Ever since the mind-bending British series Black Mirror began streaming on Netflix, there has been a lot of talk about its similarity to the classic sci-fi showThe Twilight Zone. Both shine a fascinating light on the good and bad side of humanity, and each episode of both series are self-contained.
If you were to describe Black Mirror to a friend as "a modern Twilight Zone," you wouldn't be totally wrong. At the same time, the two shows deliver their messages in some very different ways.
'Black Mirror' Has A Sex-Filled Future
The Twilight Zone never really dealt with the impact that sex would have on our future. The explanation for this is really pretty simple: since this series aired during the late '50s and early '60s, censors at the time would simply not let them deal with the topic.
In many of Black Mirror's episodes, however, sex is a pivotal part of the future, for better or for worse. In the episode "Be Right Back," an android built from someone's social media profile learns how to make love to his girlfriend by watching porn. In episodes such as "15 Million Merits" and "Men Against Fire," porn is used to heavily sedate and control the populous from noticing the devastation going on around them. Black Mirror implies that sexual fantasies could even be implanted in our brains and controlled by someone else.
Considering The Twilight Zone's brilliant writer and creator Rod Serling explored controversial subjects such as violence and racism, I'm sure if the censors would have let him explore sex throughout the series, he would have.
- What's Up With All The Porn In 'Black Mirror'?
- How The 'Black Mirror' Season 3 Premiere Is Dead On About Our Social Media Obsession
- Days Of Future Past: 6 Times 'Black Mirror' Predicted The Future We Live In
'The Twilight Zone' Was Concerned With Aliens
"The Monster Are Due on Maple Street," "To Serve Man," "Dr. Dingle, the Strong," "Will The Real Martian Please Stand up," "Hocus Pocus and Frisby," "The Gift," "Black Leather Jackets" and "The Fear" are all Twilight Zone episodes that have one thing in common: they're all stories about extraterrestrials.
This is one topic that is strikingly missing from Black Mirror. The Twilight Zone often explored the many different ways interactions with alien lifeforms could change our way of life on earth. Some episodes were comical, such as "Mr. Dingle, the Strong," when aliens give a goofy guy super powers in order to see how humans would handle the responsibility. The results are very humorous and not at all surprising.
However, "The Monsters Are Due on Maple Street" is in no way humorous. In this episode, people viciously turn on each other as aliens manipulate our normal way of life. Whether sinister or played for laughs, The Twilight Zone gave us a lot to consider when thinking about whether there are other lifeforms in the universe.
If Black Mirror really wants to solidify itself as a sci-fi classic, it might be a good idea for it to explore the popular sci-fi theme of aliens!
'The Twilight Zone' Gave Us The Kids' Perspective
While The Twilight Zone dealt with the paranormal and supernatural, Black Mirror deals exclusively with technology. With technology being used by pretty much everyone these days, I have to question why children are not featured more in the Black Mirror series. The Twilight Zone constantly explored how sci-fi futures would affect little ones.
The episode "The Bewitchin' Pool" is a chilling story about neglected children who find a world of paradise in the bottom of their swimming pool. At first the story appears very whimsical, but if you think about it more, the episode is a warning about what leads to teen suicide and runaways.
"It's a Good Life" is a classic Twilight Zone episode about a little boy who terrorizes a town with his ability to create, destroy and disfigure people and animals. This episode gave me nightmares as a child! The moral of the story is pretty clear to me now that I am an adult: give our children everything they want — and deliver no consequences when they misbehave — and they turn out to be monsters.
While they're different shows due to the eras in which they were produced, The Twilight Zone and Black Mirror both do exceptional jobs at delivering chilling cautionary tales about what the future holds for us. Are we taking their warnings seriously?