In 2015, Netflix green-lit the production of more episodes for the British sci-fi series “Black Mirror.” On Oct. 21, after a three-year hiatus, fans of this anthology series were finally grace with a third season that included six new episodes all in the hands of our binge obsession.
Satirical screenwriter and “Black Mirror” creator Charlie Brooker gave us another season portraying the frightening impact that technology has on society. It’s a dark sci-fi thriller that tells multiple stories of the vast possibilities of technology that are both astounding and horrifying. Think of the film “Ex Machina” but in a short episodic format with even more creative ideas.
Season three opens up with “Nosedive” co-written by Rashida Jones and Michael Schur and starring Bryce Dallas Howard (“Jurassic World” and “The Help”). The episode is visually striking with its pastel colors and prevalent use of the color white. “Nosedive” shows the effects of social media and how people can become dependent on how many “likes” one receives.
Every social encounter is ranked, and that ranking determines each person’s overall status that contributes to their likeability in the community. The less likes one person has, the fewer people want to engage with him or her and vice versa. All in all, this episode ignites skepticism in the credibility of influence that “Insta- Twitter- and Vine- famous” people have.
“Playtest” is, without a doubt, the most frightening episode on a more immediate and external level. Cooper, played by Wyatt Russell (“22 Jump Street”), is an American tourist who decides to participate in a test phase of a videogame concept to score some extra cash while abroad. The game Cooper is testing is supposed to tap into the player’s deepest fears, essentially augmenting the reality of the game. “Playtest” shows the idea that videogames can become so much a part of one’s life that it becomes hard to decipher what’s real and what is not. It shows the terrifying potential that upcoming virtual reality may have on its most interested victims.
The season’s third episode “Shut Up and Drive” could be the darkest episode of the season in regards to the power of the secrets behind technology and what they can do to people.
A seemingly innocent teenager, who partakes in what was supposed to be a private sexual act, is secretly recorded through his webcam and is blackmailed into doing illegal things just to keep his secret hidden. But who are the people blackmailing him? The answer doesn’t matter because those people represent the faceless beings online that relish in the sufferings of others. Unfortunately, they are out there.
Despite the fact that the characters in “San Junipero” develop a romantic relationship in another virtual reality-type world, the episode presents a deeper meaning about love that is conceived in the hands of technology. This episode allows viewers – of whom have likely experienced defeat or loss of love – to dream of an ultimate universe where fantasies can become true and escaping pain is somewhat possible. “San Junipero” reminds viewers of the heartbreak in the first season’s episode “Be Right Back” and how loss can sometimes be unbearable to the point of becoming desperate to be rid of it.
Shot in a visually chilling hue of grey, the message behind “Men Against Fire” hauntingly relates to military control and how the media can influence the way society reacts toward each other. A soldier begins to question who the “good” and “bad” people are in his missions to kill enemy “Roaches.” This causes friction between what he is programmed to believe and what is actually real.
The last episode of the season, “Hated by the Nation,” clocks in at almost an hour and 30 minutes stealing the title of longest episode from “White Christmas.” The dangerously colossal power and influence of social media and hackers have uncanny similarities to the world today. At the end of the episode, the participants are the ones to blame for creating the violence and fear.
The new season doesn’t bring nearly flawless episodes like “The Entire History of You” or the special episode “White Christmas,” but Brooker presents familiar yet new ideas that still threaten relationships and human existence. He forces his viewers to question the true meaning of life and the choices of our actions.
After three seasons and 13 episodes, Charlie Brooker’s “Black Mirror” is still an invaluable TV series that brings awareness to the dark side of technology that is very close to our lives today. This series will fascinate those who are most suspicious to the effects of technology, which can be anyone and everyone.
The technological advances in the sci-fi world of “Black Mirror” are either currently in development or are ideas being cultivated in today’s society. Though it may be exaggerated in this sci-fi series, the brutal honesty is that the technologically advanced world of “Black Mirror” isn’t as far away from the world today as some may think it is. That is a daunting reality to comprehend.