Watching Netflix: Review of Black Mirror Series

What to Watch on Netflix

In an attempt to cut back on our entertainment costs, my husband and I have been watching Netflix since we got our Roku device. I don’t think we have saved anything, but it’s been great entertainment.  Whether we watch a movie or series, it’s helpful to me to analyze and see how it might improve my writing.

Our son and his girlfriend recommended a series like Twilight Zone called Black Mirror (TV Series 2011– ) – IMDb  To quote IMDd, it’s a “drama, an anthology series exploring a twisted, high-tech world where humanity’s greatest innovations and darkest instincts collide.”

Most of the episodes are scary because they are so reflective of our current digital lives, and because they are scary.

watching Netflix
Image From Charlie Brooker’s Black Mirror Miro Magazine Click picture to read the article.

Fifteen Million Merits

Fifteen Million Merits revolved around getting on the “treadmill” every day and earning life points.  Everyone wanted to escape the treadmill, of course, and become famous and make the big bucks. People earned points by watching porn and making bad choices in food. Their only social time was “at work” on the treadmill and when they ate. Even doing those activities, they still made choices from the screen in front of them. After work, they returned to their living cubicle. Noone communicated much with anyone else, and everyone was a spectator.

In most of the episodes, spectators or the threat of spectators are the main ingredients. Usually, someone fights for their life or sanity.  In some shows, people choose to live without the technology even at the cost of exclusion from mainstream society. Often, the viewers don’t know who the technology influencer or rule maker is. 

The Entire History of You

One hour-long spellbinder, The Entire History of You, featured the outside entity (government maybe) which implanted a chip behind a person’s ear which allowed them to rerun everything they saw as a video. They could project their videos for others to watch as “reality TV.”  At times, the protagonist reflected and rewound his images to prove a point or check a person’s body language for intent. Memories were dated as well. At a party, he saw his wife talking to another man. By zooming in on what they were saying,  and improving the voice quality, he could analyze the entire conversation without being part of it. Something felt off to him, and he pursued his theory. 

watching Netflix
Cristin Milioti. Photo: Netflix Click picture or link to read the post, but wait until you see the video!

USS Callister

Black Mirror created one episode, the USS Callister, as a spoof on the original Star Trek and Captain Kirk. Remember the outfits the women wore? Right away we know who made the rules for this game.  

The game’s inventor cloned his workmates, then played nasty tricks on the clones on his private copy of the game. The clones had an entirely different relationship with the inventor than the real people. The last girl cloned thought she devised a way to stop his portion of the game. 

This was one of the most watched of the Black Mirror series. USS. Callister (Don’t click until you watch it.) 

Black Mirror Is High Tech Meets Humanity and Spirituality

In most cases, it seems that a twisted technology guru or algorithm took the place of a merciful God. The results are disastrous to the wrongdoers, which we all recognized somewhere in the series as ourselves. 

The problem is that none of the characters know it until they are caught and can’t escape from the algorithmic consequences. It is so true to life and bizarre at the same time. By the end of each program, you realize you probably missed some clues along the way, so I recommend that you watch these with someone.

All of our technologies start out as worthwhile endeavors, but this series cautions humanity of the potential harm in trusting technology to the exclusion of, not only our consciences but also to a higher spiritual power.

A warning, they are often violent and all have some sexual content., but they will make you think.

Author Takeaway – Five Stars

As a fiction author, I am looking for a way to cut the superficial and reach a deeper level of thinking while still entertaining. This series does that even though it’s dark. It provides elements of surprise and keeps our brains guessing during the entire show.

We want things to go well for the protagonist, but the creator, Charlie Brooker, is brutal to the main character in every episode we’ve watched. Sometimes they come out winning and sometimes they don’t, but our hearts are with them no matter what horrible things they might have done in the beginning.

I’m reading “Wired for Story,” and this series hits every check off point for a successful novel. Well done.

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