By: Marwan Omar (Two Beers) –
Mirrors; objects found at every house and at every room, always there to reflect our images to us. They show us how we look, how our environment is, and could give us a glimpse of how our life will proceed in the minutes after getting away from them, but what if our reality is too dark? What if everything is immersed in gloomy blackness including the deepest parts of our human soul? Only then, dusk won’t be followed by dawn, black would dominate everything, mirrors included, and “dull” would be the only appropriate definition of such a blank and pale life. Such environment would be your companion throughout Netflix’s Black Mirror.
Black Mirror is a series consisting of independent episodes, each narrating a separate story of how technology, in the near future, would be the monster that wrecks our lives, showing the darkest sides of futuristic highly-developed devices and gadgets. Black Mirror, starting in 2011, has three seasons and 13 episodes already out there, navigating in each one a variety of technological appliances and their drastic effect on people living through its time. You will end each episode asking yourself, “How on Earth did we get here?”
As a matter of fact, it’s not only one toast as Black Mirror deserves many toasts on different occasions, starting with a huge toast to the show Creator: Charlie Brooker, the man with the most vivid imagination and golden ideas. He will amaze you with the realistic ideas and devices he brings to TV that became available via the new technologies he dreams up. The amazement will continue as you see him smartly playing his cards to build up a strong and moving story around how this new gadget or service wrecks our characters’ lives. He also successfully creates a general dark theme and sustains it through his episodes, producing a strong bond between them. If all episodes came together as one large episode, you wouldn’t feel a drop or a sudden change in the rhythm despite the change of the story, and all credit for this would go to Brooker.
Another toast to Brooker for creating such realistic scenarios that suit each episode’s subject matter of technology. The well-crafted plots will have their effect on you by manipulating your nerves, and fulfilling their strong dramatic role by this. In addition to that, some excellent thriller moments feature in some episodes, masterfully presented by Brooker and his cast. You’ll bite your nails while your heart quickens its beats and sweat finds its way to your forehead through these moments that will make you care about nothing in the universe but the screen and the sick dystopian world it shows.
The last toast to Brooker is for smartly presenting his plots in each episode, via the massive control he had over his written script that is personified on screen with the very strong connections between characters as well as the episodes’ events. Paying attention to details, you’d notice that each episode’s opening grabs you with the high potential of what’s inside, and the endings are very satisfying after the remarkable build-up that kept going through the one hour preceding it.
The last toast to the show would go to the acting and casting teams on choosing a variety of actors and actresses in the episodes that amazed me personally with how good their performances were and how they fit their roles in such a big series despite being not well-known actors- so a big salute to them.
The only thing that can get Black Mirror a second beer is the one or two episodes that weren’t as perfect as the others. Nevertheless, they were great, but when put in comparison with such other perfect episodes, you’d notice the difference. Other than that, Black Mirror is a masterpiece.
Unlike movies that discussed the effect of technologies on us such as Her (2013) and Disconnect (2012), Black Mirror provides the darkest and longest vision of such issue through 13 one-hour episodes (more than 13 hours) and for this, it will most probably be stuck in your head for a while after you finish the last episode. Black Mirror, certainly one of the finest series of our days and definitely worth your time.
Black Mirror (2011) Drinking Game
Take a Drink: every time a new device or service is introduced in the episodes.
Drink a Shot: every time the main character suffers because of this new device or service.