Why is all of our future so sucky? And yet… so watchable.
Season 3 of Black Mirror – now a Netflix exclusive – dropped tonight and mother f’er it just gets harder and harder to watch. Seriously, why do we put ourselves through these awkward, or terrifying, or heart-wrenching glimpses into what we are maybe likely probably becoming… agh.
Okay, this is a basically unedited thought stream (which will no doubt be rebranded as ThoughtStreem in the not too distant future) as I’m two-thirds of the way through the first episode of this latest dip into fascinating ruminations on how technology in all forms could interact with and change us in the coming years and I’m squirming in my seat watching Bryce Dallas Howard get shredded in social media gone mad. I’m remembering the bits of seasons past that momentarily threw me into a void. Black Mirror is a show that famously intro’d with an episode wherein the British Prime Minister has sexual relations with a pig. For technology reasons?
Not the point: this show has hammered – often times with a freakin’ anvil – on nerve endings we didn’t all know we had for six hour-long episodes1 plus a John Hamm-tastic Xmas special. It does it in often broad strokes, using topics and tropes it knows will get a rise, managing to be pulpy but not really lurid, off-putting but not to the point we’re put off. That doesn’t always make it great. But I think it makes it important.
I was sketching out a watch guide of sorts on the first two seasons months ago that, like so much worth pounding out here just never got pounded, and maybe that’ll be a worthwhile topic to revisit sometime soon. Different episodes hit differently, and have wildly varying levels of utility in critiquing and getting us to consider technology and our lives. And a show that thinks itself at least somewhat smart and insightful in its critiques should be critiqued as well. Critique critique critique.2
But meanwhile, if you are reading this on a screened device tonight, this weekend, soonish – watch some Black Mirror on another (or the same) screened device. Because it will almost certainly make you feel something. Which is most definitely important.