Black Mirror – A Review

Photo from BBC – Black Mirror: “The Waldo Moment”

The only word that comes to mind is disturbing.  If you haven’t finished all six episodes on Netflix, I suggest you get started.  Be prepared to feel uneasy about the modern technology-driven world we live in.  After your binge of the 2 short seasons, you’ll think, living off the grid doesn’t seem so hippy now, does it?

Each self-contained episode is a cautionary tale of increased human dependency on technology.  The dark side of human nature and technology is explored through the eyes of a main character who is unable to control their own circumstances.  The first episode, “National Anthem,” was shocking, to say the least.  It explores the power that people lose once they become desperate.  You’ll find yourself wondering, what would I do?

A few of the episodes take jabs at modern entertainment and 24-hour news access.  The second episode comes to mind, “Fifteen Million Merits.”  It’s one of my favorites.  The episode parodies the popular talent search shows like American Idol.

Be Right Back is downright creepy, showcasing a woman whose husband died.  Technology allows her to stay connected with her husband.  She doesn’t really mourn, doesn’t move on.

There is a similar theme in The Entire History of You.  While it isn’t my favorite episode, it does highlight how we can become obsessed with our past, forgetting about living now.  The main character obsessed over every detail of his memories, using an implant that allows him to watch scenes over and over again.  Another character in that episode revealed she didn’t have such an implant.  The entire dinner party was appalled.  Rumor has it that this episode is going to be used as the basis for a film by Robert Downey Jr.

I’m definitely ready for more episodes.  Season 3 began last December on BBC.  I’ll just have to be patient until it comes on Netflix.  At that rate, I might be living on my homestead, in the middle of nowhere, with my solar panels, no cell phone, and horse-drawn carriage in order to avoid the tech-dependent zombies of the future.

Broadchurch – How I Spent the First Day of 2015

broadchurch

I watched all eight episodes back to back on Netflix. All those goals I had for the year? Yeah, delayed by a day to watch this powerful show. Cam already watched it previously and recommended it every day until I had the time and was in the right mind set to watch a murder mystery. After it was all over, all I could ask myself was, “Why did I wait so long?”

The show was called the British Twin Peaks on other sites. It’s been at least 10 years since I’ve seen Twin Peaks, so I can’t compare the nuances of the shows. The basic similarities are these: a small town, a murder, a outsider detective charged with solving it…and everyone has secrets.

The first episode was so powerful and emotional. Maybe I’m just emotional. The storytelling is so well done, you really feel the pain of the characters. Cam compared the first episode to Buffy, Season 5, episode 16, “The Body,” when Buffy’s mother dies. It enticed a similar feeling of hopelessness and lost. You feel the pain of the family.

Not only did I feel for the family, but the residents of the town. They were all suspect. David Tenant gives a compelling performance as the outsider detective with his own inner demons. He helps a local detective Ellie Miller, played by Olivia Colman, see her neighbors from a different perspective. She always would cast naive doubt when someone was brought in for questioning. As the show goes on, she slowly becomes more and more jaded, realizing that everyone she knows and trusts in town has secrets of their own.

I even felt for those brought in as suspects. I would suspect them in one episode, and the next realize they kept secrets to hide from their own painful pasts. The local media also played a role in smearing a couple of the suspects. People were willing to believe anything about someone they don’t know well enough. They were afraid of what they didn’t understand. They didn’t have all the information, and the sensationalized media helped them fill in the gaps and jump to conclusions.

In the end, some of the characters learned that they were blind to those they loved and were unable to see what they were hiding. Other didn’t learn that lesson. They continued to be judgmental. I learned that you can never really understand what someone is going through unless you experience it yourself. We all judge others, but at least I can make a deliberate effort to examine a situation from all sides before making assumptions about how I would have done it differently.

There were just a few minor things I didn’t enjoy about the show. There is a psychic. For a while, I wondered if he would turn out to be real or fake. I would have preferred fake. Otherwise, I didn’t see how it fit into the story. This wasn’t Medium or Ghost Whisper. The family made national news, so crazies coming out of the woodwork would have made more sense. More development on some of the minor characters would have been nice, although I understand the time constraints. That just makes me want to watch Season 2! I am not sure of the direction Season 2 will take. I do understand that there will not be another murder. As long as David Tenant is still in it, I’ll look forward to watching it!