Film & TV

Mirror mirror on the wall…who watches Netflix the most of all?

Netflix recently released Season Three of its original series Black Mirror, a TV show offering an often dark reflection of our modern society – here’s our first impressions of what this series has to offer.

Black Mirror is an interesting concept in and of itself. Rather than the traditional set-up of a television show, the series does not follow a continuous storyline within or between seasons, instead being made up of individual episodes with completely different characters and worlds. Every episode tells its own unique story, set in a universe similar to our own.

“It’s a new universe each time”

The key word here is ‘similar’. Each new world within the Black Mirror series has one or two vital differences from our own, resulting in strange, interesting, and even worrying concepts that strike terrifyingly close to home. The proximity of our world to theirs is what makes the series so enticing, and its variety means you don’t have to watch them in any particular order – you can just choose whichever episode’s description sounds like what you want to watch right now.

I had never seen an episode of Black Mirror before I sat down to watch Nosedive, the first instalment of the newly-released third series. I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect, but that’s part of the beauty – you never do. It’s a new universe each time.

Nosedive is set in a world comparable to our own, except that people are encouraged to ‘rate’ each other using a five-star system on their mobile phones. Good ratings take time to accrue, but the higher your overall score, the more things you get access to – including discounts and access to exclusive areas of society.

“a sci-fi social commentary that hits close to home”

The main character of the story, Lacie (played very convincingly by Bryce Dallas Howard), is obsessed by her personal rating, constantly trying to have solely positive interactions with people to ensure she maintains and grows her score. But in this society, there are certain hoops you must jump through to access the things you want. Lacie sets out on a mission to boost her score so she can afford the apartment of her dreams, but encounters a lot more problems than she expected.

The social issues caused by the ability of everyone to control each other’s ratings, plus the addition of characters like Lacie’s brother who don’t care about the system, add an interesting dynamic to the storyline. This results in a sci-fi social commentary that hits close to home, given our current advance into the online world and what many people term society’s ‘obsession’ with social media.

Verdict: From just this one episode, I already love the concept of the series – the quirks of these alternative societies, not so distant from our own – and the idea that you can dip in and out as you like. I will definitely be continuing with the series, as well as going back to look at the last two seasons when I get the chance. Whether you decide to binge-watch the lot, or take each one as its own short film, I would definitely recommend Black Mirror.

Isobel Sheene

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Media sourced from YouTube and The New York Observer

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