Entertainment TV Why Black Mirror is the most disturbing show of 2016

Why Black Mirror is the most disturbing show of 2016

Black Mirror Netflix
'Black Mirror' forces its audience to ask 'what if?'. Photo: Netflix
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The third season of dark drama Black Mirror has hit Netflix like a wrecking ball and is guaranteed to disturb your dreams for months to come.

Black Mirror is part analysis of the invasive effect modern technology has on our lives and part cringe-fest of awkward pathos and social satire.

Unlike the two previous seasons in the series which pivoted on shock value, this new season offers slow-burn stories of a reality only slightly distorted from our own.

The show draws on on topical scenarios, like the anxiety of conforming to social media pressure or being hacked for private, sexually explicit material.

Each tale slowly unwinds, picks up pace and then drives home the underlying message with superb and subtle scripting and performances, leaving a path of human wreckage and despair in its wake.

Black Mirror
Don’t pray for redemption for any of the characters in Black Mirror – it won’t happen. Photo: Netflix

The plot

Black Mirror has a very simple premise: what if?

There are so many moments that play on the mind well after an episode has finished. The power of Black Mirror is that it presents a reality that could very well be our own. ‘Would I say that? I wouldn’t make that choice… or would I?’

What if the way we rate online posts were applied to everyday human interactions? Imagine rating your barista on their smile or your co-worker based on a passing morning chat in the elevator to your floor.

Imagine next that your personal rating determines the level of housing, occupation or friendship circle for which you ‘qualify’. If your rating is too low, don’t worry; you can consult a social coach to improve your score!

Black Mirror
Imagine if you could rate friends, colleagues and strangers to determine their quality of life. Photo: Netflix

Compelling in a car crash kind of way, these Machiavellian techno-dramas may seem predictable at first, but each unique tale is anything but.

Just when you think you know where a story is heading, it takes a turn, usually for the worst, as cracks widen and propel our protagonist deeper into an abyss of the macabre, where redemption is elusive and laden with compromise.

Watch the trailer for Black Mirror (warning: coarse language)

The cast

Created by British satirist Charlie Brooker and starring the most talented actors you’re likely to ever witness on the small screen, Black Mirror debuted on Great Britain’s Channel 4 in 2011 and attracted an instant cult following.

After a brief period in limbo, the series now has a home with US streaming media giant, Netflix, picking up where the last Christmas special – starring Jon Hamm – left off in 2014.

black mirror
The cast of Black Mirror is a who’s who of television stars, like House of Cards actor Michael Kelly. Photo: Netflix

The list of directors and cast assembled for the third season is just as impressive, with stellar talents including Bryce Dallas Howard (Jurassic World), Michael Kelly (House of Cards), Alice Eve (Star Trek: Into Darkness), Wyatt Russell (22 Jump Street), Gugu Mbatha-Raw (Jupiter Ascending), Kelly MacDonald (Boardwalk Empire), to name a few.

You may think you have the stomach for a dive into the dark side of modern life, but chances are Black Mirror is a trip you may wish you had never taken.

You can watch Black Mirror now on Netflix.

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