I watched the first 2 episodes in the last week, and wow. I should have been watching this show a long time ago. It is amazing.
Mentioned in the Fall TV thread, but Season 3 is now up on Netflix.
Looking forward to this one! Hopefully the transition from UK to US doesn’t ruin it, as is the case with most UK ports. :)
I’ve seen the first 3 episodes.
Ep 1 takes place in the US. But directed by Joe Wright
Ep2 has an American protagonist but takes place in the UK
Ep3 is 100% UK
So not much of a transition.
What is noticeably better, so far, is the writing. While the first two seasons where hit and miss sometimes, here the writing is much better, specially in terms of character development.
There also seems to be a push to go for very near future stuff, far from the more outlandish setups from the first two seasons.
But again, the remaining 3 episodes might change all of the above. So far I’m liking it much more than S1 and S2, and I liked those a lot.
I watched all of these over the weekend. I don’t know if it was just from binge watching and maybe getting burned out but I enjoyed the first 4 more than the last 2. I really enjoyed the season overall though.
Only about half the episodes were definitely far future. Certainly The National Anthem, White Bear, and The Waldo Moment could all be very near future, while the tech in The Entire History of You isn’t far removed from that in Nosedive.
I binged season three over the weekend and loved them all. I’m having a hard time even picking favorites but as with the prior seasons I feel like any of these could have been excellent movie adaptations, extending the length and character development even further and bringing the near future story to a big screen.
San Junipero was very touching. More than most of all the other episodes, though some have certainly had great character interaction and tough situational consequences. I’m in agreement with pizzaddict, the last two, while still good, were not as good as the first four.
Well, now that I have seen all six new episodes, I still stand that except for ep 5, it overall feels a little bit more grounded than the previous two seasons for me.
The much better writing and directing helped.
Also, I love they included an episode where technology depiction is 100% positive. It shifts the tone of the series somewhat, making it more interesting and nuanced.
I totally forgot to weigh in on this. In order of preference (mild spoilers!):
- Shut Up and Dance - I think this was quintessential Black Mirror. Wonderfully acted out, unflinching, unsettling and with a pitch black twist.
- San Junipero - this was a real departure from Black Mirror. At one point I thought we’d accidentally loaded the wrong show up! Beautifully shot, thought provoking and it had a big heart. Totally unexpected.
- Nosedive - Loved the idea of this and how the scoring pretty much standardised or utterly neutered everyone’s personalities, at least on the surface. Got a chuckle out of ‘Double damage’.
- Hated in the Nation - Given how much was crammed into every other episode, I’m surprised this one ran for as long as it did. I enjoyed it but I kept wondering why no-one thought to put a bag over their head to prevent the beebots from recognising their faces, or hiding/censoring the #DeathTo hashtag. The horrors of the mob though.
- Playtest - Yeah, no. Fuck this idea. Who needs nightmare fuel when we’ve got so much stashed away already!
- Men Against Fire - this I felt was the weakest episode, mostly because I called it within the first 10 minutes but also because there were similarities with the endings to White Bear and White Christmas (being trapped in a looping hell). We’d watched They Live recently too which kind of sucked some of the life out of this ‘alternate’ reality idea.
All in all though, Black Mirror’s a real treat and one of my favourite things on TV. Or Netflix now.
- San Junipero: Loved that this was a 100% positive episode regarding tech.
- Nosedive: It felt very real, both in terms of the owrld and characters.
- Shut Up and Dance: It also felt real (specially the world, nothing sci-fi about it), but the characters were more extreme.
- Hated in the Nation - It was good, but long and a little indecisive. Once they figure out the menace I don’t buy there were no ways to protect more people. The theming felt relevant and well developed, though.
- Playtest -Nah, didn’t buy it. Technology too out there and a fail state that was too on the nose. That kind of tech would have other uses and wouldn’t be developed for games. Would have liked it more without some of the final “twists” (when things were more believable)
- Men Against Fire - I though the writer didn’t really know what to do with the concept. If the setting had been more grounded (a more traditional war) it would have worked much better imho.
None of these were as good as the Christmas episode with Jon Hamm, that epsiode was haunting. But this was still very good season 3! (spoilers in my rankings!)
1 - Playtest - was the best because of main character, just a normal schlub, and found out its Kurt Russels son! has a similar charisma to him. Most entertaining episode. Plus alot of video game fanservice.
2 - Hated in the Nation - loved it. And I always liked Kelly McDonald. Loved the dichotomy between her and her younger detective… sorta like gen x meets gen y outlook. The somewhat ‘goofy’ ending was effective because… it felt biblical, Old Testament.
3 - San Junipero - would have been #1 but I don’t know if I’d prefer a life digitized, but they asked all the questions everybody would ask. so much nostalgia in the episode, plus the Pixies!
4 - Nosedive - Kind of a generic episode, but ironic that its probably the closest to reality now… what with internet celebrity taken to next level.
5 - Shut Up and Dance - Internet as judge and jury…didn’t like they had to make certain characters a certain way, but i get the point.
6 - Men Against Fire - Probably the most damning on modern conflict and still the ability to be propogandized etc etc, but it was way too obvious. still decent and above most sci fi out now.
I checked out S1E1 “National Anthem” last night.
I’m not sure I can continue watching if the whole series is like this. A year ago I would have found the examination of the effects of social media, the internet, class systems, etc. with a Twilight Zone bent to it to be fascinating. But now real life (i.e. Trumpism in America) is too closely imitating art for this show to be watchable if it continues in the same manner.
National Anthem kind of is the most cringey of episodes though… mainly because it gives off that gross vibe … yeah the show is pretty dark. But alot of the episodes are worth watching for the ideas explored, and they are generally done well. Its a one and off each episode so you are never stuck with one overlong storyline.
I think National Anthem was intentionally dark, awful, and shocking. I always got the feeling that showrunner Charlie Brooker wanted to blow out the opening salvo so people wouldn’t just dismiss the show as “safe” sci-fi serial schlock.
OK then, I will forge ahead. The description for the next episode is something about a contestant on a reality singing show having to do progressively degrading things each time the judges deem her performance poor or something, so it sounded a lot like more of the same setup.
I did like that they had the montage at the end that showed the PM one year later and mentioned that he had the highest approval rating ever (though apparently not with his wife). Honestly though, while I don’t think he had a choice (other than killing himself or something equally horrific), I don’t think anyone in office could overcome something like that. Even with public approval for having saved the princess, the experience would haunt him and people in positions of power would have trouble taking him seriously, preventing him from doing his job. I’d think in the days following the incident he’d have quietly stepped down, and the royals would have set him up for life somewhere off in the countryside for a quiet retirement.
I have to say I didn’t find The National Anthem particularly dark, by the rest of the first couple of season’s standards (or Charlie Brooker’s previous form on TVGoHome). More shocking, maybe. There are many darker episodes, including the second one and basically everything in the second season and Christmas special run apart from The Waldo Moment.
I finished watching Season 1 yesterday.
I’m completely blown away by this show. I grew up watching Doctor Who, and always kind of hated it, but watched it because there was only two or three channels and I had no other good science fiction options. So when the show came back with Christopher Eccleston, and it was the same old crap, that kind of set the expectations for me from any British Science Fiction show.
But this is nothing like that. These are really well made science fiction short stories with superb acting, music, lighting, direction and amazingly well crafted worlds. The first season kind of reminded me of superb movies like “Her” and “Ex Machina”.
For good British (kind of) sci-fi, I recommend checking out Humans, which just finished its second season. It’s no Black Mirror, but it’s definitely at the other end of the spectrum from Doctor Who (or Blake’s 7, or Red Dwarf)
This was my favorite because it was an excellent mix of humor and the sad reality of our social media lives, co-written by Rashida Jones and Michael Schur. It really stood out to me as how the show can simultaneously poke fun at our future, and hint at a shady darkness (nobody below 2.5 allowed in here) Reminded me a lot of 15 Million Merits. Jurassic World made me very wary of Bryce Dallas Howard, (also, she has 3 men’s names) but she was phenominal in this episode, equal parts pulled together and pitiable. Awesome stuff.
2) San Junipero
I wish I could have made this one number 1, but I really loved Nosedive. I love the conceit and concept. The acting was great all around, and the eventual unfolding of the reality around the main characters was so well done. The ending was so sweet as well, and I love the final shots showing the reality of San Junipero as the episode closes.
3) Shut up and Dance
I thought that this episode was a bit odd, but once the story started taking the darker turns… I was hooked. The main character played an extremely believable young teen caught doing something embarrasing. He is a good person, and he got hooked into some sicko internet game. Jerome Flynn was excellent also. This episode was quintissential black mirror, with both the characters and the audience figuring out the weird plot at the same time. The ending… so dark. I loved it.
Gotta love the multiple waking up from a nightmare scenarios happening in this episode. I liked the main character, and the nightmares and the animation were cool. I wasn’t sure this was going to go full on crazy until that lady showed up with a butcher knife. The episode went from 0-60 really quickly. I didn’t like the technobabble conceit and explanation though, and I guessed the “greatest fear” ending right away. Good fun overall though.
5) Hated in the Nation
This didn’t need to be 90 minutes, and aside from the excellent acting from the leagues, and prestige level Scandinavian cop drama style, it kind of felt like the whole technology and black mirror aspect of “social media is evil” felt tacked on. I liked the message here, that casual death threats shouldn’t ever be a thing… but. It all felt bloated and overlong. Faye Marsay was mesmerizing however. Also, stopping facial recognition software is one nylon stocking away from death.
6) Men Against Fire
This sucked. I didn’t like it. I get the plot ideas that they were trying to get across… but it all felt a bit heavy handed. I figured out the plot basically instantly, and while I think the ideas here are genuinely terrifying, it fell apart for me. There were troubling issues with the plot and the conceit that stick with me. Why would the villagers so quickly condemn these “roaches”, I don’t think that the reasons given were strong enough. This concept would have worked much more if they would have placed this in an actual conflict overseas, using some form of “aliens have invaded north korea, we need to take them out” when in fact they were shooting DPRK soldiers the entire time. I think they tried to tie too many concepts on to this one. The refugee crises, human empathy in war, (which is a fascinating topic still hotly debated), self amnesia and the weird sex scenes stuff, and then the odd ending with the run down house… “we don’t care for our veterans” are all interesting topics, but they felt mashed together in this one.
Great season overall though.