Okay, I’ve finally succumbed to the never-ending Black Mirror advertisements that pop up every time I sign into Netflix…and I was not disappointed.
Black Mirror is a dark and satirical anthology series (big word alert – it means different plot/cast with each episode). Episodes use dark and satirical themes set in modern societies and usually revolve around new technologies. I unknowingly watched season 3 before seasons 1 and 2 because I was automatically directed to the latest season upon selecting the series. Luckily, I was not at a disadvantage since, like I said, it’s an anthology series!
Okay okay, but so what, right? This series uses drama, humor, and romance all while pumping viewers with fear. Specifically, “Nosedive,” “Playtest,” and “15 Million Merits” were my favorite episodes. Here are some episode summaries to give you a little taste:
“Nosedive” – Season 3, Episode 1
Bryce Dallas Howard (Jurassic World lead) took the main role in this episode that presented a horrifyingly plausible future where people are controlled by social media. In this society, people are only living to please each other in the hopes of receiving a 5-star rating after interacting with any given individual. Average ratings ranging from 0 stars to 5 stars serve as labels for people; those with 4.5 stars and above are considered the elite. In order to survive in this society, people must “play the numbers” to receive proper treatment and achieve a high social class. (Side note: I sensed a harsh dig at SU fans during a particular scene which made me laugh out loud so hard!)
This episode felt like a full length movie and I would’ve loved to see even more material with this concept!
“Playtest” – Season 3, Episode 2
I was not sure where this plot was headed as the beginning scenes followed around a young man leaving home and travelling the world by himself. In his travels, he finds himself short on money and checks the latest listings for day jobs for decent pay. A cutting edge gaming company is in need of game testers to try out their new layered virtual reality game. Excited by the opportunity, the young man applies and is accepted as a tester.
The game was not the average virtual reality system where goggles are worn on the player; rather, a chip is inserted into your neck as the game taps into the brain to create a scary environment tailored to the player’s fears. This layered virtual reality horror game that adapts to the player’s own fear and reactions is truly haunting.
This episode had a million twists and turns that will leave you speechless…at least it did for me. Freaking intense.
“15 Million Merits” – Season 1, Episode 2
This episode followed a young man in a modern tech environment where everyone seemed to have the same routine. They awake in their room surrounded by walls, which are actually monitors that play different environments or shows (um, Smart House much?). Same dealio with their bathrooms. Jealous. They then go to the gym and peddle on stationary bikes while watching shows or gaming. When it’s time for a break, they head over to the touch-screen/monitor vending machines. The currency used is in “merits.” These merits are gained when peddling on stationary bikes and used when buying food, skipping advertisements, playing games, and watching programs.
After meeting a girl with an extraordinary voice, he spends 15,000,000 of his merits on something that changes both of their lives.
Netflix commissioned 12 episodes for season 3 back in 2015; since season 3 only had 6 episodes, this means 6 more episodes are in the near future!
Til next time,