I watched the fourth series of Black Mirror very recently. For our American and mentally impaired readers, note the use of the word series and not season, as I am referring to a television programme and not a time of year, or an attempt to make food taste edible. Americanisms are a very frustrating part of life, but with government shutdowns galore there is an ever increasing chance of a civil war, so hopefully we can take back the colonies and kick some sense into them.
I did not enjoy the latest series of Black Mirror. I had high hopes for this viewing experience as the previous episodes were very strong and also involved some prophetic elements. For those of you unaware please see David Cameron fucks a pig and angry gummy bear is a little less controversial than Trump. Having watched it, and read the mediocre reviews in this excuse of a paper I decided to do my own. In the comment section. Because fuck you.
The first episode was every neckbeard’s wet dream, trapping those that bully you in the outside world into some kind of hellish nightmare and tormenting them in perpetuity. The main reason I hated this episode was that it ended in a morally satisfying way, when in reality, that creepy engineer bloke would be committing every sex related crime that he could think of. By setting the whole thing as a “tasteful” universe, the writers deftly avoided the ethical issues surrounding nudity in VR and the terrifying position of possessing 3D nudes of someone from a DNA swab. The second episode was a little better. The concept of using a far fetched technology to be a far more controlling parent was interesting, but clearly the writers had never heard of the Turpin family. Who needs a high tech brain implant when you can just chain all your kids in a basement. So much cheaper.
The third episode was quite frankly ridiculous. Essentially it is driven by a device that allows an insurance saleswoman to view people’s memories to settle claims. That and a murderous psycopath that decides that killing everyone is the best way to minimise the disruption to her life as a successful architect. Quite frankly I see no problem with murdering people that work in insurance as it’s almost a mercy killing, but in the end, the killer is found out by an inconveniently placed hamster. The problem is that hamsters have terrible eyesight and are mostly driven by a need to shag and/or murder any sexual competition before dying of a heart attack due to overexcitement or a surfeit of South Americans.
The fourth episode was ‘Hang the DJ’. Like the first episode, it was based in a weird virtual reality run from your phone to try and find the perfect mate. The thing was that they were in the same bar to start with. I pity anyone using this program in Metric.
The fifth episode was called ‘Metalhead’, for some reason. I’m fairly certain that the dog robots were based off the Boston Dynamics creation that looks similar, but is mostly abused by humans as opposed to hunting them down and shanking them. I feel that the concept of dangerous AI has been hugely overexplored in many different genres. Black Mirror would probably be doing itself a favour if it looked real life semi-autonomous weapons in the face and shat itself. I also failed to understand why it was shot in black and white. Many critics called this “bold,” but I’m afraid that colour TV was invented for a reason: because it’s better.
The sixth episode is the worst of the batch. ‘Black Museum’ is a pathetic attempt to canonise the whole of Black Mirror and place it all within one universe. I don’t think I’m alone when I say this is a terrible idea. Black Mirror all taking place in the same universe only serves to place limits on what it can explore next. There are some truly groundbreaking technologies that will change the way society works, and if this programme does not do them justice then another media form will have to. It’ll probably be a book, which means no one’ll ever read about it and we’ll stumble blindly into a dark future dominated by Jeff Bezos, Mark Zuckerberg and Elon Musk, all fighting to see who can control the most souls to power their life support machines.
Warning: Spoilers behind. Because also fuck you.