If you were going to ask for a series recommendation on Netflix, Black Mirror would most likely be a part of these suggestions.
Why not? Since the series finally landed on the popular streaming platform in 2015, it has never left Netflix and is one of the most mind-bending shows.
For starters, Black Mirror is a British anthology set in a dystopia where each episode introduces a new concept or technology in the near future that also serves as a commentary on social issues.
The episodes have dark twists and impactful insights to leave their viewers reflecting on society and technology for days. Here are some of those ideas that shook us to the core.
‘Resurrecting’ the dead through android
From the episode: Be Right Back (Season 2)
The first episode that kick-started the series’s second season focuses on themes of death and the grief that follows—especially when it concerns the death of a loved one.
When Martha loses her husband, Ash, she is introduced to a technology that allows people to communicate with their deceased. Later, Martha was instructed by the virtual Ash on how to ‘clone’ him via an android.
To replicate the experience of being with your loved one again, this technology gathers information from the dead’s social media interactions and activities.
While we entertain a similar idea, particularly when we have experienced our share of loss, this episode makes us realize there are consequences when we play ‘God.’ In a sense, technology can never truly replace the original nor fill the emptiness left by the deceased.
Gaining prestige to live comfortably by rating others
From the episode: Nosedive (Season 3)
The concept of Nosedive’s dystopia is relatively simple and the most relatable because it plays on the idea that people have their respective ratings in society, which others can boost or downgrade.
The way someone lives in this kind of future depends on their rating. For example, Lacie (the protagonist) can only buy her dream luxury apartment if she raises her current rating of 4.2 to 4.5. Consequently, a low rating equates a person to a lowlife in society—a freeloader, an outcast, a criminal perhaps.
This episode received positive audience feedback and served as a wake-up call, especially to a generation fixated on gaining attention on social media, even if it meant doing wild and inappropriate stunts.
It also made people reflect on seeing the worth of others through genuine human connection versus merely finding someone worthy just because of what they post online.
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Limited relationships imposed by a dating app
From the episode: Hang the DJ (Season 4)
Hang the DJ primarily focuses on the future of dating applications where a person is matched with another and is given a time limit for a relationship with one another.
In this episode, the dating app “Coach” demonstrates this idea through Amy and Frank, who cannot love freely because the app forcibly ends budding relationships even if two people are meant for each other.
There is an emphasis on what happens when dating apps control how we find that special someone to the point of emotional dissociation. We can no longer enjoy a genuine love for others beyond sex and companionship in a few hours.
It’s frustrating and scary to think that you can only experience the love of another person for a limited time. Still, it’s saddening to know that hopping from one relation to another could eventually cause the numbing of our emotions.
Dark secrets divulged by hackers
From the episode: Shut Up and Dance (Season 3)
This episode makes the audience think twice about whether the protagonist (Kenny) deserved what happened to him, especially the revelation about Kenny in the end.
Whether you think he does or not, we can all agree that what Kenny underwent with the virus-slash-hacker is something we do not want to happen, especially to young people.
Shut Up and Dance explores the ‘what ifs’ when it comes to the possibility that hackers can be more advanced with their tactics and more dangerous, like blackmailing their target or exposing personal information.
Other than its emphasis on computer protection and safety, there is also a call for parents and guardians to monitor the kinds of files or activities young people online have as there may be destructive or inappropriate behavior their children are entertaining.
Replaying memories, both good and bad
From the episode: The Entire History of You (Season 1)
While season 1 initially started with three episodes—this being the season finale—it was one of the most memorable (excuse the pun) Black Mirror episodes that made you look forward to more seasons.
The Entire History of You introduces us to what they call a “grain” technology that allows humans to replay memories to watch and share with others via a small chip implant.
The trouble with this kind of tech began when Liam (protagonist) grew suspicious over his wife’s intimacy with one of her male friends. This leads him to investigate his and his wife’s memories to try and find some light in their relationship, which eventually leads to a downward spiral of revelations.
The concept of not only recalling scenes from memory but being able to watch them as if watching a movie is a beautiful idea. But then again, the downside of it is that it might lead to pain and destruction when used carelessly and obsessively.
Black Mirror as a reflection on the downside of technology
Perhaps what makes Black Mirror as fascinating as it is disturbing is how closely it resembles our reality, living alongside technology.
We cannot deny that our technology has advanced so much that it even surprises the humans who conceived the machines we have now. It’s incredible to think that they are not just machines but intelligent machines who can help solve problems, communicate similarly to human speech, and more.
Black Mirror showcases the awesome power of technology and what may happen if we lose control of our humanity by allowing technology to decide our actions.