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Black Mirror - Channel 4 TV series
This is probably one of the most wonderful futurologist programme i've watched this decade... There are only 2 series and 6 programmes, but they are must-watch, for people who hadn't watched 'em, yet.

Black Mirror is a British television anthology series created by Charlie Brooker that shows the dark side of life and technology. The series is produced by Zeppotron for Endemol. Regarding the programme's content and structure, Brooker noted, "each episode has a different cast, a different setting, even a different reality. But they're all about the way we live now – and the way we might be living in 10 minutes' time if we're clumsy."

An Endemol press release describes the series as "a hybrid of The Twilight Zone and Tales of the Unexpected which taps into our contemporary unease about our modern world", with the stories having a "techno-paranoia" feel. Channel 4 describes the first episode as "a twisted parable for the Twitter age". Black Mirror Series 1 was released on DVD on 27 February 2012.[4]

In November 2012, Black Mirror won the Best TV movie/mini-series award at the International Emmys.

Announced on 12 July 2012, the second season began broadcasting on 11 February 2013. Like the first season, it is made up of three episodes with unconnected narratives.

On 9 January 2014, Charlie Brooker announced the third series of the show, confirming at least two more "helpings".

Charlie Brooker explained the series' title to The Guardian, noting: "If technology is a drug – and it does feel like a drug – then what, precisely, are the side-effects? This area – between delight and discomfort – is where Black Mirror, my new drama series, is set. The 'black mirror' of the title is the one you'll find on every wall, on every desk, in the palm of every hand: the cold, shiny screen of a TV, a monitor, a smartphone."

The phrase was previously used by the band Arcade Fire, as the opening track to their 2007 album Neon Bible.

The three episodes of Black Mirror /Serie 1/

1. The National Anthem

Set slap-bang in the present, The National Anthem, starring Rory Kinnear and Lindsay Duncan, recounts what happens when fictional royal Princess Susannah is kidnapped and prime minister Michael Callow is presented with an unusual – and obscene – ransom request. The traditional media finds itself unable to even discuss what the demand is, while the Twittersphere foams with speculation and cruel jokes. As the ransom deadline nears, events start to gain a surreal momentum of their own. This was inspired partly by the kerfuffle over superinjunctions, and partly by the strange out-of-control sensation that takes grip on certain news days – such as the day Gordon Brown was virtually commanded to apologise to Gillian Duffy in front of the rolling news networks. Who was in charge that day? No one and everyone.

2. Fifteen Million Merits

In 1984, Apple ran a famous advert that implied the Mac might save mankind from a nightmarish Orwellian future. But what would a nightmarish Orwellian future that ran on Apple software actually look like? Probably a bit like this.

Fifteen Million Merits, co-written with my wife Konnie Huq and starring Daniel Kaluuya (The Fades) and Jessica Brown-Findlay (Downton Abbey), takes place in a world in which the population is apparently doomed to a life of meaningless toil enlivened only by continual entertainment and distraction courtesy of ominipresent gizmos and screens. So not really sci-fi at all, then. Your sole chance of escape or salvation from this world appears to be a talent contest called Hot Shot, where the judges are played by Julia Davis, the grime MC Bashy, and Rupert Everett.

3. The Entire History of You

Anyone who's ever nosed through the Facebook profile of a potential lover will feel right at home here. Today, most of us routinely leave a trail of personal information behind us – from emails to idle thoughts on Facebook, to images of ourselves grinning at parties. Go to a live event and instead of lighters in the air, you'll see the glow of people recording proceedings on their smartphones. This final episode, starring Toby Kebbell and Jodie Whittaker, and written by Jesse Armstrong of Peep Show, Fresh Meat and The Thick of It fame, explores the logical outcome of this, something many might consider a fantasy scenario: what if you had a kind of Sky Plus system for your head, so you could rewind and replay memories at will? You'd never forget where you left your keys again, for one thing. And it would be great for winning arguments. But it might not be brilliant news for the health of your relationship. After all, how much do you actually want to know about each other?


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Charlie Brooker ITW

The first series of Black Mirror won an international Emmy, and a lot of praise. Does that sort of thing matter to you?
Yes and no. Obviously it's nice when something you've worked on is received well, but on the other hand it just ramps up the pressure and level of expectation for next time. And the entire concept of awards ceremonies is a bit bizarre. It's nothing to do with what's ‘best': it's about whether a panel of judges in a room somewhere can reach a consensus. All awards ceremonies should be torn down and converted into children's' hospitals immediately.

You're back with a new series - explain a bit about each one.
Be Right Back

Years ago a friend of mine died, and then several years after that, I was trying to clear space on a phone - this is back in the days when you could only store a limited number of contacts - and I felt terribly guilty for deleting his name to make room for others. It was crazy - a number that didn't even work anymore - and yet it felt disrespectful to hit ‘delete'. And then this year I looked at Twitter one night and thought "what if all these people were dead, and everything they were saying was being mimicked by a piece of software"? Because that's the kind of thing I think late at night.

People spend hours typing messages into Facebook, Twitter, you name it - what if there was a service that could harvest all this, and pretend to be you after you died? Copy your figures of speech; crack the same sort of jokes that you do; proffer the same opinions and so on. Even if you knew it was only software, if that was a friend or relative of yours, the temptation to chat with a program like that would be unbearable, especially if you were grieving.

So it's a story in which a young woman finds herself suddenly bereaved, and then she's offered the chance to communicate with a simulation of her husband, based on his Tweets, Facebook status updates, emails, etc. And when she talks to it, she's stunned by how lifelike it seems. But at the same time she knows it's not really him: it's just a souvenir. And so the question then becomes: is that enough? And if it isn't, can she bear to ‘delete' him?

White Bear

The first series of Black Mirror featured three stories which were pretty much different genres (political thriller / dystopian sci-fi / relationship crisis), although they all shared a similar tone and sensibility. We're doing that again this year. If Be Right Back is a romance (of sorts), then White Bear is an apocalyptic thriller.

A young woman wakes up, apparently following some kind of suicide attempt, unable to remember her own name. She stumbles outside looking for help, but no-one will even speak to her. Instead they all stand around filming her on their mobiles. Then a man with a shotgun appears and gives chase - and the crowd continues to film, as if idly watching a sporting event.

I was thinking of the ubiquity of camera phones here. The audience at any gig is a sea of little blue lights. During the riots over student fees, there were scenes on the news where you'd have one person smashing in the window of a bank while 50 people filmed it on their phones. During the Libyan uprising you could see people walking around filming the aftermath of attacks, almost like tourists. When Gaddafi's body lay on display for a couple of days, people crowded round it with their phones out. It all looked pretty nightmarish. Almost like a zombie movie, I thought.

And then I thought, what if rather than a zombie movie, you had a story in which 90% of the population just became emotionless voyeurs. They'd just film whatever was happening in front of them, especially if it was horrible. What would happen to the remaining 10%? Some of them would go nuts and start doing terrible things to amuse the ‘audience'. White Bear explores that nightmare -- and then hopefully creates a new one.

The Waldo Moment

Back when Chris and I were doing Nathan Barley we had an idea for a storyline in which someone invented a sort of animated MP - like something from the band Gorillaz.

It seemed like something that could potentially catch on. Today there's no doubt that the relationship between politicians and the public has become increasingly strained - MPs are widely viewed as a different, inherently untrustworthy species. Literally like weird creatures we just have to put up with. And they're easy to mock, but they're not easy to replace. And at the same time you've got someone like Boris Johnson becoming wildly popular in part because he represents "character", something most MPs seem to lack. He's become bulletproof. He can actively, openly **** up - literally performing slapstick at times - and people seem to love him for it. Never mind his policies. He rose to prominence by doing panel shows. Now some predict he'll be PM one day. That's an odd state of affairs.

So this story is about a CGI character from a late-night topical comedy show that gets entered into a political race for a stunt. The guy behind it isn't comfortable with politics - he just sees himself as a clown - but once the wheels start turning there's no stopping the thing. But he's not interested in running the world. He doesn't know how. So what can he do?

Do you have any water-cooler pig-shagging moments in this series?
No pig-shagging, but hopefully some standout moments. I won't say what they are though. That's for others to decide.

Are they comedy dramas, or just straight dramas?
Somewhere in-between I think. They're pretty straight, but often based on ideas that could be funny if you chose to view them that way.

Did you write all three this time? How do you find your inspiration? Where do your ideas come from?
Yes - probably stupid, but there you go. God knows where ideas come from. Usually you're thinking about one thing, when a separate thought comes in and collides with the first one unexpectedly, thereby creating a new thing. And you're just a spectator to it. Christ, what a Pseuds' Corner thing to say.

You co-wrote an episode with Konnie last time. Did she get involved again this time, or as she too busy producing and looking after your progeny?
She was busy, yes, but she chipped in with the odd note here and there. She's far more cynical and has a dryer sense of humour than many people realize. When I'm doing the Wipe shows she often watches the footage with me and comes out with some of the best lines. Lines which I then steal.

Becoming a parent inevitably changes people. Do you think it's changed your style of writing?
No. Your method of writing changes a bit, though, as you have to fit it in between feedings, changings and the like. Otherwise there's very little difference between having a baby and having a dog. They both shout and **** everywhere but you love them regardless, apart from the baby.

Can we expect your work to be even more scabrous and dystopian, due to sleep deprivation?
I've always tended to write late at night and usually function on very little sleep, so I doubt you'll notice much difference.

Is it difficult to hand over your work to someone else to direct?
No - the alternative would be directing it myself. I probably don't have the patience or skill for that job.

Does it ever look the same as you'd imagined?
Sometimes yes, sometimes no. Usually it's better.

Do you think you'll ever end up writing a lovely, fluffy rom-com, with Enya music playing over the denouement?
Didn't you see Dead Set?

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BerlinRocks's Avatar
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The series are finally on Netflix (US) !

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I remember watching the first season like 2 years ago, the first episode was so disturbing
I´m always at a loss with UK programming so I lost track of season 2, gonna track it down now

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The The National Anthem ep was interesting you just had to keep on watching to see if the PM would do it.

This best was White Bear. The whole ep was riveting. You could not stop thinking about it afterwards.

ROBBER - Get down on the ground. Face down. C'mon. CHER - Oh, no. You don't understand, this is an Alaïa.
ROBBER - An a-what-a?
CHER - It's like a totally important designer.
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I loved season 1, didn't know there was a season 2, added to my list.

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