Author Topic: Black Mirror  (Read 1963 times)

oldkid

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Re: Black Mirror
« Reply #10 on: October 22, 2016, 01:33:04 PM »
Wish I didn't have to sleep.

Pretty much summarizes my whole life.
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1SO

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Re: Black Mirror
« Reply #11 on: October 22, 2016, 11:48:32 PM »
Would love to get some SPOILER talk going at some point.

Nosedive
Clever spin on internet habit of Rating, but I'm glad this was done with a light tone because it doesn't hold up if taken seriously at all. (The script is by Rashida Jones and Michael Schur.) Loved the pastel Art Direction, but it took too long to get going and was surprisingly long at the climactic scene, (a scene I thought we'd be spared.)

Playtest
A lot of this hinges on Wyatt Russell and his performance becomes increasingly irritating as he loses control of the situation, with a constant repetition of dialogue. This one aims to be more overtly a Horror episode, but there's a shallowness to the concept (acknowledged by Russell) that gives it less of a horrific impact than some later episodes. However, the character hates spiders and I hate spiders, so there's a moment where... yipes!

Shut Up and Dance
I see why this appears on the top and bottom of other ranked lists. It's ultimately a very mean episode. I'm talking Lars Von Trier levels of hatred for the characters. You can punch an audience in the gut without sickening them. That said, I prefer this approach to a pulled punch. In many ways, it's this Season's version of 'White Bear'.

San Junipero
Un-surprisingly, this emotion-filled, character rich episode is from the director of 'Be Right Back'. For a while, you might not recognize it as fitting the series at all. It takes place in the 80s, is free of modern technology and has a lot of hope. By the end it's very much a fitting part of the series, though it still is largely upbeat. A great example of the wide range of stories Black Mirror is capable of telling.

Men Against Fire
The dud. Easy to predict, overly literal interpretation of America's current political climate. By the end, I wished I had skipped this one. The best thing in it was a lead part by Sarah Snook (Predestination.)

Hated in the Nation
Feature-length, and a good summation of what makes Black Mirror so interesting. Mixing a sharp critique of social media with a police investigation and some of the most intense and scariest scenes of the series. I would say if you're on the fence about watching the show, this episode will make up your mind.



Complete Ranking of All Episodes
White Bear
San Junipero
Hated in the Nation
Fifteen Million Merits

Shut Up and Dance
White Christmas
The Entire History of You
Be Right Back

Nosedive
The National Anthem
Playtest

Men Against Fire
The Waldo Moment
« Last Edit: October 22, 2016, 11:53:03 PM by 1SO »

Junior

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Re: Black Mirror
« Reply #12 on: October 23, 2016, 12:18:06 AM »
This is all very exciting. I'm off to watch another one now, but I'm wondering if you could help me out a bit. I am hoping to teach one of these new episodes in a unit about obscenity and censorship. I did The National Anthem last time around and while it worked OK I was hoping a newer one could work even better. I'm gonna watch all of them, but are there any that you think might fall under that category that I should prioritize? I could make a case for Nosedive based on the idea of community censorship (which gets stronger in the second half, obviously), but that's a bit of a stretch I think.
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Bondo

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Re: Black Mirror
« Reply #13 on: October 23, 2016, 12:19:27 AM »
Oh, I'm excited to get there. I watched the first one, directed by Joe Wright. Loved the look of it, didn't love the pacing. Seemed like it could have been given a little more juice somewhere. Really liked the bit in the truck, even if it was exposition: the character. Bryce Dallas Howard does her thing pretty well, especially in that climax. Liked but didn't love this one.

I'm in the same boat, like the idea of the episode but something in the delivery was just a bit off.

1SO

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Re: Black Mirror
« Reply #14 on: October 23, 2016, 01:02:43 AM »
Junior, none of the episodes deal directly with obscenity and censorship, but - I'm going to be as vague as I can here - Hated in the Nation does get into people's freedom to say horrible things about hated public figures in an interesting way, and there's a discussion about the possibility of a country shutting down its own internet in the interest of national security.

Junior

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Re: Black Mirror
« Reply #15 on: October 23, 2016, 02:07:12 AM »
Cool, I'll check it out next, thanks!

Watched Playtest. Again liked but didn't love. There are two great Shocktober moments in the middle that easily make the overreacting and yelling worth it. Dan Trachtenberg's direction gives the locations some fun Kubrickian vibes and his the scares well, both expected following 10 Cloverfield Lane. What he doesn't nail this time around is the emotional impact. I'm not sure if that's in the writing or the performance or Trachtenberg not hitting the tone quite right.
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Bondo

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Re: Black Mirror
« Reply #16 on: October 23, 2016, 04:45:25 AM »
I think the problem with Playtest, aside from it being too shouty, is that it gets overly expository. It tells us too assertively what it is about. Still, I think it is better than Nosedive. More directly and emotionally felt rather than just being intellectually curious. Though I think it didn't know when to end.
« Last Edit: October 23, 2016, 04:48:38 AM by Bondo »

1SO

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Re: Black Mirror
« Reply #17 on: October 23, 2016, 10:37:58 AM »
One of the most interesting aspects of the series is that it will often go on long past where you think the story is over. I first noticed it with your favorite, Fifteen Million Merits. It hits that Twilight Zone twist stopping point and then delivers a new angle that in the end I'm glad they included. San Junipero, Hated in the Nation and White Bear are also examples. What separates Playtest is that I'm not sure the extra material adds anything, just like I'm certain the story didn't need to take so long getting to the game.

"Trachtenberg not hitting the tone quite right." That's it.

Bondo

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Re: Black Mirror
« Reply #18 on: October 23, 2016, 08:55:54 PM »
If anything held back the effectiveness of Shut Up And Dance for me, it is my below average sense of personal shame. But these characters aren't as prepared to defend the merits of their seemingly sympathetic, if flawed by common reckoning, behavior. Don't love the performance of the teen, otherwise I think it plays out very well.

1SO

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Re: Black Mirror
« Reply #19 on: October 23, 2016, 09:28:41 PM »
This is where the Spoilers come in handy.

The adult has the proper response of being a weasel who will do anything to not get caught rather than own up to what he did. Meanwhile, the kid continually downplays his crime, and I didn't suspect it might be something worse than he was saying because a video like that going public at his age seems like reason enough to join in this blackmail. Once we're told what he really did, perhaps you can wonder in hindsight why he didn't have more personal shame about his crime, and you could say the show was underplaying his actions to not give away the twist. Still, I give the episode a lot of appreciation for making it a double whammy at the end.


BTW, I'm going to watch Hated in the Nation again this month, with Mrs. 1SO. It may grow to be my favorite episode of the series, but there are a couple of moments where characters make illogical choices.