Prism Pick: Black Mirror

Madison Hindo

“If technology is a drug, then what are the side effects? This area – between delight and discomfort – is where Black Mirror is set. The ‘black mirror’ of the title is the one you’ll find on every wall, on every desk, in the palm of every hand: the cold, shiny screen of a TV, a monitor, a smartphone.”

Charlie Booker set out to explore the effects of technology on modern society through his show, Black Mirror. The show has achieved nearly universal acclaim, blending elements of psychological drama and science fiction. Each episode keeps the viewer on the edge of their seat.

The show utilizes an anthology format, featuring a new cast in each episode. Shows of this kind often feature episodes which are a hit or miss, yet this is not the case with Black Mirror. Booker is able to masterfully craft episodes that vary in tone, style and characters. The effect is thirteen diverse and engrossing episodes — no matter what a viewer’s preferences are, there’s something for everyone.

While some viewers choose to watch in order, others tend to jump from season to season, watching the episodes that interest them the most first. Since there’s no continuity throughout the three seasons, either method of viewing works equally well.

For those that are interested in horror, “Playtest” is a good place to start with the show. Fans of beautiful cinematography and flashy colors will love the 1980s inspired “San Junipero” and viewers who aren’t afraid to shed a tear should watch “Be Right Back,” an episode that can only be described as a masterpiece.

Technology is an ever-present fixture in the modern world. With new devices and advances being made every day, the possibilities for future developments seem endless. However, this constant innovation is a source of debate. Are smartphones and social media bringing us closer together or driving us into isolation? How much are we willing to let technology into our lives?

There are countless similar questions, and these issues are exactly the sort Black Mirror addresses. It is no easy task, and one of the show’s greatest strengths is that it doesn’t pretend to know the answers to the questions it poses. The episodes tackle difficult subjects, and often have unhappy endings, but there is rarely a clear message to be derived from them.

While this may be frustrating for some, it makes the show inherently more thought-provoking. It implores the viewer to form their own opinions and seek their own answers. The show manages to challenge how we view our relationship with technology, without making us feel like it is pushing a specific idea about an ideal world.

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