Black Mirror (Series 4)
In six new episodes of Black Mirror, program creator Charlie Brooker addresses the dangers, and sometimes the advantages, of technology to humanity. This series tackled issues of surveillance, digital preservation, and digital identity, providing a look at society's ability to cope with this new breed of monster. Brooker's program messes together the best of British and American filmmaking to create a grim program with unbelievably relevant messages.
Black Mirror in the past has offered a startling and unsettling examination of the effects of our society's digital obsession. Although often overly dramatized, what made Black Mirror so unnerving was its eerily accurate parallels to our current culture. Series 4's episodes, although still reached the previous series's quality, seemed to lack the powerful symbolic lessons that are iconic to the program. The series was still littered with moral lessons, but its lack of the fear factor and more mild story decreased the program's overall impact. In series 4, Charlie Brooker spends less time on the impact of technology (surprisingly decreasing the role of technology in this series) and, instead, focuses on humanity. In this series, technology played less of a threat - rather, it was is the way humans handle it that causes the problem. This shift in focus allows Black Mirror to become more centered in reality because, in truth, technology isn't the criminal, it's the people who use it.
Black Mirror also triumphed this series with its female-centric episodes. Tackling yet another social issue, Brooker crafted six smart and challenging episodes that feature a female lead. And despite this series being praised for featuring a female director, it doesn't detract from the fact that only one episode out of 19 has been directed by a woman. Perhaps next series will continue to see women playing a larger role both on and off the screen. Brooker and the team at Black Mirror are setting a strong precedent, not only for female-dominated programs but also for crafting programs that challenge audiences and takes them to places they may not want to go but should.
Even though some may claim that Brooker's program is too righteous at times, what it never lacks is full-bodied characters played by a fantastic cast of actors. What drove series 4 through the, at times, slow and dull episodes is the dedicated and inspiring performances. Each episode featured a stunning cast that brings to life Brooker's dark dystopia. Each episode was perfectly casted with actors whose chemistry created an enticing, tense, evoking, and, at times, charming atmosphere. It's impossible not to have a gut-wrenching reaction to each actors powerful performance.
Black Mirror series 4 is now streaming on Netflix