Charlie Barber looks at Charlie Brooker’s hit show ‘Black Mirror’, that has just returned for a third series on Netflix – *minor spoilers alert*
If you haven’t come across Black Mirror, let me summarise. Every episode is a stand-alone short story set in a world which is similar to our own. They each focus on certain aspects which we may consider insignificant; however, hidden below is a brooding reflection on society and the possible dangers of media and technology. Here are three key reasons why the show is worth watching.
1. Variety within episodes
I was only introduced to this show a fortnight ago. I was sat at a friend’s house and everybody started raving to me about this ‘dark, dystopian series of short films’, so naturally, I went home and got straight into the process of the infamous binge-watch. One thing I couldn’t have expected, was how contrasting each episode would be. They all have completely different casts, settings and plot lines, as well as unique and original theories about the growth of technology and how it could effect the world in which we live.
2. Makes you question your own morals
There are a few episodes of ‘Black Mirror’ where Brooker focuses on morality and the treatment of criminals. Two episodes particularly highlight this: series two’s ‘White Bear’ and series three’s ‘Shut Up and Dance’. Both of these plot lines follow lawbreakers taking brutal and borderline barbaric treatment. Whilst watching, Brooker makes you empathise with these characters as if you had gone through the same trauma.
In the classic Charlie Brooker style, the final acts involve incredible twists which ‘justify’ the reasons for the barbaric treatment of the protagonist you have grown to like. I found that this seriously made me question my own morals and beliefs because the characters are criminals and technically deserve punishment. It is hard to decide on whether you agree with the severity of the punishment. Let’s just say if you watched these episodes with your mates, you’d have enough discussion to fill the next hour.
3. Brooker himself
Charlie Brooker is arguably one of the most original screenwriters in modern television. Even the title of the series is a representation of the writer’s views on society – humanity has looked in the mirror and its reflection is cruel and bleak. When you Google ‘the colour black’, it refers to a sense of mystery and the unknown, as well as fear.
In my opinion, this perfectly sums up the message that Brooker is trying to portray. We can never know for sure what the future holds, hence why there are 13 potential futures that are portrayed to us within the three series. In terms of fear, I believe that Brooker is uncomfortable with where technology is going and is warning us that our world may not be the way we like it for too much longer.