The UK’s method of handling television shows is frustrating at times. You can get as little as 3 episodes of a show and then not get any more episodes for a couple of years. There is frustration while you are waiting for more episodes, but it does encourage a lot of interesting ideas to make it to production (since the risk of failure is significantly less). One of these interesting ideas is the Twilight Zone-ish series (or set of movies) Black Mirror. It’s a set of three, unrelated one hour shows/movies.They all have a twisted commentary on technology. The show is interesting, but I found an undercurrent of misogyny that left me unsettled about the show. Let’s see what happened.
Two of the three episodes have futuristic technology with the first one being the only story that told with current technology. In the first story, an unknown person (or group) kidnaps a British Princess and release a ransom video on YouTube. The ransom video says that they will free the Princess if the British Prime Minister has sex with a pig on live TV. In the second story, we have a future where people must pedal bikes to power the world and earn money that they really can only spend on food, skipping ever-present ads, other entertainment (i.e. porn) or to change the look of their avatar. With 15 million merits (money) from an inheritance, Bing offers to loan Abi (a beautiful woman he is infatuated with) the money so she can appear on a talent show, which would provider her a way to escape the bikes. But her remarkable talent might not lead to what the two of them are expecting. In the third story, we have a future where people have a memory device implanted in them which can recall someone’s entire life. A young man feels his interview for a promotion went badly (which he keeps replaying over and over) and then, meeting up with his wife at a dinner party, he starts getting jealous of an old friend of hers and keeps digging at her over and over with the memories.
All three shows were fairly interesting and had a definite science fiction feel to them with their look at how technology interacts with people. However, their was definitely an underlying misogyny. The first episode had the male Prime Minister slap a female adviser (and only the female adviser) without anyone even looking like it was wrong. The second episode had an extremely sexist view of how the beautiful, talented singer would make her fortune (with no one, not even the other women) pointing out the problem. The third episode had the husband picking and picking away at his wife, verbally attacking her and she simply accepted it. The show, mostly, ignored his berating his wife to focus on her faults (the ending redeemed it slightly). Each individually wasn’t a huge flag for me, but combined, I was vaguely repulsed by the show. And since they were so well done, that was sad for me.
The producers are working on a second series of Black Mirror (the first episode appears in the UK on February 11th, 2013). I hope they fix the casual misogyny, so the show is appreciated for its wonderful look at technology and it’s impact on life. Not Recommended for the casual misogyny and it’s a shame.