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  1. #1
    @.~*virinaĉo*~.@ Totenkindly's Avatar
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    Default Black Mirror (UK)

    Okay, I figured I'd start a thread on this because it was my new momentary obsession -- once I started watching this show, I couldn't stop until I'd seen every episode. it's kind of a modern Outer Limits / Twilight Zone spin on the interface of culture and technology.

    It's a bit cynical and even sarcastic at times, but never to the degree that it just seems like an assault: THe scariest element of the series is that so much of it seems believable (at least, if certain technological hurdles could be cleared), and some of the tech being explored is actual tech we're seeing either developed this very day and/or companies investing lots of money to develop right now.

    So far there are seven episodes that have been released (the latest being the "Christmas" episode); the production quality is very clean and appropriate, the directing and editing and tone is great, and each episode typically features a decent fairly well-known actor along with very solid supporting cast. This ain't Tales from the Darkside or some "schlocky" production, this is the same quality as House of Cards for example.

    I don't want to go into a lot of detail in the OP, since part of the fun is watching these and seeing them unfold. But the current seven episodes and reference points:

    1. The National Anthem: YouTube culture, video terrorism, newsroom dynamics, public opinion fluxuation/reinforcement due to speed of Internet news

    2. Fifteen Million Merits: Commercialistic dystopia, personalized advertising, consumerism, TV reality competition shows, voicelessness/meaninglessness in the Internet age where anything can be packaged and sold

    3. The Entire History of You: Subjectivity of facts/memory; human need for control; electronic self-absorption; living in the virtual past vs the authentic present

    4. Be Right Back: Human simulation; dealing with loss; relational dynamics between AI and human

    5. White Bear: Perceptions of reality; voyeuristic culture; social tools of crime and punishment

    6. The Waldo Moment: Reality and politics; issues versus image/entertainment; anti-politism as a stance; fluidity of substance under the static image

    7. White Christmas: Cross-spoken communication, electronic voyeurism, "blocking" others / pervasive social alienation, enslaved AI, perceptions of time

    Like I said, the scariest thing is that the kind of tech and scenarios represented here are actual things that seem plausible -- Episode 1 could actually happen today, and the tech in the rest is something we've partly developed and/or companies are investing money to develop, although we might never be able to take it quite so far. But it's all very relevant and real.
    "Hey Capa -- We're only stardust." ~ "Sunshine"

    “Pleasure to me is wonder—the unexplored, the unexpected, the thing that is hidden and the changeless thing that lurks behind superficial mutability. To trace the remote in the immediate; the eternal in the ephemeral; the past in the present; the infinite in the finite; these are to me the springs of delight and beauty.” ~ H.P. Lovecraft

  2. #2
    not to be trusted miss fortune's Avatar
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    haven't seen the christmas episode yet, but we watched the others a few weeks ago

    actually sparked some interesting discussions... especially the entire history of you (heard somewhere that there's talks about making that into a stand alone movie, but I won't believe it until it's more than talks)
    “Oh, we're always alright. You remember that. We happen to other people.” -Terry Pratchett

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    @.~*virinaĉo*~.@ Totenkindly's Avatar
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    For now, spoilered, but maybe we should just spoiler the thread so that we can talk openly. There's a lot to discuss.


    The most poignant for me was probably Episode 3 (The Complete History of You).



    The most disturbing, Episode 5 (White Bear). You need to watch that one through and not assume where it's going.


    My least favorite was Episode 6 (Waldo).


    The Christmas special was pretty delicious. I think the last few minutes are kind of skin-crawling, even if the effects made me laugh at one part.
    "Hey Capa -- We're only stardust." ~ "Sunshine"

    “Pleasure to me is wonder—the unexplored, the unexpected, the thing that is hidden and the changeless thing that lurks behind superficial mutability. To trace the remote in the immediate; the eternal in the ephemeral; the past in the present; the infinite in the finite; these are to me the springs of delight and beauty.” ~ H.P. Lovecraft

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    Vulnerability Eilonwy's Avatar
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    Haven't watched the Christmas special yet. Looking forward to it.
    Johari / Nohari

    “That we are capable only of being what we are remains our unforgivable sin.” ― Gene Wolfe

    reminder to self: "That YOU that you are so proud of is a story woven together by your interpreter module to account for as much of your behavior as it can incorporate, and it denies or rationalizes the rest." "Who's in Charge? Free Will and the Science of the Brain" by Michael S. Gazzaniga

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    Senior Member riva's Avatar
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    Watched it and hated it.

    I watched the first and the waldo episode. Hated them both

    Where were the plot twists the show promised???? It's been the most obvious depressing plots and most obvious options for the protagonists so far.

    It deeply u derestimatss the potential of the victimized politicians. You think a kidnapper or jerk with a mike is the best at swaying the public, then you haven't met politicians.
    .

  6. #6
    Wake, See, Sing, Dance Cellmold's Avatar
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    I really enjoyed this series myself and I've always been a fan of Charlie Brooker anyhow. I have to give thanks to @Salomé for putting me onto it.

    Fifteen million merits stood out a lot at first as it seemed omnirepresentative of what's happening right now, but of course on further watching, every episode was a picking of the scabs of humanities relationship with technology and with itself as a species.
    In fact I share your view of White Bear @Jennifer. The questions raised on the old ' punishment fitting the crime' notion of justice, which is really a packaged version of vengeance, and what it reveals about the brutality of human nature through the justification of being wronged, were well presented. Also as you said, the crime itself was horrifying and is part of a deliberate ploy to make sure you have nowhere safe to turn morally.

    It's an aspect that is often, though not always, explored in this series. That is to say: there is no clear answer and it's the bane of black and white thinking.
    'One of (Lucas) Cranach's masterpieces, discussed by (Joseph) Koerner, is in it's self-referentiality the perfect expression of left-hemisphere emptiness and a precursor of post-modernism. There is no longer anything to point to beyond, nothing Other, so it points pointlessly to itself.' - Iain McGilChrist

    Suppose a tree fell down, Pooh, when we were underneath it?"
    "Suppose it didn't," said Pooh, after careful thought.
    Piglet was comforted by this.
    - A.A. Milne.

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    Vulnerability Eilonwy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by riva View Post
    Watched it and hated it.

    I watched the first and the waldo episode. Hated them both

    Where were the plot twists the show promised???? It's been the most obvious depressing plots and most obvious options for the protagonists so far.

    It deeply u derestimatss the potential of the victimized politicians. You think a kidnapper or jerk with a mike is the best at swaying the public, then you haven't met politicians.
    Here's my take on the series: Like any fable parable, it's not based on facts, but realistic enough to be relatable so that the viewer can be led to whatever moral the story is trying to get across, or to prod the viewer into thinking or seeing a different pov.

    I thought the first episode was weak compared to the others, but I focus mainly on the human interaction and the lessons I can learn from that, not so much on plot twists.


    ETA: Clarifying--The first episode was weak for me because the moral was obvious--not much ambiguity or room to think critically about the lesson being presented. Lots of disgust/shock factor instead. Even Waldo had more layers to it, making it more interesting to me on a human level as opposed to just as a story.
    Johari / Nohari

    “That we are capable only of being what we are remains our unforgivable sin.” ― Gene Wolfe

    reminder to self: "That YOU that you are so proud of is a story woven together by your interpreter module to account for as much of your behavior as it can incorporate, and it denies or rationalizes the rest." "Who's in Charge? Free Will and the Science of the Brain" by Michael S. Gazzaniga

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    @.~*virinaĉo*~.@ Totenkindly's Avatar
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    The first episode was more straightforward than the others, but not entirely. Should he have capitulated to demands? Does his wife have reason to behave as she does? What were his real motives in succumbing? Did the guy behind it all still win? What if the PM didn't go along? Was it a lose/lose scenario all along? Etc.

    ----

    I found Waldo kind of boring as a cartoon character, although the style reminded me of Joe Cartoon a bit. Also ironic, I recognized the one actor because I had just watched lock stock and two smoking barrels the day before.

    Quote Originally Posted by riva View Post
    Watched it and hated it.

    I watched the first and the waldo episode. Hated them both

    Where were the plot twists the show promised???? It's been the most obvious depressing plots and most obvious options for the protagonists so far.
    Watch them in order next time.
    "Hey Capa -- We're only stardust." ~ "Sunshine"

    “Pleasure to me is wonder—the unexplored, the unexpected, the thing that is hidden and the changeless thing that lurks behind superficial mutability. To trace the remote in the immediate; the eternal in the ephemeral; the past in the present; the infinite in the finite; these are to me the springs of delight and beauty.” ~ H.P. Lovecraft

  9. #9
    Vulnerability Eilonwy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jennifer View Post
    The first episode was more straightforward than the others, but not entirely. Should he have capitulated to demands? Does his wife have reason to behave as she does? What were his real motives in succumbing? Did the guy behind it all still win? What if the PM didn't go along? Was it a lose/lose scenario all along? Etc.
    True. There was the "should one give in to terrorist demands?" issue that isn't easy to answer one way or the other. I think I found it weak/obvious because the episode didn't seem to add anything new to that particular debate besides the shock factor. That said, I still liked the episode. I just liked the subsequent episodes better.
    Johari / Nohari

    “That we are capable only of being what we are remains our unforgivable sin.” ― Gene Wolfe

    reminder to self: "That YOU that you are so proud of is a story woven together by your interpreter module to account for as much of your behavior as it can incorporate, and it denies or rationalizes the rest." "Who's in Charge? Free Will and the Science of the Brain" by Michael S. Gazzaniga

  10. #10
    @.~*virinaĉo*~.@ Totenkindly's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eilonwy View Post
    True. There was the "should one give in to terrorist demands?" issue that isn't easy to answer one way or the other. I think I found it weak/obvious because the episode didn't seem to add anything new to that particular debate besides the shock factor. That said, I still liked the episode. I just liked the subsequent episodes better.
    Agreed. I thought it was a decent "intro" episode, since the later episodes seem to really dig into things. I did like the ending, where it was clear there were ramifications to his choices + the fact
    "Hey Capa -- We're only stardust." ~ "Sunshine"

    “Pleasure to me is wonder—the unexplored, the unexpected, the thing that is hidden and the changeless thing that lurks behind superficial mutability. To trace the remote in the immediate; the eternal in the ephemeral; the past in the present; the infinite in the finite; these are to me the springs of delight and beauty.” ~ H.P. Lovecraft

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