is tries her best to keep her "score" high.

    Ever seen those people who document everything they do on social media? The people who take pictures of their food and post it to Instagram? Well, this episode is a dark reflection on all of that. In a world where all those interactions and the obsession behind them actually affects peoples lives. Despite that this is a good and, strangely, almost 'fun' episode of Black Mirror. It's still dark, of course, but it's nowhere near as horrifying as some of the other episodes.

    SEASON 3 EPISODE 2 - Playtest
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    A man leaves the house he lives in with his mother to travel around the world. After finding himself short on cash he signs up with a games company to playtest their revolutionary new gaming system..

    When I describe an episode as "horrifying" I tend to mean it leaves you feeling horrified, not that it's a "horror episode". But this one is different. This episode is a Black Mirror take on actual horror. This is a great and incrediby dark episode. Definitely one to watch when it's dark and you're alone.

    SEASON 3 EPISODE 3 - Shut Up and Dance
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    After having malware installed on his computer, 19-year-old Kenny has his webcam hacked and is recorded masturbating. After showing him the video, the hacker blackmails Kenny into following his instructions..

    You'll probably need a lie down after this episode. It's arguably one of the best; right up there with White Bear and White Christmas. A dark episode from start to finish that'll make you want to put a sticker over your webcam. This episode will probably stick with you for a while.

    SEASON 3 EPISODE 4 - San Junipero
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    In 1987 two young women, the shy socially awkward Yorkie and the vivacious party girl Kelly, meet each other on a night out in San Junipero.

    Two young women meeting each other? Yep, as you probably already guessed, this is an LGBT episode. Some episodes of Black Mirror make you uneasy, some episodes scare you, some might even make you laugh. But San Junipero? This is an episode that might make you cry. I suspect, because of the beautifully done LGBT themes, it'll probably have a lot of fans here. And I have to admit this is one of my favourite episodes too.

    SEASON 3 EPISODE 5 - Men Against Fire
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    A team of soldiers must protect frightened villagers from an infestation of vicious feral mutants.

    I'm going to have to be honest with you here; I haven't seen episode 5 or 6 yet. Season 3 only arrived on Netflix a few days ago and I've been getting through them when I find the time. Black Mirror isn't a show you can binge watch; you can only watch one or two episodes a day before you feel like you need to 'recover'. I'll edit this part after I watch them but until then? Well, unfortunately, I can't tell you anything about these two episodes. Sorry!

    SEASON 3 EPISODE 6 - Hated in the Nation
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    In near-future London, a police detective and her tech-savvy sidekick Blue investigate a string of mysterious deaths with a sinister link to social media..

    And yeah again I'm sorry to say I haven't seen this one yet. I'll edit this part after I watch it too, so until then sorry about this!

    -------------------------------------------

    Anyway there's every episode of Black Mirror. Like I said earlier you can watch them in any order you want. I'd love to hear everyone else's opinion on it, this is easily one of my favourite shows and I'd love to see people talking about it or experiencing it for the first time. It'd be great if we could use spoiler tags when talking about the episodes but uh yeah I don't really know how to end this post so.. thanks for reading I guess.
     
  2. SilverLining120

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    One of he best shows of this century... even though it leaves me feeling depressed at the end of every episode. Honestly is as good as Game of Thrones. Shame it doesn't get as much recognition as it should. Imo the best episode is The Entire History of You, followed by Nosedive or San Junipero
     
  3. Some Dude

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    It's really good, although I've only seen white bear and nosedive
     
  4. Anthemic

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    I just finished watching the episode, Be Right Back. That episode was so brilliant, yet sick. I don't know whether to cry or throw my computer on the floor. It broke my heart to watch, yet it proves such an amazing point. I don't cry much, but right now my jaw aches from trying to hold back the tears.
     
  5. Clay

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    Glad people are watching this now. Felt like I was going mad seeing almost no one replying in this thread despite it being such a popular show.
     
  6. ghostly

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    I really like this show! I've watched all of the episodes, though some of them have left me feeling physically sick afterwards haha. My favorite one is probably Hated in the Nation.
     
  7. Anthemic

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    Haha, I see what you mean. So far, I've seen Be Right Back, The National Anthem, and The Waldo Moment. Each of those were actually kinda sad, but Be Right Back hit a personal spot in me. This show deserves an award.
     
  8. Clay

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    The Waldo Moment is almost universally agreed to be the worst episode. The National Anthem is pretty polarising too, it's usually rated in the lower half.

    So basically, the only way is up for you now.
     
  9. Anthemic

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    Wow, the fact that they're rated as the worst, and considering how much I actually liked these episodes, is pretty exciting. XD

    I just finished watching 15 Million Merits. Gosh, that episode was depressing. It makes me want to walk outside and enjoy nature and the real world. Watching that episode really makes me appreciate all the simple things in life because I would be miserable living the life of those people...

    I'm about to watch Hated in the Nation. :thumbsup:
     
  10. Browncoat

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    Granted I've only watched the first 4 episodes, but I'm getting very annoyed with the social media focus. It is well made, but their obsession with that aspect is holding it back, imo.
     
  11. Browncoat

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    Ok, I will fully admit that "White Christmas" is complete and utter genius... Bravo.
     
  12. purplewolf6

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    Dude I literally just got back from watching Twilight Zone I love that show! Not to say Black Mirror isn't also great but I'll give it a try. Thanks.
     
  13. AndPeggy

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    I have only seen the episode San Junipero because my friend forced me to watch it and I gotta say it's one of the best and most memorable things (in the LGBTQ spectrum) I've watched since Hayley Kiyoko's "Girls like Girls". It's going in the record book to say the least xD Based on everyone's comments it's about the only episode that ends happily in Black Mirror, but personally I'm kinda troubled by Kelly's decision at the end ://///
     
  14. iliketolift1

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    My two fave episodes would have to be Shut Up and Dance and San Junipero. Shut Up and Dance was just so interesting and really made me think about how a far a person would go to clear their name, it was also just a really fucked up episode. San Junipero however raised so many questions about human existence for me and really made me think about what it means to be a human being. I mean can you really say Yorkie and Kelly are in San Junipero or is it just a copy of them. If you can simulate consciousness 100% accurately when does the simulation itself become conscious? And if what makes us us is just millions of electrical neurons traveling through our brain does it really matter what holds those neurons whether it be plastic or flesh? Im not joking that episode keeps me up a night. Question for all you guys. If technology like in San Junipero existed would you use it or choose to die and not be uploaded like Richard? I personally would upload my self into SJ as eternal life sounds great. But then again this life would seems kinda meaningless. Perhaps unless we die we've never truly lived. What are your thoughts?
     
  15. AndPeggy

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    It depends on how my life goes. If I have people I love in San Junipero then yes I would definitely go! But if I'm like Kelly and everyone I love is gone and not in the sim I would probably choose not to go. It still bugs me that she chose to go to San Junipero?? Like I don't really agree with her reasoning :///////
     
  16. iliketolift1

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    Well I guess since she didnt believe in heaven or any sort of afterlife San Junipero was the obvious choice for her. Perhaps having herself buried with Richard and Alison was enough for Kelly to feel connected to them forever. I like to think that her and Yorkie could build something in San Junipero like she had with Richard together. Idk, I think they are cute together and Yorkie truly loves Kelly.
     
  17. meistro

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    i'll definitely have to watch this, I like the twilight zone, still watch it every now and then. I like the ones that leave you with that eerie feeling
     
  18. Libertino

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    This. show.

    I love it. I agree that some of the obsession with social media as a plot element is not the show's strongest point, but overall it's doing something new and I applaud it for that. Any show that actually makes me think is worthy of praise.

    "Playtest" and "White Bear" were my two favorite episodes.
     
  19. Stride

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    I found it either boring or unoriginal.
     
  20. tranonymous

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    I've heard lots of good stuff about this show, but I haven't gotten around to watching it yet.
    Just reading over your summary of the episodes, some of them sound really interesting.