Have you ever felt the crushing weight of that endless quest for existential reassurance that we matter? Have you ever felt like everything you ever do online is to gain validation from family, friends, and even strangers too?
Good, because Charlie Brooker’s sideways look at the world – and our own neuroses – is going on to its fourth season. Yep, Black Mirror is back and even darker than ever. Season 4, with its obsidian humour, now has a bigger budget and a wider scope on the world – far beyond that of its predecessors… This time, children could possibly be the new subjects. Needless to say, the anticipation for Black Mirror’s return is pretty high.
If you haven’t already gotten on board, here are five reasons why you should watch Black Mirror.
1. It shows the dark side of technology
If you’ve never watched it, much less known about it, Black Mirror is a must-watch dystopian dreamboat. It’s interesting in its examination of technology, our addiction to it, and where it could all lead us. If you have any interest in that, or generally just like scaring yourselves for no good reason, then this Netflix show is definitely for you.
Brooker commented that, “If technology is a drug – and it does feel like a drug – then what, precisely, are the side effects?” Each episode explores a different facet of the rapidly changing face of the tech world: the future of warfare, our obsession with social media identities, and who might be looking through our webcams.
2. It has real world application
Not every episode of “Black Mirror” explores a brand-new dystopia-creating technology; some take existing technology and apply it in disquieting ways.
In the pilot episode, terrorists threaten to kill a hostage unless the British prime minister has sexual intercourse with a pig on national television. The scary thing is, it also may have actually happened, if the stories about former PM David Cameron’s university antics are true…
The show’s content is scarily close to the present and most things don’t seem too far off. It does an excellent job of taking today’s phenomena and putting it all under the microscope, coming across as a bit like the Twilight Zone for the modern day. It is packed to the brim with resonant observations and largely unsubtle warnings.
Season 3’s “Playtest” episode, for example, asks us existential questions about what it means to be human and chews on issues like the morality of virtual reality (VR). The episode’s protagonist, Cooper, tests a video game with a VR headset. It is so advanced, it’s terrifying. And yet, it isn’t as far in the future as we think it is…
3. It could possibly be our reality
Black Mirror is anything but bleak, filled with terrifying and disturbing stories. But what’s even more unsettling is how Brooker’s show has become a forecast for actual real-world events and upcoming technologies in the making.
In NoseDive – first episode of season 3 – is a heightened satire set in a world where every individual is defined by a rating/number. The protagonist is status obsessed, her desperation to bring up her rating soon turns into a soul-sucking nightmare. This plot doesn’t seem too far off because of our world’s current obsession with ratings.
4. Things get cinematically interesting
Charlie Brooker commented that Season 3’s San Junipero came about because he was wondering if they could ever do a vintage episode of Black Mirror, one that’s not set in the present day.
This episode is hard sci-fi with heart and an example of the bigger and more cinematic tone of Black Mirror Season 3. If it were a film, it would almost certainly be a Best Picture contender. Set in late-’80s California, it is visually stunning, and it makes us sentimental about life and love.
It’s a huge departure from Black Mirror’s usual tone – that is, dark, creepy and and incredibly suspenseful.
5. It’s a wake up call
Every episode of “Black Mirror” presents us with a fresh twist on our reality, a new troubling conundrum that may, or may not be solved by the time the credits roll. There’s no show that better proves why we should remain in the moment and keep ourselves grounded with pure, genuine relationships; instead of dipping deep into a world of false realities. Let’s be thankful that the world (hasn’t) turned this crazy yet.
Season 4, which is already in production, is set to have 12 new episodes and is set to premiere sometime this year. Now we can all merrily watch ourselves into a state of hopeless depression and scaring ourselves for no good reason. Joy! Just try not to binge watch, it gets kind of depressing.