My roommate recently showed me an episode of this show, and it feels like it should be required viewing for our always connected, device-augmented lives. Each episode of “Black Mirror” — named for the way our screens look while powered down — paints a different nightmarescape of a future gone technologically awry. Anyone who has skimmed Guy Debord’s Wikipedia page or watched the AMAs could condemn our culture as a masquerade, a spectacle of virtuality. But ‘Black Mirror’ proves this in a disturbing new way.

I only had the chance to watch the beginning of an episode. Phones were firmly in hand, everyone rated the interactions they had with one another and the photos they posted on their profiles — no matter how banal — on a scale from one to five stars. Every rating affected a person’s overall standing. The higher your rating, the more perks you got; the lower your rating, the harder you had to work to keep yourself afloat.

It was incredibly scary, but not that far-fetched. The sly ingenuity of each scenario is that the show nails down our love for the same devices we blame for our psychological torment.

Despite all the recent hype however, “Black Mirror” isn’t a new show at all. Its first season was broadcast in Britain in 2011, but it’s enjoying a new surge of interest in the United States since it began streaming on Netflix in December. It wasn’t widely advertised; its growing popularity is fueled by references to it on Twitter and Facebook, screenshots posted to Tumblr and the like. The fact that the show probably owes its American stature to social media is perfectly appropriate, since the series fixates on our codependent and contradictory relationship with technology and media.



7 responses »

  1. ariatung says:

    I’ve seen a few episodes of this show, and I really loved it. The concept is so interesting, because we always talk about how there are so many pros of technology, and there definitely are. But there are definitely drawbacks as well, and this show highlights some drawbacks that aren’t so typical to discuss. I highly recommend this show

  2. lenapearlcole says:

    I LOVE THIS SHOW. I’ve been watching since 2011, but I haven’t seen the new season–which is apparently very hard hitting. I completely agree it should be required viewing. You (and everyone) must watch the episode ‘The Waldo Moment’, for it is eerily reminiscent of our recent election…..

    • alicecmullin says:

      Wow, I watched the Waldo Moment before the election and hadn’t thought of it since, but yes looking back it’s very eerily similar for sure.

  3. carlywinant says:

    I haven’t watched Black Mirror yet, but a lot of my friends and a lot of Media Studies professors have been telling me about it. What seems most frightening about a show like it is that while it’s clearly presenting a dystopian society, it really isn’t too different from what our world is like now. And that’s just disturbing and concerning. It seems like Black Mirror is working to make us aware of that and what we have the potential to turn into.

  4. olivia klugman says:

    This episode completely messed with me! Anytime I used technology the week after I watched it I felt haunted. Right after I watched it, I got in an uber and thought about the fact that we do rate uber drivers and uber drivers rate us and that could effect whether we get picked up in the future– people judge each other based on how many likes they get on facebook and instagram. I think this episode was so disturbing BECAUSE it’s so similar to the way we already live.

  5. maddiemcc19 says:

    I keep hearing more and more about this show. How we judge each other based on our societally-ascribed “worth” relates so closely how privilege works.

  6. palomapineda19 says:

    I also really love this show. One of my favorite episodes was in the third season which challenges us to think about how we are growing up in a “like” society where we only post things to get a certain amount of likes or comments by our peers. It’s really important to consider how we are feeling reward from these likes on our posts.

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