The Twilight Zone, and BLACK MIRROR, the relatively new (2011-14) hour-long British television series from Channel 4 that tackles the idea of our new technology and how it is affecting society. It does this via a half dozen stand-alone episodes that involve different characters, their employment and relationships with friends and family. And although it is "futuristic," it is only just so -- the technology and situations we see here are but a few steps away from what we are already experiencing. Yet Black Mirror is as au courant and subtle as The Twilight Zone was (often, at least) well ahead of its time and ham-fisted in its telling.
Charlie Brooker, shown at left, the series (from the four out of six episodes I've so far seen) is extremely bright in terms of its smart, fast dialog and minimal exposition, even as its subject matter is exceedingly dark. Brooker both created the series and wrote seven of its (so far) nine installments, and his touch is light but definitive. The series is satirical in its way and often darkly humorous -- but with a gasp just behind the laugh so that it remains a genuinely serious look at the way we (almost) live now.
Rory Kinnear, front row center, above) and his staff coming up against a kidnapping of a member of the royal family (in which the ransom is a deal-breaking doozy) to a future in which proles run on treadmills (are they perhaps producing energy) for their daily bread, while aspiring to appear on a TV talent show all too much like the schlock with which we're already saddled. (That's Rupert Everett, below, right, as the smarmiest of the three "talent judges.")
Daniel Kaluuya (above) and Downton Abbey's Jessica Brown Findlay (below). Despite the futuristic time table, how each of these decent and quirky characters ends up is filled with the same shame exhibited by our current society.
Her, but goes its own way and discovers, as is Mr. Brooker's wont, as many negatives as positives to this new "technology." Actors Hayley Atwell (below, left) and Domhnall Gleeson (below, right) bring to life their two memorable characters with grace and grit.
Christmas special with Jon Hamm very soon, as well as the rest of Season Three), but I am in no hurry. For one thing, I don't want this experience to come to an end. Secondly, as none of the episodes connect to another in any ongoing way, there's no need to binge.