Recently, a number of new television shows have captivated many young people (myself included) across America. However, one of the shows in particular has taken a unique perspective on aspects of the 21st century and completely shifted how we view society: Black Mirror.
Black Mirror is an anthology series set in a futuristic world where technology is the key to society’s ability to function. The series takes a unique approach to the definition of a “series” itself, as each episode has a completely different plot with an entirely new cast.
The series, which originally started in the UK in 2011, recently picked up increased recognition with its arrival on Netflix in 2015 and the recent release of a highly-anticipated fourth season. In addition, the integration of popular American stars to its episodes, such as Jessie Plemons (Breaking Bad), Jon Hamm, Kirsten Dunst, Bryce Dallas Howard (The Help), Michael Kelly (House of Cards), and Oscar-winning director and comedian Jordan Peele have helped elevate the show and bring a new sense of fame to the futuristic series.
One of the most cringeworthy aspects of the show is that the technology each episode is fixated on is usually a slightly more “advanced” version of some of the tech we use every day. Take, for example, the episode “Arkangel”. The episode focuses on a mother worried about the safety of her daughter. She signs her child up for a clinical trial of Arkangel, a new type of technology that allows the mother to see and hear everything her daughter does… and control it. While initially Arkangel seems like a great way to protect her daughter from the dangers of the world, the audience realizes the dark side of the mother’s ability to control her daughter’s emotions. Consequently, the daughter grows up pleasantly and dangerously unaware of bad things in the world.
The writers of Black Mirror present practices we take for granted, like watching babies on a baby monitor, and then shift them in a way that is borderline between realistic and unbelievable, leaving audiences to feel uneasy. This underlying theme makes sense, as Black Mirror writer Charlie Booker was heavily influenced by the classic show Twilight Zone, which subtly tied in metaphors of social and political issues during the time. The “black mirror” itself that gives the show its name is actually a metaphor for phone and computer screens when they’re at rest, giving the series an even more ominous tone.
Black Mirror’s ability to balance satirical and pessimistic themes allows it to be successful. In fact, as a result of the incredible feedback that resulted from season four, Netflix just announced in early March that they would be bringing back the series for a fifth season. While there is no set premiere date or episode count yet, one thing is for sure: Black Mirror isn’t going anywhere anytime soon, and the United States and UK combined are thrilled.
If you haven’t seen Black Mirror yet, we highly suggest you call in sick and have a good ole-fashioned binge session. Seen it already? Let us know your thoughts and Share Your Story.
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