Charlie Brookers new TV Series "Black Mirror"

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So, I just finished watching the first installment of Black Mirror, a three part Drama/Incredibly Dark Comedy series from the mind of Charlie Brooker (Screenwipe, Gameswipe, Dead Set, being the inspiration for Yahtzee), and I have to say, it's absolutely fantastic. Totally up to the minute satire that skewers modern politics and media like nothing else I've ever seen, and manages to be utterly hilarious and repulsive at the same time.

The series as a whole is described as a Twilight Zone for the media age. Each of the three hour long episodes are stand alone and each relate to a distinct part of the new media landscape, in the case of the first episode, the relation between media and modern politics, and the public's emotional disconnect with the people on the screen.

The way I described it makes it sound a bit dull, so let me absolutely assure you that it isn't.

Without giving too much away, the first episode, The National Anthem, starts with the kidnapping of Princess Suzannah. (A Lady Di-alike princess who is much beloved by the public)
A video is posted on youtube with her reading a statement saying that she will be executed unless the Prime Minister goes on live television at 4pm the same day and has live, uninterrupted sex with a pig. Cue much soul searching on the behalf of the prime minister.

Although it sounds puerile, Charlie Brooker masterfully uses this absurd premise to completely skewer the press, the internet, and post Tony Blair political media savvyness in an absolutely pitch perfect way. However, it's not a comedy. It's hilarious, but that's mainly because everyone in it plays the scenario as though it was totally straight, and that's what makes it brilliant. It's filmed totally in the style of a serious political drama, it's full of straight actors and nothing in it acknowledges the absurdity of the situation.

I purposefully didn't put this in the user review section, mainly because I don't think it's much of a review. The main reason I post this is to hopefully get people interested in what I think is probably one of the best things I've seen on television in recent years. If I've convinced you, UK viewers and anyone with Channel 4 can watch the next two episodes the following Sundays, at 9pm. The next episode, 15 Million Merits, concerns a hellish, 1984-esque future of toil where the only escape is going on an X-Factor style show and hoping you can impress the judges.

And for the required discussion value: How do you feel about Charlie Brooker? Prophet of our times or curmudgeonly grump? Do you know who he is?

I can't seem to bring myself to dislike him. Everything he says is funny yet informative to me. Like Cracked.com!

It was a pleasant surprise seeing he's made something i haven't seen yet.

ChocoFace:
I can't seem to bring myself to dislike him. Everything he says is funny yet informative to me. Like Cracked.com!

It was a pleasant surprise seeing he's made something i haven't seen yet.

Have you seen Dead Set? It's definitely worth it.

Nyargh Sex Robot:

ChocoFace:
I can't seem to bring myself to dislike him. Everything he says is funny yet informative to me. Like Cracked.com!

It was a pleasant surprise seeing he's made something i haven't seen yet.

Have you seen Dead Set? It's definitely worth it.

I haven't seen this.
Ask me again tomorrow and you will receive a different answer.

ChocoFace:

I haven't seen this.
Ask me again tomorrow and you will receive a different answer.

That's what I like to hear, soldier.

It's brilliant. More grounded than I expected it to be, I assumed from the adverts that it was about a society where you could record things with your eyes. (However that may be in a future episode).

Speaking of the adverts, fan-TASTIC choice of music. Portishead - The Rip. Suits the tone of it all perfectly.

I think he is damn awesome! Between him and Stuart Lee I think we have the best of British black humour right there! I will definately be keeping an eye out for black mirror when I return to the UK!

Disturbing... but that was the point. When you get the message, you really get it. That will probably be after the episode finishes as you are too busy making scrunchy faces in disgust.

Yeah I really er "enjoyed" it. Brooker is a great writer as Dead Set shows and he very much has his finger on the social pulse of the world (or at least Britain)

He's like a tamer version of Victor Lewis Smith.

Much like Dead Set, at first I was laughing at the brilliant dialouge and the premise itself but by the end I was horrified (In a good, moving way). That seems to be what Brooker is good at evolving his characters past one-dimensional jokes and really making you feel for them... And then killing them/making them fuck a pig.

Wish I watched it now. I thought I was a serious program so damn. Oh well always iplayer :D

Nyargh Sex Robot:
How do you feel about Charlie Brooker? Prophet of our times or curmudgeonly grump?

Both, easily both. I read his column in the Guardian whenever I get the opportunity. I'd say he's easily one of the better British writers around today.

I loved the show, but I do think that...

OriginalLadders:

Nyargh Sex Robot:

It was completely mental. But I loved every minute of it. To me he is the undisputed king of satire, and Black Mirror just bolstered that belief for me. This is satire done right.

OriginalLadders:

I haven't heard of this show before, though now you've certainly made me interested.

As for discussion value, I do know who Charlie Brooker is, and I'm quite a fan of his. The man is hysterically funny, and very informative as well, at least as far as the Wipe series goes. Don't know about him being prophet of our times though.

I paused to get food just before they made the demand and started thinking of funny things for it to be, but THAT was not one of them.
Imagine 8/10 cats the next week. "What have the nation been talking about?" "Well Jimmy... was it that the Prime Minister fucked a pig?"

On another note it was very unrealistic. David Cameron would of hit that without a second thought.

But to actually answer the Q, it was surprising but genius.

Goddam, it's bleak.

Much as I love Charlie's stuff, I really have to steel myself to watch it, because it always rips into you.

Bit too early to give my opinion on it, but I do think there should be a little more of the roll-in, roll-out that the Twilight Zone is/was famous for.

 

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