Series Overview: Black Mirror Series 1 [2011]

a series overview by the Crow & the Azure-winged Magpie.


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OPENING THOUGHTS

The Corvid Review will, in time, start doing an episode-by-episode breakdown of Black Mirror episodes, starting with the latest season (since we’re so far along). But until then, this post will serve as a quick wrap-up of what the Crow and the Azure-winged Magpie have thought about the series so far.

How this is going to work:

The Magpie and I will alternate between episodes, and at the end, we’ll both score each episode separately. Since this is an overview of quite a few hours of video, the synopses and the reviews won’t be too in-depth. Thankfully, the two of us seem to agree on most of the episodes, so this shouldn’t be too rough on me.

So, let’s crack that glass and dive in to the strange, strange world of Black Mirror.


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SERIES 1 OVERVIEW

[BM|EP.1]: THE NATIONAL ANTHEM | The Azure-winged Magpie

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PREMISE

(ಠ ‿ ಠ)

Hello-hello! bitchuz!ow! “you lovely folks”. So whaddya we got here? Princess Susannah been kidnapped! Oh noes! And what’re the demands of the bastids that’ve gotten her? For the PM to… t-to… to diddly-do a pig. As in… a live oink-oink…

(ʘ っ ʘ)!

The demands are specific to the point where no one can fake anything. Over the course of the episode: we follow the PM struggle with what he’s supposed to do. We follow the people behind the scenes try and fake the business while trying to get the Princess back. We follow the media being the media – they’re running around willynilly between government demands and trying to cover the story (some of the mediapeople act just typical – like bitchuz ow!). And we follow Joe and Jane Public while they pressure the government to do the ‘right thing’.

REVIEW

It’s an interesting yarn about how the public interacts with the government and the media. Every part of the society we see (the closest to reality Black Mirror has up until the current season) is part of this dynamic whole. The entire ‘art project’ idea makes perfect sense in the end – even though it’s weird as feck. It runs mostly on shock value since nothing like it’s been done before – but in the end it’s an amazing criticism of the sorta society we live in.

RATINGS

The Crow: 6.5/10

The Azure-winged Magpie: 7/10

╰⊱⋛⋋|⋌⋚⊰╯

[BM|EP.2]: FIFTEEN MILLION MERITS | The Crow

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PREMISE

Fifteen Million Merits is my favourite episode of the first two seasons. It’s certainly the most outrageous vision of the future either series of Black Mirror presents within their six episodes. In this fictional future, people are reduced to batteries – and not in the half-arsed way that The Matrix showed: people do nothing other than go on exercise bikes to earn credits. With these credits, they eke out an existence in little cubicles that serve as their homes. Every single moment of their lives is interrupted by these intrusive little adverts that you have to pay to skip. Bing – our lead – hears one of his neighbours (I guess) singing in the bathroom, and offers to buy her into a talent show (which seems to be the apex of entertainment in this world) called Hot Shots, which costs him “Fifteen Million Merits” – almost all his dough. And it all goes fuckup from there. 

REVIEW

The episode is a very specific magnification of the world we currently live in: a world of mobile games and their microtransactions (which bleed into other things as well, as of the writing of this post); a world in which so many people are tuned into reality T.V. like zombies to brains; and in which we’re looking for even that tiny bit of fame despite how much it’ll cost us.

It’s a haunting tale, with heart-achingly sorrowful overtones (and undertones – for that matter). Better T.V. programming is rare to see. Top marks!

RATINGS

The Crow: 9/10

The Azure-winged Magpie: 8/10

╰⊱⋛⋋|⋌⋚⊰╯

[BM|EP.3]: THE ENTIRE HISTORY OF YOU | The Azure-winged Magpie

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PREMISE

Guess who’s back? Back again? Magpie’s back. Don’t run scared.

(ಠ ‿ ಠ)

So… this episode it pretty fucking awesomeballz. This episode was snapped up by Robert Downey Jr (mmm-hmmm!) so he could turn it into a full feature film. Toby Kebbell and Jodie Whittaker (Attack the Block, bruv!) star as a couple who live in a world where everyone’s got these thingies called grains implanted in their heads. These badboys basically turn your eyes into GoPros. And your brains into a big old HDD. We get couple-drama. We get fears of partners cheating on each other. And it finishes off with a scene that could be called a literal ‘black mirror’.

REVIEW

This episode is amazing. I’ve been drunk wayy too many times to be able to see what the fuck was going on in front of me and would like to see the things I missed clearly afterwards. So if they advertised these grain thingies tomorrow… I’d love to have a grain in my brain!

☜(^ ヮ ^ ☜)

Buuut… I think this episode’s a great PSA about why not to. You can see exactly why Hollywood’s got their grubby hands all over this episode. And really – it’s probably going to be a really good film.

RATINGS

The Crow: 8.5/10

The Azure-winged Magpie: 9.5/10


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CLOSING THOUGHTS

So, there we have it. Thanks to the Azure-winged Magpie for taking point on two episodes for this post. Next time, the roles will be reversed; and hopefully, we’ll have the post with you soon so that we can catch up to the spectacular new Season 3 of Black Mirror. We’ll also be including a “thoughts” section to the post so that you can find out what we think about this very unique T.V. show.

For those of you who’ve watched the series: what was your favourite episode so far? Let us know in the comments!

For those of you who haven’t, consider the ratings on this post a wholehearted recommendation that you watch this series (don’t let that first episode put you off, please).

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8 thoughts on “Series Overview: Black Mirror Series 1 [2011]

    1. Oh, absolutely.

      The thing is: I don’t really watch too many TV serials, so I have a small pool to choose from. Off the top of my head, I’d go (counting animation):

      Star Trek: The Next Generation
      (I grew up with this when I was 4 or so, no wonder I’ve always been old in the mind),

      Ghost in the Shell: SAC,

      Black Mirror’s up there (we really need to get back to finishing these series posts),

      Maybe the rebooted BSG before it went stupid,

      I guess Person of Interest, but I’m annoyed at how it came out and ruined one of the-then great ideas I had because it was essentially the same thing in TV format.

      That’s about all I can think of. These days, I’d be hard-pressed to watch a TV series through.

      Like

      1. The same goes for me. I don’t like the TV series in their standard formats – lots of screen-filling talking (because it’s cheap to shoot) and repeats, plus fillers that con’t contribute to the main plot. I watched P.o.I. just for a while but stopped as it felt a good idea but with typical TV-series-aura.

        Westworld was pretty good, although it also had fillers, but it featured very good actors and very strong A. I. ideas, not just some basic Turing test versions. Fargo season 1 was cool too, if you like Coen’s movies. And True Detective had a mind-blowing nihilism. I think that’s almost all I watched in years. Hm, I watched Marvel TV series too, they were not bad, but it was mainly pure action and entertainment.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Westworld and True Detective are both on my to-watch lists (probably going to be the latter one first).

          I watched only Jessica Jones as far as Marvel goes, and while it opened strong (another series that pretty much ruined an opening to one of my story ideas), it fizzled out quick.

          It’s just what you mentioned: TV serials just have to pad things out, and that ruins things.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. True. Well, Luke Cage is much better and I really enjoyed it. Yes, it’s still pure enterntainment, but it was… good. It felt human and in last place about superheroes. There were absolutely fantastic actors, really. Theo Rossi, Rosario Dawson, Simone Missick, Mahershala Ali (I haven’t seen Moonshine yet..) and lots of secondary characters. The story itself may seem simple and down-to-earth, but their performances were just incredible (and I say it rarely about TV series).

            True Detective is a must watch!

            Now I am curious about Ghost in the Shell (I’ve only seen the movie).

            Liked by 1 person

            1. MoonLIGHT! 😛 Moonshine is something VERY different!
              I watched a few episodes of Luke Cage, but I never really went through due to work and all that.

              I shall get around to True Detective in due time.

              I saw in your other comment that you only watched the Hollywood version (will reply after this!) of GITS is a deep and layered franchise, and I thought the hate the latest movie got was unfair and almost on the level of bullying. I would highly recommend it!

              Liked by 1 person

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