Have you ever felt the crushing weight of trying to garner more attention from an underachieving Instagram post? We’ve all been part of that endless quest for existential reassurance that we matter, we’ve all existed only to see ourselves reflected, and we’ve all lived in retreat from any sense of self… Right?
Good, because Charlie Brooker’s sideways look at the world – and our own neuroses – has returned for a third season. Yep, Black Mirror is back and even darker than ever. Season 3, with its obsidian humor, now has a bigger budget and a wider scope on the world – far beyond that of its predecessors… Needless to say, the anticipation for Black Mirror’s return is pretty high.
And now that the show has made the jump to Netflix, we can all merrily binge watch ourselves into a state of hopeless depression. Joy! So, if you haven’t already gotten on board, here are five reasons you should be watching Black Mirror Season 3 right now.
1. It shows the dark side of technology
If you've never tried it, Black Mirror is a must-watch dystopian dreamboat. It’s particularly interesting in its examination of technology, our addiction to it, and where it could all lead us. So, if you have any interest in that, or generally just like sitting in your undies and worrying about the state of the world as justification for cracking open your next beer, then this Netflix show is definitely for you.
Brooker, the show’s creator, commented that, "If technology is a drug – and it does feel like a drug – then what, precisely, are the side effects?" Each episode explores a different facet of the rapidly changing face of the tech world: the future of warfare, our obsession with social media identities, and who might be looking through our webcams.
Because with great power…
2. It has real world application
In an age so obscure that Kim and Kanye’s birthday wishes to each other make front-page news, Black Mirror brings with it a refreshing twist on the idea of what media and entertainment is, or should be.
The show’s content is scarily close to the bone. It does an excellent job of taking today’s phenomena and putting it all under the microscope, as a means of irreverent humor but also coming across a bit like a Twilight Zone for the modern day, packed to the rafters with resonant observations and largely unsubtle warnings.
Season 3’s “Playtest” episode, for example, asks us existential questions about what it means to be human and chews on issues like the morality of virtual reality. The episode’s protagonist, Cooper, tests a video game so advanced, it’s terrifying. And yet, it isn't as far in the future as we would really think…
3. And it can predict the future
Black Mirror’s are nothing if not disturbing stories. But what's even more unsettling is how often Brooker's show has become a forecast for actual real-world events.
In Season 2 of the show, "The Waldo Moment" tells the story of a popular comedian who begins a successful run for office by saying lowbrow and vulgar things. And, even more ridiculously, in Season 1’s "The National Anthem," the British Prime Minister must have live sexual intercourse with a pig on national television in order to ensure the safe return of a much-loved Royal Family member; it’s wholly reminiscent of “Piggate,” the rumors surrounding David Cameron getting balls deep in a dead pig.
But while there’s always a message in each episode about the way things are going and how badly we’re screwing everything up, the show tends not to offer solutions – much to our dismay. How to stop an orange fascist from becoming President of the United States? This one’s for us to work out.
4. Things get cinematically interesting
Charlie Brooker said that Season 3’s San Junipero came about because he was wondering, “could we ever do a vintage episode of Black Mirror? Could we ever do one that’s not set in the present day?”
This episode is hard sci-fi with heart and an example of the bigger and more cinematic tone of Black Mirror Season 3. If it were a film, it would almost certainly be a Best Picture contender. It's visually stunning, joyous to watch for anyone with any sense of '80s nostalgia, and makes us sentimental about life and love.
Set in late-'80s California, the episode is clever and satisfying, from the way every little clue adds up to the sly wink that is the use of Belinda Carlisle’s “Heaven Is a Place on Earth.” It’s also probably the Season 3 episode that will cause the most discussion, as it’s a huge departure from Black Mirror’s usual tone.
5. Some big names are on board
Previous seasons of the show featured stars like Jon Hamm and Domhnall Gleeson. For Season 3, Black Mirror has again attracted a number of familiar faces including Gugu Mbatha-Raw (Beyond the Lights), Mackenzie Davis (Halt and Catch Fire), Wyatt Russell (Everybody Wants Some!!), Bryce Dallas Howard (Jurassic World), and Alice Eve (Star Trek: Into the Darkness).
The season also has some big name directors on board. Dan Trachtenberg (10 Cloverfield Lane) lends his ominous sense of dread to "Playtest," and James Watkins (The Woman in Black) graduates from cobwebs and chandeliers to the hour-long panic attack that is "Shut Up and Dance."
What’s more, Season 4 begins production later this year has already signed up a new bevy of stars. Veteran actress Jodie Foster is set to direct one of the season's episodes, with Rosemarie DeWitt starring… Watch this space.
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