Black Mirror

Is anyone else as crazy about the Netflix TV show Black Mirror as I am? With so many amazing directors, producers, actors and actresses in the show, I feel it is only right to showcase my appreciation for my top 5 favorite episodes. Each episode provides a critique or foreshadowing of what is to come due to the rising importance of technology in our society.

1. The Entire History of You (S1:E3) (2011) 

The Entire History of You seems too good to be true. This episode also shattered my heart. The idea that an implant is placed behind your ear under the skin and records all things you see, hear, touch, taste and smell and can be played back for viewing at any time sounds like it could be used to hold people accountable, never forget anything, relive experiences, etc. These implanted chips do not allow people to live in the present or think of the future, but emphasize the opportunities to look back at the past. I think we can all agree that you can’t move forward until you start to let go of the past. This episode is just a foreshadowing of the dangers of the world we live in today; everything is documented by selfies, smartphone cameras, drones, traffic cameras, etc. (Anyone else thinking of the Chinese social credit system, perhaps?) Eventually, the world we live in will never have any privacy again.

Directed by Brian Welsh; starring Jodie Whittaker (Fi), Toby Kebbell (Liam) and Tom Cullen (Jonas).

2. White Bear (S2:E2) (2013) 

White Bear will leave you shaking in your seats. I cannot recall the last time I was this shocked by the ending of a story in my entire life. This episode is a powerful critic of the broken criminal justice system and its potential future. The concept of a criminal justice system rooted in the entertainment industry is beyond comprehension. Just imagine: someone commits a crime, you can pay money to take part in the mental torture of this criminal that occurs on a daily basis as a regular citizen and every night that criminal’s memory is swiped clean so the very same thing can happen the next day. Profound examination.

Directed by Carl Tibbetts; starring Lenora Crichlow (Victoria Skillane), Michael Smiley (Baxter) and Tuppence Middleton (Jem).

3. Shut Up and Dance (S3:E3) (2016) 

While this episode makes me so uncomfortable it isn’t even something to joke about, I think there is an important lesson to be learned. This episode is a dark look into the true world of cyber blackmail. I think this episode is important because this could actually happen. While a lot of Black Mirror episodes seem so far out that they could never become reality, this one seems pretty realistic. Online safety is so important, especially in today’s climate. It also illustrates that, no matter your age, everyone suffers the consequences of their actions online.

Directed by James Watkins; starring Alex Lawther (Kenny) and Jerome Flynn (Hector).

4. Metalhead (S4:E5) (2017) 

Metalhead is nothing short of a classic masterpiece. Filmed in black and white with muffled audio, this episode is reminiscent of the Twilight Zone and classics of the horror genre. If you dislike this episode, I think you might have misunderstood it. Other than the pure adrenaline of this single woman trying to conquer these “dogs”, this episode explores a world in which the technology we design may eventually become more powerful and intelligent than us. Superintelligence, anyone? 

Directed by David Slade; starring Maxine Peake (Bella), Jake Davies (Clarke) and Clint Dyer (Anthony).

5. Men Against Fire (S3:E5) (2016) 

Men Against Fire is a realistic look at the effects of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). This is such a raw look into the ruthlessness of war, wartime propaganda and systematic control. It illustrates the impact of brainwashing citizens into thinking that those that do not look like you are not worthy of life has on society. This episode is incredible powerful, and I believe everyone should watch it just to develop their own interpretation.

Directed by Jakob Verbruggen; starring Malachi Kirby (Stripe), Madeline Brewer (Raiman) and Ariane Labed (Catarina).

4 Comments Add yours

  1. Kirsty T says:

    Interesting choices. Personally, Metalhead was my least favourite of them all. Have you watched Bandersnatch yet? What did you think?

    If you’re interested, here’s my top ten episodes 🙂 https://lovepopcorn.home.blog/2018/12/28/top-ten-black-mirror/

    Like

    1. Hi, Kirsty!

      I am always interested to know what people think about Metalhead. I would love to hear your thoughts about why you disliked it if you don’t mind sharing with me!

      Bandersnatch was great, I thought. I am lucky enough to have completed all paths of the interactive special. Truly unlike any other film experience I have had before. Have you seen it yet? I would love to hear your thoughts!

      Looking forward to following your blog and continuing to interact with you!

      Best,
      Carolyn Smith

      Like

      1. Kirsty T says:

        Ooh, now you’re putting me on the spot 🙂
        It’s been so long since I’ve watched it but I just remember being quite bored throughout, although I loved the black & white.
        Strange, I know, but I felt as though Metalhead was too unrealistic. Most of the other episodes had technologies/themes that we can see in today’s society or in the very near future, and that terrifies me!
        However, reading your review of Metalhead makes me think I should give it another go.

        I have seen Bandersnatch. I loved the uniqueness of the concept and the impact that our choices can have. However, I hate being put on the spot and the possibility of being wrong. I like time to think about my choices 🙂 Therefore, I could not truly enjoy the episode as I was in a constant state of anxiety :).

        Sorry for the long reply.

        Like

      2. Kristy,

        I do agree with you that Metalhead was a very unrealistic episode, but if you do decide to give it one more chance, please let me know!

        I understand your feelings surrounding Bandersnatch. At first, I felt the same way. It was high anxiety!

        Best,
        Carolyn Smith

        Liked by 1 person

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