I’ve just discovered the extraordinary showstopper, “Black Mirror”, a British sci-fi television series that is part “Twilight Zone” but darker and more bizarre. In six episodes in Season One we are let into a dystopian future narratively thrilling yet outrageous, because of its plausibility.
The season finale, “White Christmas”, is certainly not full of holiday merriment. This bleak episode showcases the handsome and versatile Jon Hamm (the character Don Draper in “Mad Men”), as Matthew, a charming guy who does not possess any moral tentativeness or empathy for anyone. Great choice for a Christmas story, right?
In a high-tech creepy version of the movie “Crazy, Stupid Love” meets the how-to manual “The Game: Penetrating the Secret Society of Pickup Artists”, we see Matthew, using earpieces and a surveillance camera, confidently guiding insecure guys on how to pick up young women. A voyeur with a sordid past, Matt’s cyber-dating service leads to unforeseen consequences.
The satirical writer Charlie Brooker, the extraordinary talent behind “Black Mirror”, raises questions of what we would do in a similar situation. Perhaps one of his most ingenious “karmic” devices is “blocking,” a sort of real-life, three-dimensional version of blocking someone on Facebook. Taken to an extreme, “blocking” renders the target a non-person, someone entirely alone, without community, locked inside their own heads. “Black Mirror” exacts creative solutions for wrongdoers commensurate with their karma. The outcome of each episode is unnerving if not downright terrifying.
Each episode, like “Twilight Zone”, has a separate story and a different cast. You can view the episodes in any order. More a short story collection than a novel, “Black Mirror” is less a dystopia than it is the dark side of life and the darkest regions of the mind.
[Order it on instant streaming through Netflix.]