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Un, deux, trois dit miroir noir
January 26, 2012 12:01 PM   Subscribe

""If technology is a drug--and it does feel like a drug--then what, precisely, are the side-effects?" "Charlie Brooker (previously), the writer of E4's Dead Set, returns with a suspenseful, satirical three-part mini-series that taps into collective unease about our modern world" - Black Mirror

YouTube links

Episode 1, "The National Anthem" - 1, 2, 3
Episode 2, "15 Million Merits" - 1, 2, 3, 4, 5
Episode 3, "The Entire History of You" - 1, 2, 3, 4
posted by mrgrimm (76 comments total) 140 users marked this as a favorite

 
See also
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 12:12 PM on January 26, 2012


Those of a sensitive disposition should avoid The National Anthem... one of the most disturbingly brilliant pieces of television I have ever seen.
posted by knapah at 12:17 PM on January 26, 2012 [3 favorites]


One side-effect of technology is the dependence upon satire and three-part mini-series.
posted by hanoixan at 12:27 PM on January 26, 2012 [11 favorites]


I love this, 15 Million Merits is the bleakest dystopia I've seen in some time, a future where there are only two jobs left, being a popstar or... generating energy.
posted by Tom-B at 12:31 PM on January 26, 2012 [4 favorites]


I watched the first one (The National Anthem) and thought it was fantastic. However, it was so grim that I couldn't bring myself to watch the other two. Maybe this post will strengthen my resolve..
posted by capnsue at 12:39 PM on January 26, 2012


capnsus, I watched the third one first, then the first, then the second. They aren't easier in any order, I don't think, but "15 Million Merits" and "Entire History of You" have sufficient technological developments to make them seem more futuristic, and therefore more remote, perhaps.

I thought these were all brilliantly done, and enjoyed "The National Anthem" in spite of the squick factor. It truly could have been a documentary.

I would like to see some kind of follow-up that asks "So, what do we do instead?" and explores some ideas, but I recognize that'd be pretty difficult to write and probably less darkly comedic.
posted by dubold at 12:57 PM on January 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'm a Charlie Brooker fanboy. That feels weird to just come out and say.
posted by lumpenprole at 1:07 PM on January 26, 2012 [5 favorites]


I really liked the first two, but the third one left me cold. I can't remember where I read it--the Guardian, I think--but the reviewer said that third episode was sort of useless; people will always find a way to ruin their relationships, that sort of technology only speeds up the process.

I am really surprised that discussion of Black Mirror is just now showing up on MeFi, though.
posted by Kitteh at 1:17 PM on January 26, 2012 [2 favorites]


When I say most Science Fiction is just a dumb recycling of old tropes that barely justifies the term, this is the sort of thing I'm thinking of as a counter example.
posted by Artw at 1:36 PM on January 26, 2012 [4 favorites]


The most well-executed part of the National Anthem has got to be that shameful moment when gawkers get what they came for. This leash demeans us both.
posted by anthill at 1:36 PM on January 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


I kind of thought that 15 Million Merits was the most obviously structured of them, but then I realised that the protagonist is a stand in for Charlie Brooker and blew my own mind.
posted by Sparx at 1:46 PM on January 26, 2012 [10 favorites]


anthill: "The most well-executed part of the National Anthem has got to be that shameful moment when gawkers get what they came for. This leash demeans us both"

Yeah, that bit is beautiful, it was what struck me the most about the first episode too. It's a perfect little study of emotion through facial expression.

Sparx: "I kind of thought that 15 Million Merits was the most obviously structured of them, but then I realised that the protagonist is a stand in for Charlie Brooker and blew my own mind"

I thought the same thing when I saw it, and then Charlie Brooker referred to the episode as "The Screenwipe Story" on Twitter.
posted by Joakim Ziegler at 1:51 PM on January 26, 2012 [3 favorites]


Any one know how to get around the "Not available in your country" problem? I'm in Ireland.
posted by stonepharisee at 2:06 PM on January 26, 2012


"Be in a country where they'd never ever, ever play it on TV", I'd guess.
posted by Artw at 2:11 PM on January 26, 2012


Internet withdrawal is one. I've gotten better about that as I've gotten older, at least.
posted by symbioid at 2:14 PM on January 26, 2012


What's got six legs and makes you laugh?
posted by fuq at 2:15 PM on January 26, 2012


Here's some tips, stonepharisee.
posted by Orange Pamplemousse at 2:18 PM on January 26, 2012 [3 favorites]


Any one know how to get around the "Not available in your country" problem? I'm in Ireland.

People in Ireland and the UK can watch it on the Channel 4 website.

The 4OD player is pretty abysmal though, so you might have better luck with the Channel 4 youtube account.

(If, like me, your ISP is Eircom, then the 4OD service is blocked for no good reason, so the youtube version is the only option available)
posted by rollick at 2:18 PM on January 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


jesus christmas...I just watched National Anthem. incredibly powerful and gripping but holy fuck....
posted by supermedusa at 2:28 PM on January 26, 2012


I can say without exaggeration that National Anthem completely blew my mind. Amazing.
posted by evisceratordeath at 2:41 PM on January 26, 2012 [2 favorites]


Wow. Just wow.
posted by krilli at 2:54 PM on January 26, 2012


If Black Mirror doesn't win every applicable award, I'll... I'll...

Well, I'll not be surprised in the slightest. But still: It should.
posted by Sys Rq at 2:58 PM on January 26, 2012


Does Charlie Brooker Deserve A BAFTA?
posted by Artw at 3:06 PM on January 26, 2012


It was an amazing series. (Twitter was quite harsh on it though). Brooker's admission of complicity in 15 million credits was astonishing to me. As people pointed out, its been done before (extras), but it was still thrilling to watch.
posted by seanyboy at 3:07 PM on January 26, 2012


Makes LBJ's antics absolutely quaint. What a story.
posted by Meatbomb at 3:35 PM on January 26, 2012


"The Entire History of You" isn't written by Brooker, it's written by Jesse Armstrong, creator of Peep Show.
posted by hudders at 3:42 PM on January 26, 2012


Oink! the porcine progenitor.
posted by unliteral at 3:44 PM on January 26, 2012


This comment contains very mild spoilers. (And some strong language, but no flash photography.)

------

Oh my, Black Mirror. In my opinion, "The National Anthem" was easily the best thing on television in 2011, and I am not exaggerating when I say it's one of the best television programmes I have ever seen.

Upon reflection I do admit I suspect it was written for me specifically: I am (like Brooker) a wildly sarcastic, mildly masochistic news and politics junkie who really, really would have more faith in the world if he didn't spend so much time beanplating over the ugly parts.

Politics, especially: the mechanics of it is like pornography to me. (By which I mean, of course, equal parts stimulating and repulsive, and you can never really seem to look away.) Why else would a Dutchman stay up all night to watch American debates and elections? Although admittedly, I'll occasionally make a graveyard shift out of parliamentary debates in my very own time zone just as well, as a session of our own House of Reps stretching into the wee hours tends to herald domestic political drama of Shakespearean proportions.

Seen The Thick Of It? Know how some civil servants readily admit, with a mixture of amusement about their superiors and shame for their profession, that "that's exactly how it really goes"? Well, the unrivalled brilliance of "The National Anthem" lies in the way it perfectly exploits its central conceit: in how it asks its audience, without blinking, to accept its grotesque premise — the prime minister fucks a pig or else the princess dies — and, once you've come to suspend your disbelief, executes the story that springs from it in exactly the way it would go.

(Even throwaway lines are pitch-perfect: when a frustrated cable news editor roars, "The Guardian is running a fucking liveblog!", it's hilarious, because UK media-savvy viewers know that that is exactly what would happen.)

Something else I admire endlessly about "The National Anthem" is how, unlike pretty much everything else on television, it's so effortlessly contemporary, so naturally technological. There are no "It's a UNIX system, I know this!" moments in Black Mirror: the #PMpig tweets are shockingly believable (and must have been tons of fun to compose), and when a subplot character is exposed via a cameraphone picture uploaded to Facebook or somewhere these events unfold, again, in precisely the manner you'd imagine they would, in a time like ours. (Then there is, of course, the informed demand of a "constantly roving" camera, in the ransom note.)

Those of you familiar with Black Mirror and with UK news and politics will understand that "The National Anthem" is heavily inspired by two real-life stories: the super-injunction farce, and Gordon Brown being forced to apologize to Gillian Duffy during an election campaign. Brooker wrote about the latter in his own puff piece for the series: "Who was in charge that day? No one and everyone." There's a lot of truth to this observation, and in a sense "The National Anthem" does little else but take that dynamic to its logical — if extreme — conclusion.

If you take the episode as Charlie Brooker's "re-imagining" of real events against an absurd premise, it comes out as tack-sharp satire that — aside from being hilarious — is actually relevant in that it provokes severe cognitive dissonance in the viewer about the relationship between media and politics. Yes, even if you were already cynical. Maybe especially then. After all: in "The National Anthem", who could you possibly root for?

So thanks for posting this, mrgrimm. Oh, and the other episodes? They were alright. The second one was a little too abstract and hand-wavy (pun intended) for my tastes, and as for the finale, I felt the drama was a little on the nose, and I didn't really like the pacing.

But "The National Anthem" is a peerless work of contemporary satire, and I predict that in decades to come it will be regarded as an especially lucid specimen of the form from our times.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 4:47 PM on January 26, 2012 [15 favorites]


I'm a big fan of Dead Set, and have now joined the ranks of people freshly blown away by National Anthem. My inner misanthrope is purring contentedly right now.
posted by Drastic at 4:58 PM on January 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


I am a huge fan of this short little series. It feels like actual good old fashioned science fiction in the greatest tradition. So many small details that stay with you. For example, watch what happens in "The Entire History of You" when the unchipped brunette calls the police only to be hung up on. Or in the second when the protagonist closes his eyes for a rest.

This is brilliant, must-see stuff.
posted by Catblack at 5:28 PM on January 26, 2012 [2 favorites]


Black Mirror was spectacularly good. Damn you Brooker, you brilliant angry bastard.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 6:14 PM on January 26, 2012 [4 favorites]


I find Brooker's dramatic (including Nathan Barley) work pretty tough going. Not because it's not excellent, but because of the remorseless bleakness of the worldview. I didn't watch these when they were originally on, mainly out of trepidation (I'm a fucking wimp, OK?). From the contents of this thread, it looks like I better wait for a REALLY good day.

Oh, and as far as I can tell, it's all down the dark and terrifying side of the hill from here. Brooker seems somewhat bored with making people laugh, and if marrying Konnie Huq hasn't cheered the ungrateful bastard up, I really can't imagine what will.
posted by howfar at 7:11 PM on January 26, 2012


I watched these a couple weeks ago and they all freaked me the fuck out.
posted by You Should See the Other Guy at 8:09 PM on January 26, 2012


A+++++ would watch in transfixed moral horror again
posted by gusandrews at 8:16 PM on January 26, 2012 [2 favorites]


if marrying Konnie Huq hasn't cheered the ungrateful bastard up, I really can't imagine what will

Fun Fact: The couple share the writing credit for "15 Million Merits."
posted by Sys Rq at 9:54 PM on January 26, 2012


The other two were good, provocatively dark stories but National Anthem is in a class by itself. I think the immediacy, the sense of ourselves being at the exact same moment as the story, has a lot to do with it. The others are futures that could happen but that one is a story that could literally happen tomorrow or even today. It's a realization that the future is here with us, that in some ways we're already living in a futuristic dystopia. That's a very uncomfortable reflection to see.
posted by scalefree at 9:59 PM on January 26, 2012 [2 favorites]


Brooker seems somewhat bored with making people laugh, and if marrying Konnie Huq hasn't cheered the ungrateful bastard up, I really can't imagine what will.

They're expecting, so we'll see.
posted by dumbland at 10:33 PM on January 26, 2012


howfar: "Brooker seems somewhat bored with making people laugh, and if marrying Konnie Huq hasn't cheered the ungrateful bastard up, I really can't imagine what will."

Maybe he's looking at it from the other side. Being a bitter, sarcastic bastard was what got him married to Konnie Huq, so who knows what else it might bring?
posted by Joakim Ziegler at 10:40 PM on January 26, 2012


Holy shit! That monologue from 15 Million Credits is outstanding and far beyond anything I was expecting from the episode. That alone was worth the price of admission. Thanks so much for posting!
posted by hippybear at 10:44 PM on January 26, 2012 [2 favorites]


Indeed. Working my way through the last episode right now.

No regrets whatsoever. Seriously good, if grimdark, stuff.

The, ahem, love scene in the third episode was one of the most disturbing scenes of all, IMO...
posted by Samizdata at 11:02 PM on January 26, 2012


That first episode was spectacular, simultaneously tragic and hilarious. Had to add this reference though, for context...
Spoiler Alert: See Karlheinz Stockhausen's (the enigmatic father of electronic music and composer extraordinaire) notorious reaction to 9/11
posted by SounderCoo at 11:05 PM on January 26, 2012 [2 favorites]


Fun Fact: The couple share the writing credit for "15 Million Merits."

I think it's fair to say that Konnie Huq didn't enjoy working on the X-Factor.

Out of the three, I thought "The National Anthem" was the strongest - possibly because I am in the UK and really enjoyed the satirical references to current UK events/media/etc? As someone else mentioned, "The Guardian is running a fucking liveblog!? was pitch-perfect. Add to that knowledge Charlie Brooker's recent 'David Cameron is a lizard overlord' Twitter-baiting, and it just all came together beautifully.

The other two had less bite and more predictable stories: "Reality Shows are opium for the masses produced by a tiny elite" (Brooker's evident self-loathing was interesting, if not unsurprising) and "Social media taken to the extreme will Tear Us Apart, again"? Maybe I'm just jaded and cynical (and have read too much scifi?).
posted by kariebookish at 12:36 AM on January 27, 2012


the reviewer said that third episode was sort of useless; people will always find a way to ruin their relationships, that sort of technology only speeds up the process.

Yes, I thought Entire History of You Could have been better if the memory or past event haunting the protagonist was something a bit more original. Or a bit darker.
posted by Summer at 1:44 AM on January 27, 2012


This is fantastic... 15m Merits reminded me of THX1138.
posted by j03 at 1:49 AM on January 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


POSSIBLE SPOILER:

the reviewer said that third episode was sort of useless; people will always find a way to ruin their relationships, that sort of technology only speeds up the process.


In my opinion, what made it compelling was the timelessness of the problem - the neat twist was that he was determined to prove himself right, even if it meant completely destroying the relationship. The technology just gave him the leverage to get what he thought he wanted.
posted by dubold at 1:57 AM on January 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


It is damned amazing to see contemporary satire presented in a non-humorous manner. The first episode hit exactly on what I try to explain to people who consume shame-based media for their entertainment.

The meta-experience of watching this on YouTube was...indescribably intense.
posted by zinful at 4:34 AM on January 27, 2012 [4 favorites]


I was so pleased by how well these turned out, not least because when a beloved critic turns their hand to creating it is always a nail-biting moment for fans of that critic. You know if they fuck it up, the knives will be out.

Fun Fact: The couple share the writing credit for "15 Million Merits."

Huh. I'm sure I'm not the only one whose opinion of Konnie Huq went up a lot just because she married Brooker, but this raises it even more. People's view of her as kind of dumb has always been a little unfair and was always mostly due to her being a pretty young woman presenting a children's TV show. I mean, she did go to Cambridge.
posted by atrazine at 5:19 AM on January 27, 2012


So, I've only seen The National Anthem, but it's...amazing. In its own way, on its own terms, it's as good as anything Chris Morris or J. G. Ballard have ever done. Contemporary sci-fi, to be sure.
posted by Sticherbeast at 6:00 AM on January 27, 2012


The meta-experience of watching this on YouTube was...indescribably intense.

The first episode, yes, so very much indeed. Deliciously meta.

When I watched the first part of Episode I and the post-video screen (I think YT calls it "fvwp") came up, I thought the show was still going ...

In one of his interviews (not sure if I linked it ... the geekoverture review mentions it), Brooker said he was going for a modern Twilight Zone vibe, which I really got. Not like a new Twilight Zone, but the same unsettling, queasy vibe the original used to give. Good stuff.

I am really surprised that discussion of Black Mirror is just now showing up on MeFi, though.

Me too! I think the last episode aired mid-December. But once I saw all the episodes on YouTube, I figured there were plenty of people who hadn't seen it but would like it.
posted by mrgrimm at 8:32 AM on January 27, 2012


Or in the second when the protagonist closes his eyes for a rest.

I've only recently started to use Spotify, and the way the ads pause if you mute the volume totally reminds me of the "-eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee-RESUME VIEWING IMMEDIATELY-EEEEEEEEEEEEEEE-" in that episode. I half expect them to add an update so the ads pause if you take your headphones out instead.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 8:36 AM on January 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


I've now watched all three, and my overwhelming complaint is that there were only three of them.

I really enjoyed "15 Million Merits'" vision of an advertainment hellscape. I'm pretty culturally disconnected from Wherever Idol shows and the like, but the gamification-of-everything-Xbox-spacebucks satire more than made up for any lost resonance there.

I also found "The Entire History of You" to be the weakest entry overall, which just meant it was "merely" really good. That's the kind of weakest entries I wish I could see more of.
posted by Drastic at 11:48 AM on January 27, 2012 [5 favorites]


Watched the first episode last night, and was blown away. Brilliant stuff -- thanks for posting!
posted by interrupt at 2:09 PM on January 27, 2012


I've been wanting to watch it for a while, but this post motivated me to finally get to it. National Anthem was so good that I stayed up until midnight watching it, even though I had to get up five and a half hours later. I can't say I enjoyed the pig rape, but it sure was gripping television.

Looking forward to the rest. Well, in as much as one can look forward to something so disturbing, that is.

Thanks for reminding me about Black Mirror, Metafilter. Charlie Brooker is one of my favourite people on television today.
posted by guster4lovers at 3:19 PM on January 27, 2012


Watching The National Anthem made me weep for the state of television in my country. We desperately need a Brooker of our own.
posted by A Thousand Baited Hooks at 4:33 PM on January 27, 2012


Finally finished watching The Entire History Of You.

These all remind me of the work Robert Silverberg was doing back in the late 60s and early 70s, before Lord Valentine, where he'd take a premise and write a brilliant, not overly long SF novel about it. Up The Line, The Book Of Skulls, Tower Of Glass, Dying Inside...

All brilliant projections and explorations of futures or presents which didn't exist but were logical extensions of things going on at the time.

These fit very nicely into that category. Philosophical, challenging, and provoking questions and thought. And pretty decent world-building. If this is what speculative fiction / SF can be like on television, I say we need a hell of a lot more of it.
posted by hippybear at 9:35 PM on January 27, 2012 [2 favorites]


Just watched The National Anthem. I found it sort of goofy, with supposedly smart people behaving in implausibly dumb ways (as opposed to believably dumb ways). It would have been easier to take if it had been leavened with a little more humor. I hope I'm not the only one who feels this way?
posted by speicus at 12:31 AM on January 28, 2012


leavened with a little bit more humor
I was cackling so much I nearly fell out my chair and spilt my cup of tea. Not at The National Athem but at your use of leavened. Leavened with a little more humour, are you kidding? Also, implausibly dumb and goofy. Did we watch the same programme?
posted by unliteral at 3:11 AM on January 28, 2012


Speicus: I don't think the National Anthem is supposed to be plausible. It's an allegory about (without wanting to put too many words into Charlie Brooker's chillingly sarcastic mouth) the degradations that public figures subject themselves to in order to maintain their position, and the public's fascination with the spectacle of those degradations. I found it grimly hilarious.

Maybe you'd prefer something like The Thick of It, which is much more of a deliberate comedy (and also brilliant).
posted by A Thousand Baited Hooks at 3:30 AM on January 28, 2012


These were extremely good with many layers of commentary on modern culture. I wouldn't claim they "freaked me out" though. National Anthem rocked! The Entire History of You involved far fetched technology with current social norms though.

15 Million Merits felt extremely relevant, especially the "gentile repression" aspect. Yet, it mostly focussed upon stuff that doesn't impact me much personally. I despised the mobile companies' control over access to ringtones, but that died. I unconcerned by VALVe's idea that games should be free to play but cost money to customize.
posted by jeffburdges at 6:19 AM on January 28, 2012


I found it sort of goofy, with supposedly smart people behaving in implausibly dumb ways (as opposed to believably dumb ways).

Yeah pretty much... if they had done it in a more outright farcical manner rather than using straight drama elements I think I would have had a better time accepting all the plot holes and unresolved sub-plots. I've written a longer crit of it on my blog.

And the second... well I preferred it when it was Network and a lot of other sf stories etc that were obvious influences.

Though I did quite like the third one.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 7:57 AM on January 28, 2012


Did we watch the same programme?

Depends, was it the one with the constant hand-wringing "oh god look what we have become" tone underscored with wall-to-wall moody string pads?

The moral of the story that I extracted is that people should watch more TV. If only one person had been familiar with basic cliche thriller tropes, the whole thing could have been averted! Tragic.
posted by speicus at 10:22 AM on January 28, 2012


I've written a longer crit of it on my blog.

Little too on the nose with the irony, there. Heh.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 3:50 PM on January 28, 2012


Anyway, if you liked The National Anthem I would definitely recommend David Foster Wallace's short story The Suffering Channel, which hits many of the same notes but is altogether sharper and funnier.
posted by speicus at 4:25 PM on January 28, 2012


OK, 15 Million Merits was way better, in my opinion. Maybe it's easier for me to suspend disbelief in a far future setting. Dunno.
posted by speicus at 7:50 PM on January 28, 2012


Little too on the nose with the irony, there. Heh.

what?
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 3:05 AM on January 29, 2012


I couldn't watch the rest after seeing The National Anthem. I was worried that either they wouldn't have the same excellent script and production values, or that they'd have an equally ridiculous plot hole.

I *loved* how well technology was incorporated as a plot device, and that the characters talked about it like real people do. Seriously, it's ridiculous that it's taken until now for it to be shown so realistically. I liked the range of characters, and instantly disliked the reporter in the exact way I'm sure Brooker intended me to while realising that yeah I'd watch the footage if she'd got it. I thought the PM's wife should have been more sympathetic, since her husband was more or less raped in a complicated way. But ugh, YouTube comments would harden anyone's heart so there you go.

[spoilers ahoy, skip this paragraph]
But the release happens half an hour before the broadcast, and isn't realised for at least an hour after it begins. No-one was running late to the pub to watch this with their friends? No church groups or prudes abstained on principle and went to the park or the shops to avoid it? No-one took advantage of the clear streets to go shopping or looting? PETA didn't host a counter-demonstration or try to disrupt it? Everyone just sat docilely in front of the TV?

Maybe I'm the kind of person Brooker is worried about or dislikes. I don't really worry that much about the effect of technology on our society, because it doesn't seem any worse than any other potentially-addicting substance. But after the realism of the rest of it, that reveal was just too much of a jump for me to suspend my disbelief.
posted by harriet vane at 6:24 AM on January 30, 2012 [1 favorite]


Crap, I knew I'd forget something. The series title, Black Mirror, is perfect.
posted by harriet vane at 6:26 AM on January 30, 2012


while realising that yeah I'd watch the footage if she'd got it

That was a plot hole for me. She was broadcasting it to her bosses. She asked "are you getting this?" and they said "yeah". Why don't they have it saved at the studio? I was waiting for the soldier to be proven an idiot when he thought shooting her phone destroyed the footage.
posted by Meatbomb at 6:52 AM on January 30, 2012 [2 favorites]


[spoilers ahoy, skip this whole comment]
But the release happens half an hour before the broadcast, and isn't realised for at least an hour after it begins. No-one was running late to the pub to watch this with their friends? No church groups or prudes abstained on principle and went to the park or the shops to avoid it? No-one took advantage of the clear streets to go shopping or looting? PETA didn't host a counter-demonstration or try to disrupt it? Everyone just sat docilely in front of the TV?

See, I think it's pretty easy for a the (partially sedated IIRC?) victim to be ignored/not recognised while wandering a mostly empty London, and for the time between her release and someone finding her, calling the police, the police arriving, realising who it was, calling up the chain of command, and the details reaching the top of the government to be 90 minutes.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 7:45 AM on January 30, 2012 [2 favorites]


Bigger plot holes for me were that a single untrained individual could kidnap a royal from their security protection and that a large number of staff at a hospital could sit watching the telly all day (think of the patients!). I'm sure there's more.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 8:06 AM on January 30, 2012 [1 favorite]


[more spoilers - but if you haven't seen it, why are you reading this?]

Everyone just sat docilely in front of the TV?

that a large number of staff at a hospital could sit watching the telly all day (think of the patients!)

I'm not sure that these were plot holes so much as exactly the point that was being made. The pig-fucking was ancillary.
posted by A Thousand Baited Hooks at 4:33 AM on January 31, 2012 [1 favorite]


Metafilter: The pig-fucking was ancillary.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 5:17 AM on January 31, 2012 [3 favorites]


I know it's the point, but I find it such an implausible point. There are plenty of things (apart from pig-fucking) that would make people *want* to drop everything to watch it, but there are just too many other elements which would prevent it from actually happening in the real world. It might not have bugged me if the tone of the rest of it had been more surreal or silly or somehow non-realistic, but I'd already bought into the documentary-style filming.

Plus I thought the 90 minutes was to her being found, not to the PM being notified. He was already done and throwing up before his staff found out. 90 minutes of completely empty streets, according to the shots we're shown.

I guess I need more plausibility if I'm to be lured into techno-phobia. I work in the web industry, and I get tired of hearing how the internet makes us stupid and e-books are soulless and tv is rotting our brains. Poll-driven politics shits me to tears, but it was only glanced at here. After the Arab Spring and the Occupy protests in particular, I think this attitude is unsupported by the available evidence.

Still, I'd recommend Black Mirror to anyone looking for an unusual or hard-hitting viewing experience. Just because I disagree with the premise doesn't mean I can't appreciate the good things about it. I can always respect someone with an opinion who can tell a good story about it, and with the fluff that's usually on TV I'm pretty damn happy Brooker got the chance to do this series.
posted by harriet vane at 5:27 AM on February 1, 2012


I guess I need more plausibility if I'm to be lured into techno-phobia.

I don't think it was as much techno-phobia as media satire, at least to me.

A few commenters have complained about all the Web brand names dropped in the first 5 minutes, but the only time I laughed out loud was when they asked whether or not the television networks were honoring the voluntary gag order and the guy says, "they are ... for now ... ... it's trending on Twitter ..."

also, yeah, the live blog thing was spot on.
posted by mrgrimm at 8:22 AM on February 1, 2012


Crap, I knew I'd forget something. The series title, Black Mirror, is perfect.

Look, we have already established that I'm a fanboy, but now I feel compelled to point out that Dead Set is actually a triple entendre:

1) A group of deceased people, i.e. zombies, analogous to "jet set"
2) Who are very keen, or "dead set", on biting you
3) And roam the soundstage where a televion series is filmed, i.e. a "set", which is "dead" after being abandoned by the production team.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 9:27 AM on February 1, 2012 [4 favorites]


That was brilliant and raw and blackly funny and so, so good, all of it. I don't think I've been this impressed by a collection of short science fiction since Stories of Your Life and Others. Thanks so much for sharing, mrgrimm.
posted by Rhaomi at 5:36 PM on February 11, 2012


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