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Review: Black Mirror - Channel Four

Posted by Weeping Tudor from Cardiff - Published on 05/03/2013 at 16:16
0 comments » - Tagged as Culture, Movies, Technology, Topical

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Charlie Brooker returns with a second season of Black Mirror. I would go as far to say that it's been one of the best shows on television in recent years. I would describe it as The Twilight Zone, with a touch of Tales of the Unexpected, for the YouTube generation. It's just fantastic viewing.

I've yet to watch the first season, but if it's as good as the second, it will be great viewing. Each of the three episodes are their own separate story. Any of these could have easily been drawn out to two hours, but each episode is a mere forty-five minutes. Just about right. 

As expected with Brooker's mentality and if you have ever watched his hilarious Screen Wipe, each episode looks at modern life with very cynical eyes. They also seem to be set in the future. But the future of the next few years. So it's not out of grasp for us to follow. The sad fact is any of these stories could quite easily occur or even be planned if not today, then the foreseeable future. 

The first episode, entitled Be Right Back, deals with Martha, a women grieving after loosing her partner the Irishman Ash (we never know exactly how he died). She is informed of a new way of still being able to contact him, via the Internet. His back catalogue of everything he had ever said or done on the Internet is recorded in a giant hub. She is applauded at first, yet gradually finds herself engrossed in it. She then goes on to get 'emails' and 'phone calls' from him. But there is a next level...

I do wonder how many people would actually consider this if they were grieving. Technology can destroy more than you'd expect. Is it morally corrupt or just a way of preventing people from letting go? Would you want a simulation of yourself created after you have died? 

The next episode, called White Bear focuses on Victoria. She awakes with amnesia and finds that everywhere she goes, she is ignored, yet filmed by passers by with their mobile phones. She has recollections of her daughter. Who can she trust? Why is there such attention on her?

I would say that this was the strongest episode in the season. The tension throughout is stellar. It is on the edge of your seat viewing. You really care for her, even if you know her story will be over within an hours viewing. The twist at the end is very provocative and certainly had me questioning my own beliefs on decency and morality. If you watch only one episode of Black Mirror, make it this. 

The last episode, The Waldo Moment, sees Jamie, a failed comedian, preform as a blue bear on a screen via live performance CGI. He bizarrely get embroiled in the elections and becomes so popular he can be voted as a party, even though he has no political views. The cult of Waldo is too much for Jamie and he bails out. But for Waldo, it is only just beginning. 

The story here is quite silly and Waldo's animation certainly needed more work on it. I would love this to happen in Britain today. We need something like this to rattle the cages of stuffy policies today. It is true that anything can happen in British politics. After all, the Monster Raving Loony Party are proof of this. 

A review of the first season should follow. But this is BAFTA potential and I hope it wins. How long till a third season?

I'm sure it's buffering...

Be Right Back Rating: 7/10
White Bear Rating: 8/10
The Waldo Moment Rating: 6/10
Entire Series Rating: 8/10

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IMAGE: Channel 4

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