What Are You Watching? ‘Black Mirror’


As a diehard “Twilight Zone” fan — who doesn’t love showrunner Rod Serling? — when Netflix came out with its science fiction anthology series, “Black Mirror,” I was immediately hooked.

A dark, cynical but fantastically directed look at the detriments of an increasing technology- reliant society, “Black Mirror” has the ability to make the viewer look inward and consider their own relationship with technology.

“Black Mirror,” originally released on Netflix in 2016, is the modern-day “Twilight Zone” (1959–64), with its one-off episodes varying widely. It still maintains a hypnotic techno-futuristic undertone with unexpected twists and turns.

One episode focuses on a fictional merit-based society requiring lower-class workers to — for unknown reasons — spend their days cycling on stationary bikes in order to rack up points to be used for basic necessities, in addition to being exposed to unavoidable advertisement pop-ups. The only way to “escape” is to audition for a talent show similar to “American Idol.” This episode, although dystopian in vibe, encapsulates relatable notions of modern consumerism and how competition reality shows, while watched and praised by millions, often exploit and misrepresent real people and the truth.

In addition to the occasional single released special episodes, “Black Mirror” released an interactive film, “Bandersnatch” (a nod to the creature created by Lewis Carroll), which allows the viewer to make decisions throughout, ultimately changing the end of the story. Based on the idea of a choose-your-own-adventure book, “Bandersnatch” is in itself a choose-your-own-adventure story.

From a workplace space opera episode with nods to “Star Trek,” about the effects of internet bullying, to a narrative about a rank-based world where every interaction among people is ranked from one to five stars, “Black Mirror” is one of those shows that you can keep revisiting, taking in something new with each watch.