Black Mirror was bold. You can’t categorise the three part series under any genre specifically as it was more straightforward comment about the state of the world. You might watch the daily news while commenting that wars aren’t ideal, but the reality is you’re more occupied with eating the lightly toasted bruschetta you have in your hand without getting any crumbs on the floor. Whereas it only took the first episode of Black Mirror entitled The National Anthem to have us take five minutes out of our digitally obsessed lives thinking “He’s right, the world really is absolutely fucked, and we’re all responsible”.
Fifteen Million Merits, the second episode brought about a similar response, but instead of being targeted as a mob where blame is not specific, we were left in that horrible place where you begin to question yourself. Looking into the future run by ourselves pedaling to provide energy for the world in return for merits, which buy us the privilege for things such as the liberty to switch porn off the telly, the episode was chillingly believable. This wasn’t due to the quality of production or the original idea, but was almost entirely down to Charlie Brooker’s writing.
…is anyone really different?
Without a formal introduction to the world dominated by an X Factor type contest we were forced to accept it as it was and with it being so easy to relate to the characters, it was inevitable we would draw parallels to our own lives. I think most of us daydream about having that Bridget Jones “I’d rather have a job wiping Saddam Hussein’s arse” moment ourselves, because we like to believe we’re different. But is anyone really different?
Fifteen Million Merits chose a character with beliefs so strong against the establishment he was prepared to stab himself in the neck to say his piece, but in the face of opportunity, he sells out. Because that’s what we do isn’t it? We get jobs where we have to compromise ourselves to get through, we’re forced to strive to become someone else’s brand and we forget who we are. All for the security of knowing we have somewhere to sleep, something to eat and enough money to do the things we’ll never have time to do.
Black Mirror was high impact TV…
After watching the third episode titled The Entire History of You, something felt wrong – it just didn’t fit. It was being told a story in an hour when it could have been told in five minutes and the characters weren’t likeable. Why? Well all became clear when the credits rolled. Brooker had taken a back seat and acted as Executive Producer while handing over the writing to Jesse Armstrong, co-creator of Peep Show and Fresh Meat. Credible shows in themselves but, he isn’t Charlie Brooker.
Black Mirror was high impact TV; it will be remembered for a long time, with Brooker being the George Orwell to the digital 1984. If you haven’t seen it, watch it. It’s unnerving, and exactly what we need when mindless TV is taking over the airways.
Image courtesy of Black Mirror