Movies You Missed: ‘Black Mirror’

Margot Harrison over on Seven Days has a special edition of Movies You Missed, looking not at a movie, but television show Black Mirror. The Channel 4 show in the UK is possibly some of the best speculative fiction I’ve ever seen. It’s deeply satirical, very dark, and thought provoking.

In our year-end film wrap-up, I noted my dislike for films with curmudgeon characters who grouse about the internet and social media. (That goes for TV, too, Aaron Sorkin!) That doesn’t mean I don’t believe in questioning and satirizing internet culture. Far from it. I just think the critique needs to be done by people who understand the appeal of that culture in the first place, people who can get at it from the inside.

“Black Mirror” is powerful because its creators understand why people enjoy virtual reality. Technology isn’t the villain in this series, as the title indicates. Our many screens stay black until we program them to mirror back our own desires and fears. That’s when things can get out of control.

So far, not one episode has featured an independently malign artificial intelligence (e.g., Skynet). The emphasis is always on the human creator or user.

Read the reset of her thoughts here.

I’ll second everything she said: this was something I’ve heard a bit about over the last couple of years, and now that it’s on Netflix, it’s readily accessible. This isn’t a show that I’d recommend binging though: it’s something better to watch one at a time, with plenty of time to digest what you’ve seen.