Image credit: Flickr/neXtplanaut
Charlie Brooker brings Netflix viewers another haunting, yet addictive, season of the Netflix original series ‘Black Mirror’ for the fourth time. With the previous seasons leaving its viewers with a powerful perspective of humanity, and the future that may be encroaching on us, Brooker puts a refreshing twist on this season with his exploration of the dangerous, and often fatal, potential that advances in science and technology could have on our race. And for those of you that are unfamiliar with the series, you can start at season 4 without watching the previous three. One of the many great things about this original programme is that each episode is in isolation: covering a different concept, in a completely different setting and with completely new characters. If you’re like me and hopeless when it comes to keeping up to date with series, this is one to try…
Across the six episodes, Brooker addresses the contemporary concepts of gaming, dating software, and tracking devices, whilst innovating some unnerving presentations of human memory and conscience preservation. Below I give my personal take on a couple of my favourite episodes from this series- I’ve tried as best as I can to avoid giving too many spoilers.
Episode 2- Arkangel
If you’ve ever considered your mum or dad to be somewhat of a ‘paranoid’ parent, you’ll find yourself extremely grateful after watching this episode. Brooker tackles the parental fear of exposing children to the real world, intertwined with a revolutionary tracking device which allows one mother to monitor all that her daughter sees and does. Nevertheless, this serious attempt to protect her daughter fr
om the evils of the world soon transforms into something much more controlling when she chooses to reactive the device further into her daughter’s teenage years- leading her to see much more than she’d wished to. A harrowing reminder of our human right to privacy.
Episode 4- Hang the DJ
Whilst I’m still yet to discover the connection between the title of this episode and the content of the episode itself, this clever insight into the future of blind dating is a careful reminder of the importance of keeping it ‘real’ in the world of romance. Brooker gives Tinder, match.com and EHarmony a run for their money with this new take on online dating which brings its life-long users to a restaurant where they are aptly matched with new lad or lady. Like any other dating website, this new system helps individuals to experience a range of characters before finding the one that’s ‘right’ for them. But it’s the system’s complete dominance over this final decision that spurs two of its users to break free from the chain. A promise of romance which suppresses the laws of destiny.
Episode 6- Black Museum
The most chilling episode of them all is set in an abandoned museum in the Australian outback which a young, inquisitive teenager travelling nearby is keen to explore. The owner of the museum; a man roughly in his 40s- gives the girl a detailed and slightly horrifying history of the items on display. An electronically wired headpiece which enabled a pain-addicted doctor to experience his dying patients’ pain; a cuddly bear which is the eternal host of a coma patient’s neglected conscience; a holographic projection of a wrongly-convicted murderer which the owner revels in the manual electrocution of. But when the girl reveals her close connection with the innocent electrocution target, it is the owner which soon becomes a part of the most helpless display in the museum. A twisted tale of tyranny.