Black Mirror

Officially Official: ‘Black Mirror’ Season 3 Coming to Netflix, 12 Episodes Ordered!

Posted by Matthew on September 26, 2015
News / Comments Off on Officially Official: ‘Black Mirror’ Season 3 Coming to Netflix, 12 Episodes Ordered!

Black Mirror

Good news everyone! Netflix has officially ordered a third season of the fantastic sci-fi anthology series Black Mirror! What’s more, they’ve ordered 12 episodes! There have only been 7 episodes to date (3 episodes each in seasons 1 and 2, and a Christmas Special) so we’re in for a boat load more of whatever interesting parables Charlie Brooker can come up with.

Continue reading…

Tags: ,

Review: Black Mirror, Series Two Episode Three, “The Waldo Moment”

Posted by Matthew on February 28, 2013
Television / Comments Off on Review: Black Mirror, Series Two Episode Three, “The Waldo Moment”

Black Mirror

Charlie Brooker is back again folks. Three more extreme but within-the-realm-of-possible stories to get us thinking about ourselves.

I’m going to warn you right now that this will contain spoilers. I am going to do my best to keep them to a minimum however I can’t talk about everything I want to talk about without including a few so I highly recommend that if you haven’t seen this episode yet you’d best bookmark this, go watch, and come back. There will also be some spoilers for series one of Black Mirror. Normally I’d consider a previous series fair game, but spoiling some of this stuff would be like spoiling who Kaiser Soze is, so seriously: go watch and then come back. You’ve been warned.

The last episode of this series concerns a down on his luck, already self loathing failed comedian Jamie and his creation Waldo.

Jamie hasn’t had any success, although it’s implied his friends all have, on his own but he has created a computer animated character called Waldo. Waldo is controlled and voiced by Jamie so that when they spring him on unsuspecting guests on the television program he’s a part of he reacts in real time and generally just takes the piss out of whoever he is talking to, and in particular a new conservative politician played by Tobias Menzies (late of Rome) called Liam Monroe.

There is also Gwendolyn. She’s running for the labour party in the same by election, but she has no qualms about what’s happening. It’s a safe seat for the conservatives and she’s just trying to raise her profile.

Things get a bit crazy when, after he’s had a surge in popularity, Jamies producer starts talking Waldo spin off and having Waldo stand in the by election that Monroe is running in.

They set about having Waldo follow Monroe around and in doing so steadily gains popularity. At the same time Jamie meets Gwendolyn and they hit it off and have a splendid night together but then she blows him off so she can focus on the campaign. Jamie does not take this well.

At the all candidates debate Waldo is doing his schtick when Monroe attacks Jamie directly and he has a moment that, to be honest, I think a lot of people would. He tells of Monroe for being a phoney, claiming to represent the regular folk of his constituency but actually holding himself above them and toeing party lines and when Gwendolyn chimes in she barely gets a word in edgewise before he outs her and just trying to get a bit of face time.

And that’s when things go off the rails for Jamie and for us.

As Waldo gains popularity Jamie slowly goes a bit mad as while he’s controlling Waldo, everyone else is controlling him, particularly his smarmy producer Jack (played by Jason Flemyng) who threatens to take Waldo out of his hands since Jamie created Waldo but doesn’t own the rights.

They both recognize the potential for Waldo to be influential but where Jack revels in it, Jamie is repulsed by the things they are proposing he do. They even are approached by “the agency” to take Waldo worldwide as a mouthpiece to control the masses.

When Jamie finally snaps and start telling people not to vote for him, he’s ousted and Jack takes over and immediately incites a crowd to attack him. When Waldo takes second place in the election, Jack incites the crowd to riot.

This episode isn’t subtle. The black mirror shows us not only how tired people are of the system, but how easily they can be manipulated just by something that’s new and different, not just spouting the same old bullshit. It makes a mockery not so much of the system itself but how the people in it operate.

Further, when Jack takes over and Waldo takes a turn for the darker, how easily all that good will and attention gained by that moment of pure and honest outrage can be used to manipulate people into kind of terrible things.

Monroe has one great line as well when asked about Waldo he says “If that thing is the main opposition then the whole system looks absurd –which it may well be– but it built these roads” That is to say, we may not like them or the system, but it’s what we’ve got to work with.

Basically the black mirror here shows us how, in our apathy, we can be controlled pretty much because we let ourselves be.

THis episode wasn’t as good as the rest because it’s bit, well, obvious. There aren’t as many big ideas as there are in White Bear and the ideas aren’t as affecting as those explored in Be Right Back, Some of the ideas were also explored better in last years episode “15 Million Merits” in which a man is ripped out of complacency in his life in a dystopian future.

It’s still a solid outing, but because of all that I think it might be my least favourite to date even if the ideas it explores might be the most relevant to us today.

Tags: , ,

Review: Black Mirror, Series Two, Episode Two, “White Bear”

Posted by Matthew on February 28, 2013
Television / 1 Comment

Black Mirror

Charlie Brooker is back again folks. Three more extreme but within-the-realm-of-possible stories to get us thinking about ourselves.

I’m going to warn you right now that this will contain spoilers. I am going to do my best to keep them to a minimum however I can’t talk about everything I want to talk about without including a few so I highly recommend that if you haven’t seen this episode yet you’d best bookmark this, go watch, and come back. There will also be some spoilers for series one of Black Mirror. Normally I’d consider a previous series fair game, but spoiling some of this stuff would be like spoiling who Kaiser Soze is, so seriously: go watch and then come back. You’ve been warned.

Ready? Good.

Episode two starts out with a woman waking up with no memory of who she is or where she is. As she explores her surroundings it becomes clear that some sort of cataclysm has happened. The world is a mess. People don’t speak, they simply film her with their cameras and cell phones but won’t interact (except to run away when she gets too close).

Soon she meets a couple on the run who explain that a signal went out over everything with a screen that turned most of the people into mindless, filming zombies while a small percentage of the population remain unaffected. And naturally, a small group of the unaffected are now homicidal maniacs because that’s what happens when society collapses.

Soon it turns out that, as with most episodes of this series, nothing is quite what it seems. As it turns out the main character was convicted of helping to kidnap, torture and kill a young girl with her boyfriend. He did most or all of the unspeakable things while she filmed the whole thing. The Boyfriend dies before he can be tried and sentenced and so the world has decided to take their grief, hate, and anger out on her.

The entire set up is just curel and unusual punishment. She reaches a certain point in the story they’ve set her up in and then the curtains draw, she’s shown who she is and what’s happening, and then they wipe her memory and do it all again (at least 20 odd times from the glimpse you get at the calendar).

This episode is nowhere near as seubtle and certainly not as quiet as the previous episode but it’ll certainly make you think. While I don’t quite think the circus they create to punish the main character is currently something we should expect, it’s also disturbingly plausible if you think about our current addiction to spectacle recorded via cellphone.

And that leads to another question, are we actually experiencing our lives or are we just recording? Are we removed from what we are doing because we’re too busy recording it? That seems to be the main question in the black mirror in this episode and the plot certainly drives it home, because anyone can see that whether she actively participated in the crime (it’s not stated, but implied that she just did the recording) that this is cruel and unusual torture.

It’s a brilliant bit of satire anchored by Lenora Crinchlow’s performance (which is superb). Also, Michael Smiley shows up as one of the more sinister characters which is good, but whenever I see him I wish in the back of my head that he’ll hear a sound and start raving.

All in all this is a great episode and you should definitely have watched it before you read this.

Tags: , , ,

Review: Black Mirror, Series Two, Episode One, “Be Right Back”

Posted by Matthew on February 19, 2013
Television / 2 Comments

Black Mirror

Charlie Brooker is back again folks. Three more extreme but within-the-realm-of-possible stories to get us thinking about ourselves.

I’m going to warn you right now that this will contain spoilers. I am going to do my best to keep them to a minimum however I can’t talk about everything I want to talk about without including a few so I highly recommend that if you haven’t seen this episode yet you’d best bookmark this, go watch, and come back. There will also be some spoilers for series one of Black Mirror. Normally I’d consider a previous series fair game, but spoiling some of this stuff would be like spoiling who Kaiser Soze is, so seriously: go watch and then come back. You’ve been warned.

Good. Let’s begin then.

Be Right Back stars Hayley Atwell and Domhnall Gleeson as Martha and Ash, a young couple. He is clearly addicted to his phone and the internet, to the point where he doesn’t hear her offering him ridiculous things and she has to tell him to put his damn phone away and interact with her. We get just enough screen time with Ash to get a sense of who he is and who they are together and then he dies.

Wracked with grief Martha is signed up by a friend for a service that basically is an app that lets you speak to the dead. It scrapes data from your social media profiles, emails, videos, photos, anything you can feed it and comes up with an approximation of the person in question.

What follows is both an exploration of grief and anguish as well as the question of the human experiences. We follow Martha as she is emotionally laid low and then raised up again by speaking to this approximation almost non stop.

When she drops her phone the system offers her “the next step”, an artificial Ash with the personality profile uploaded.

I’d like to point out here that both Atwell and Gleeson are superb. Atwell has to run the gamut of human emotion and does so beautifully. Gleeson plays both the internet addicted boyfriend and the approximation thereof well, in particular the contradicting states the False Ash has to exist in.

At first Martha takes full advantage, and I mean full advantage, but it soon becomes apparent that all is not right. Her grief is both quelled and then returned with even greater power. False-Ash at first being a comfort comes to drive her to the edge of sanity because he’s just not Ash.

And therein lies the reflection in the black mirror. Slowly but surely we’re putting more of ourselves online and more people are interacting with facebook, twitter, and every other form of online communication you can think of, and many friendships are made and broken vie these methods. You come to feel like you know someone based on the things they put out there but through False-Ash we’re reminded that none of that can replace the human experience.

In the climax of the story False-Ash is driving Martha to the edge of her sanity because on the one hand he’s right there with her, but on the other he lacks all the mannerisms, all the little tics, and the emotions that aren’t registered online. When she orders him to jump off a cliff and he willingly goes she rails against his utter willingness and how he isn’t acting like Ash. He then takes that information and mimics Ash not out of some sense of preservation but because that’s what False-Ash thinks she wants.

Be Right Back is far more subtle than any of the previous episodes to date. Not hard when you consider that last series had a man fucking a pig, a man selling out, and a man relentlessly torturing himself with recordings of his life built into his brain. That doesn’t actually make it any less thought provoking though, in fact I’d say just the opposite. It’ll make you think about grief and the lengths you might go to, but also how you interact with your friends and family.

Black Mirror is about holding up ideas and showing us reflections that we haven’t considered, or maybe reflections we don’t want to consider about society and technology, and it’s off to a lovely start for this series.

Tags: , , , ,

Episode Twenty Six: Las Vegas, E3, Battleship, Black Mirror and Men in Black 3

Posted by Matthew on June 08, 2012
Podcast / 1 Comment

We’re back after a hiatus and this week we’re talking about Las Vegas, E3 and how underwhelmed we are, The Walking Dead game, Black Mirror, Battleship and Men in Black 3!

Subscribe to Awesome Friday! in iTunes

Like what you hear? Don’t like what you hear? Tell us! email at comments at awesomefriday.ca, leave comments on this episodes page, and you can also follow us on twitter: @ManBitesWonders is Simon and @posterboy81 is Matt

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,