Black Mirror, your next Netflix binge

Black Mirror, written by Charlie Brooker, was a British television show until Netflix picked it up for an American series and continued to create Season 3, its latest season. Even if you don’t like Sci-Fi, it’s worth binge watching.

The show has a unique and engrossing style. These six episodes all differ from one another, including a new plot and new actors for each one. Every episode takes a current topic or issue in our society such as social media or a virtual world alternative from your own, and exaggerates it to the point of destruction.

Each beginning pulls you in with a futuristic-like theme or setting, and the stories will keep your eyes glued and your curiosity piqued with the almost gruesome and outlandish scenarios.

Along with the compelling storylines, the line-up of actors chosen for Season 3 went beyond expectations. From Jon Hamm, known for the Mad Men series, and Bryce Dallas Howard, most famously known for her role in the Twilight franchise to her latest role in the sequel of Jurassic World.

Season 3, Episode 1 or “Nosedive” explores the status, the threat, and the everyday use of social media. Social media and technology now affects our lifestyles, our employment, and how people perceive who we are over the internet.

In this episode, Brooker takes that idea to a greater extent and who you are over the internet is how you get rated in real life. People who have a rating below 2.5 are considered lower-class and unemployable. A good rating would be considered around 4.2 to be received well by a “higher class” community. Photos you post online, the friends you keep, and even the places you visit all affect your personal rating.
For her performance in this episode, Bryce Dallas Howard, who plays Lacie, was nominated for a Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Miniseries or Television Movie.

Episode 2, or “Playtest”, is based on a virtual reality universe, but not as we know it today. Instead of VR being used for entertainment, this chapter explores manipulation of the brain with a fake-reality as a form of punishment. Unlike other episodes in the series, this falls more into the horror genre with some scary and jumpy moments.

“Shut Up and Dance” is an episode that flips your switch. First, you may find yourself siding with one character, then you may find yourself siding with the so-called “bad guy.” This episode shifts the viewer’s perspective.

“San Junipero” is an American party town and not a typical Black Mirror episode. This episode is uncharacteristic because of its sunny atmosphere, positive use of technology, and portrayal of hope. It is a beautiful love story between a lesbian couple, set in the late ‘80s. It’s a mix of modern technology and social community but is set in the past. Unlike the previous installments, San Junipero is not a horrific tragedy, but a heartwarming with an unexpected ending.

“Man Against Fire” deals with a number a real world issues, from the Holocaust to our current refugee crisis. It’s how we become almost robotic by the way we think and act towards others from different countries or backgrounds. Sometimes it’s easier to believe a lie than to stand up and escape societal beliefs.

The last episode of the season, “Heated In The Nation”, did not disappoint with Brooker’s classic element of detective mystery and an unusual murder investigation with a futuristic technology twist.

Overall, the episodes are all solid, intense, and dramatic with important and puzzling takeaways. It’s worth the binge watch if you have a strong stomach.