‘Black Mirror’ Pioneers Surrealist Television

Created by Charlie Brooker, season three of “Black Mirror” is a new high, for not only the quality of programming on Netflix, but also in terms of the nuanced social commentary that makes the show so great. Unlike most shows on television, “Black Mirror’s” cast and story telling structure change with each episode. This makes sure that each episode is fresh with new settings, character dynamics, and most importantly ideas. The closest show that could be compared to “Black Mirror” would be the late fifties to early sixties show The Twilight Zone, not only due to its changing cast and episodes, but the social commentary of the way we live and think.

“Nose Dive:” The first episode starts the season extremely well. Directed by Joe Wright, written by Charlie Brooker, Rashida Jones, and Michael Schur, “Nose Dive” does not disappoint. In a world where everybody has a rating based off of how they act, this creates a somewhat humorous and somewhat uncomfortable feeling while watching. This episode states how we use social media to judge people, as well as the facade that people make to be accepted. In contrast to the next two episodes, “Nose Dive” is less grounded to reality and in terms of aesthetics it is very appealing.

“Playtest”: Written by Charlie Brooker and directed by Dan Trachtenberg, “Playtest” is definitely one of the scariest episode that I remember seeing in all three seasons of the show. It’s essentially where a semi-unlikable guy plays a virtual reality game and things take a turn for the worst.

“Shut Up and Dance”: Out of all of the episodes of Black Mirror, “Shut Up and Dance” is by far the most suspenseful. The episode is full of twist and turns and a plot that will leave you without words.  You feel bad for the main character up until the very end. This is due to personal information being taken by a hacker and the only way for him to get it is to perform a multitude of tasks. From there you don’t know where the plot goes, then all of a sudden it hits you like a brick wall.Image result for black mirror

“San Junipero”: This is one of the most emotional episodes in the season and this time it actually has a relatively nice ending. Although “San Junipero” has less tension, its overall tone is that of mortality and the complexity of the human psyche. “San Junipero” takes place throughout different periods, but the location stays the same. It is marketed as a place where you can do whatever your want, which is what makes the episode so great.

“Men Against Fire”: Directed by Jakob Verbruggen and written by Charlie Brooker, this shows the consequences of high tech warfare, the shows overall twist is pretty easy to identify at the beginning of the story. But although you can see the plot from a mile away, it still has a message that can be told through non-conventional means.

“Hated in the Nation”: “Hated in the Nation” is essentially a murder mystery turned global crisis. It also demonstrates the dangers of social media, the dangers of technology, and the lack of punishment that comes with harassment on social media.




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