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BLACK MIRROR:THROUGH A TV DARKLY…

Now it has been a couple of moths since this short but powerful trilogy of shows was aired on Channel 4, the creation of television critic and gonzo culture hero Charlie Brooker but it is due out on DVD release soon enough. I did shamefully take my sweet time in viewing the episodes unfortunately but honestly by the time I did get round to it, I was thankfully impressed. Perhaps I just did not wish to be let down, as I was expecting something hugely subversive, radical and scary. This was reasonably hard to avoid due to the advertising and publicity build up, the cheeky disturbing curious pig imagery and the effective teaser flash title logo.

The main point was that this was a short but hyped edgy series brought to us from a TV journalist known for his own very ovservant, cynical, though very humourous views on modern entertainment-the terrible amounts of rubbish put out across the channels, the lies, and waste of TV licence he was there to single it out and shame it all. Well, now he was to be in the spotlight for his own creation. He would know this, and have to take it in his stride in order to show these three episodes.

He had previously spoken of having some personal ideas for a kind of modern TWILIGHT ZONE concept, and this is what was delivered. They were not totally perfect, and the first episode was probably weakest but that was the one to draw the big hype and media attention to the show. Although the way it focused upon helpless bumbling politicians and an MP struggling to control respect and their vision through the newsmedia while things disturbingly unravelled maddeningly was entertainingly playful and suggested that soon enough, if not already newsmedia has lost so much grasp of our attention and our trust.

The second episode was possibly the most confused, looking like a strange mix of Total Recall, 1984 and BRAVE NEW WORLD all thown into a (only slightly more) horrible saturday night mainstream hit talent show-you know the one. The characters all watch the show, the humiliation, all want the prize. It had its very good moments and finally it did end very pleasingly, with a shocking and radical message.  

The final show though, as most seem to agree, was arguably the most successful and confident or possibly the most engaging. The acting was probably the best and plot and we are shown a near future where we can all rewind and store our own personal memories. This soon enough gives us nasty habbits, extreme paranoia and ruins relationships to a terrible degree finally. Tragic though stunning.

It is true that these may not be the most hugely oringinal concepts, as they have appeared in other forms though sci-fi past, but they were taken and presented in a fresh relative modern way, effective and disturbing as they suggested some uncomfortable directions our lives, interests and addictions could be heading.

This was a very impressive short series which really deserves to be seen and let us hope that there will be more, in the near future…

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About JAMES E PARSONS

Author of science fiction novels Orbital Kin and Minerva Century-also horror, literary fiction, many short stories and screenplays. Always reading, writing, watching films, playing guitar/bass, and am a husband with a coffee addiction. New horror novel due for 2017. This is my blog, offshoot from my website. It will be where I post current thoughts, opinions, views, reviews, or discussions about contemporary film, movies, books, video games, television series mostly in the horror, science fiction, fantasy and their sub-genre offshoots. The entertainment not in the mainstream (for the most part) and proud of it. Also follow me on twitter- @ParsonsFiction, and facebook - James E Parsons

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