Dark < Darker < Darkest < Black Mirror
There is something supremely disconcerting yet addicting about this hugely popular series. One shies away from the appalling horror of each episode, yet one cannot not want to watch the next episode. However, I think the biggest selling point is how each episode is brilliant and separate, almost like a series of one episode short films with same under-current of the ‘horrors of the future’.
Black Mirror is a 4 season (~ 19 episodes) Netflix original where each episode takes one thing that is wrong with today and blows it out to something obnoxiously wrong in the future. It’s like each episode sees the errors of today through a ‘black mirror’ in the future. Again, not all episodes are extremely dark and haunting, yet thought provoking. Throughout the 4 seasons, the top 5 according to me were (in no particular order)-
- The Entire History of You (S01 E03) – In the near future shown, one has the ability to replay the past through a ‘rice grain’ implant in the brain. The story that starts off as showing the obsession people have with replaying and over-analysing the reality soon turns into a heartbreaking thriller. I won’t ruin the plot, but it sure blew my mind and broke my heart.
- Be Right Back (S02 E01) – This story’s narration is almost poetic. I love how the initial dialogue in the passing (” my mom put all pictures and memories of my dad in the attic”) ties up the episode in the end. It is again heartbreaking, yet something very plausible in the future. The protagonist in this story loses her husband in an accident and in an effort to get over him, she signs up for an experimental study which uses her husbands e-data to conjure an equivalent AI. The story goes on to her becoming addicted to and finally realising how a machine falls short of the real human love she lost.
- White Christmas (S02 E04) – This episode does that inception thing with something as simple as crime confessions. Jon Hamm does a great justice to the character of a smooth talker. A similar (definitely not the same) plot line can be seen in the later episodes of manipulating the subconscious to achieve an end.
- San Junipero (S03 E04) – Hang the DJ (S04 E04): I clubbed these episodes together as didn’t want to miss commending either. They both are brilliant in their own respect and are pretty mind blowing. San Junipero takes us to this make belief world the old can escape to to find solace. There, starts a love story defying age, time and gender. Hang the DJ is a spoof yet brilliant concept reinforcement for dating apps. A couple defies the ‘system’ to be with each other only to realise it is a system that they are aiding to determine compatibility.
- Black Museum (S04 E06) – This episode is like a mini black mirror season in itself. The stories have that haunting futuristic knack to it. The episode is about a girl stranded in a dilapidated gas station when she sees the ‘Black Museum’. The curator walks her through the curios, each revealing a sad sadistic psychopathic story. The final exhibition is where the curator finds who this lone traveller truly is.
To say that this series is brilliant is an understatement. Also, to say that it leaves you scared for what the future holds is hugely diluting the feeling. It leaves you scarred, scared and gets you thinking about what the future holds. Go ahead and binge watch it if you can handle that much darkness. I would suggest pacing it out for your sanity, but do watch, it is BRILLIANT (if I haven’t said it enough already).
Time per episode: 45-90 mins