Black Mirror is a popular sci-fi series on Netflix that is considered an alternate, more technical contemporary universe. The last release from the series was an interactive game, “Bandersnatch,” which, in true Black mirrors fashion, had very dark twisted endings. This statement is also very similar to the tone of this year. 2020 has been an emotional rollercoaster of never-ending occurrences every month. Black mirror’s writing is seen to play a role in what life would be like with these technological advantages. Black Mirror takes the concept a step further, almost having technology rule these characters entire world versus having a thought process of their own. There are a few episodes that are a little close to home, referencing how the world is currently.
One example is how society views everything as numbers versus human interaction.
In the real world, social media is the most used outlet for staying connected with people. Every day, people can post brand content creating revenue from a single post. People make a full-on career out of being an influence, Instagram comedian, Or just known from an Instagram name. The marketing value for Instagram has skyrocketed since its release. Snapchat even has snap shows, and major companies are using these 10-second stories to create a shorter feed for people to see content and drive an audience. The world in 2020 is based on 10-second clips, likes, followers, and relevancy.
The episode entitled Nosedive is pretty relevant to that concept. In a simple synopsis, we meet a young woman who wants to move into a better home but needs a particular score even to get an application. It sounds like a credit score in the real world. In Black Mirror, this score is based on every human interaction and is instantly judged with a 5-star scale rating. Even when Abi conversed with her boss on the elevator, it was from a search on their feed to see their newest interest. The main character also goes out of her way to create a false reality to get invited to the most famous person wedding all because she needs to boost her score for a home. These scores can keep a person from being at the bottom of the totem pole or considered the picture person human everyone should be like and flock to be added in the hierarchy. Very similar to the world today, certain people can take you to another level in success. Some people fake their intentions just using a person or create a personality when being round that person.
Even in the second episode of season 1, we were introduced to a man named Bing, who is tired of waking up to the same routine every day. He voluntarily wants to give his points to a woman he likes so that he can get a sense of normalcy in his life. Instead of being watched or surrounded by people who tend to care more about a point system that decreases every time someone steps out of line or doesn’t precisely follow the rules.
Also, in the second episode, Black Mirror touches base on the saying, “all that glitters isn’t gold.”Another character name Abi tried out for a singing competition that everyone watches, and many females want to be just like the biggest star from the show. Abi had a high number of points and was seen first in the competition as she just arrived after people were waiting for weeks. In the real world, money is what talks and can open doors perseverance cant. She proceeds through the competition, and everything is staged. She was rudely escorted through areas. She was coached on what exactly to say and do, yet no one explained. In the end, she had to choose to stay friends with Bing, live her healthy life, or take her career to the next level. Abi chose a new life, but it came with a price. She was forced to live in this hierarchy world that was not even singing related; she became a sex worker for the next popular show with her vocals on her intro song. She ended up being a product of what she didn’t want to be. This is another thing similar to the real world. Social media creates the personifications of a person who you have to maintain and kee[ this facade going. Bing ended up creating this psycho personification when he auditioned for the same talent show to save his friend but chose the wrong fame path. He ended up being a misconstrue product of the environment he was given. In the end, this personification led him to a better life with a bigger home, unlimited points, but unhappiness.
Another episode of a parallel universe is episode 2 of season 2. Every day a woman name Victoria is going through the same horrid scene for the entertainment of others. She is the main muse of an interactive amusement park where people can see a live-action kidnapping and become apart of the stage. Everyone is recording watching through their phones. Victoria screams for help, not knowing this is all a hoax. She does have a few memories from the last experience and some childhood memories, but it is washed away each time and is reset, creating a false world for other entertainment. The whole purpose was punishment for the women since Victoria has a recording of her child being murdered by her fiancé. The sentencing from the judge made sure she gets the punishment she deserves for the rest of her life. Recording everything is nothing new in 2020. I think the aspect of recording her sentence and making a park out of this is a reflection; everything is being watched and will always haunt you because it will live on forever. These recordings are the reason we have visuals on everything in the world, good or bad. We have seen mass murders, cops killing blacks, the last moment of victims, and the vital seconds of what happened before a shooting. These videos will never go away, keeping the relevancy of the events reoccurring.
Between the virtual characters, rating people daily, and recording everything, the series is predicting the potential future. Fans are expecting the new season during quarantine season, but unfortunately, this isn’t happening. Black Mirror creator Charlie Brooker said he is not currently working on a new season. “At the moment, I don’t know what stomach there would be for stories about societies falling apart, so I’m not working away on one of those,”
Seems like the few examples of how the Black mirror is a reflection of the new normal is starting to sound real for the new decade.