Do you remember what it's like to be surrounded by nature? Playing in the grass, swimming in rivers, sending letters to your friends? Spending your days outdoors? Neither do I really. Like most people, I live in a city and I spend a large chunk of my day online or looking at a screen. I surround myself with devices that I feel dependent on and without them I feel disconnected from the world at large. Like it or not but we've already fully embraced a future we aren't quite ready for.
Black Mirror is a satirical show that uses the darkest of dark humor to discuss how the #technology we surround ourselves with is not as harmless as it seems. Each episode analyses how different technological 'advances' affect contemporary society or a society in the not so distant future. The show debuted on Channel 4 back in 2011 but will premiere Season 3 via Netflix on October 21, 2016.
Check out the trailer for the Season 3:
Creator and show-runner, Charlie Brooker, intertwines black humor, science fiction and social commentary into stunning, 30-minute segments that literally force us to wake up and smell the coffee. Below, we're going to take a look at the times Black Mirror prophesized, predicted or hit the nail on the head with its spot-on social commentary.
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1. A Comedian Runs For The Highest Political Office In The Land
- Episode: "The Waldo Moment" – Season 2, Episode 3
What Happens? A comedian (Daniel Rigby) makes a living as the voice of Waldo, a cartoon political pundit who interviews and criticizes politicians. Frustrated with the lack of viewers, the producers decide to enter Waldo into the local by-elections where he starts to succeed and win the confidence of the people.
Relevance: Donald Trump is not a politician. He has made it this far by consistently rebelling against the idea of what a politician should be. He has turned the democratic process into an elaborate spectacle of comedy and memes. In an interview with Vulture, Brooker talked about how this episode was based on Boris Johnson, who he called a "quasi-Trump," and how these anti-politicians have risen to power. He said:
"There was a feeling that politicians were all bland robots parroting the same platitudes, and suddenly now you’ve got colorful characters springing up. Here was an entertainer coming along and taking advantage of that."
2. Social Media Forcing People To Put Forward A Fake Version Of Themselves
- Episode: "Nosedive" – Season 3, Episode 1
What Happens? Lacie is a young girl who experiences reality through her phone. She is so obsessed with her online rating and what other users think of her that her perception of reality begins to melt and she has a nervous breakdown.
Relevance: I consider myself to be a rational, well-adjusted grown man so why do I care how many likes my Instagram posts get? Mobile internet has provided us with a sense of control over the chaos of the world. It has become a physical reflex for us to check on our virtual selves – who's sending us messages? Who likes our photos? Who agrees with our statuses?
Our phones have not only become an extension of our personalities but a filter through which we perceive the world. Don't believe me? You're reading this article on your phone, aren't you?
3. Bringing Loved Ones Back From The Dead In The Form Of A Digital Avatar
- Episode: "Be Right Back" – Season 2, Episode 1
What Happens? Shortly after a young couple move into a remote cottage, Ash passes away in a terrifying accident. Martha is urged to try a new service that will allow her to chat to him through social media using the history of his online presence. In doing this, she creates a simulated version of her late boyfriend.
Relevance: A company called Eternime has begun developing software that will allow you to upload your entire personal life story and combine it with your social media history to create a virtual version of yourself. Although it's still at a primitive stage, Black Mirror predicted this desire to obtain immortality through software. However, no matter how advanced the technology is, it will never be able to grasp what makes us truly human merely using cold data.
4. That Time One Of The Most Powerful Politicians In The World Made Love To A Pig
- Episode: "The National Anthem" – Season 1, Episode 1
What Happens? When the Princess of the British Royal family is kidnapped, the Prime Minister is willing to do whatever it takes to get her back in one piece. The kidnapper has only one request: He will deliver the beloved Princess back, unharmed, once the Prime Minister appears on live TV and has sex with a pig.
Relevance: Despite winning two elections, David Cameron received almost nationwide contempt. His relentless campaign of austerity targeted the working class to try and repair the damage of the 2008 financial crisis.
To make matters worse and to further alienate the Prime Minister from the average Briton, news began spilling out about the PM's wild student days at Oxford University. This included a particularly debauched night of cocaine and champagne that ended with young Cameron making love (if you can call it that) to a dead pig's head. Newspapers everywhere exploded with hilarious headlines and Charlie Brooker sat back and said "I told you so."
5. Contact Lenses That Allow Us To Constantly Monitor And Replay Everything We See
- Episode: "The Entire History Of You" – Season 1, Episode 3
What Happens? In a not-so-distant future, everyone is equipped with state-of-the-art contact lenses that record everything we see. Naturally, people start to replay the recorded memories to nit-pick over details they've overlooked, hidden meanings in things their lovers have said, and the general highs and lows of their lives.
Relevance: Samsung have already patented a prototype of contact lens that will connect to the user's phone to record everything they see and display information over their eyeball. Like all new technological advances, we are initially excited by the utopian potential of this new invention but the reality is that most of us would use it to relive our finest and worst moments, over and over and over.
6. The Dangers of VR
- Episode: "Playtest" – Season 3, Episode 6
What Happens? Cooper (Wyatt Russell) travels the world seeking out adventure but bites off more than he can chew when he signs up for an experimental, VR gaming experience.
Relevance: An estimated 72% of American households play video games over 20 hours a week and unhealthy addictions to gaming are a growing concern. Add VR companies like Occulus Rift, Google and Samsung, and gaming becomes less of a fun past time and more like toxic escapism from reality.
Are you looking forward to 'Black Mirror' Season 3?