Black Mirror (TV series)
|Genre||Sci-Fi, drama, satire, anthology|
|Created by||Charlie Brooker|
|Country of origin||United Kingdom|
|No. of seasons||2|
|No. of episodes||6 (List of episodes)|
|Original channel||Channel 4|
|Picture format||1080i (HDTV)|
|Audio format||Dolby Digital 5.1|
|Original run||4 December 2011– present|
|Related shows||Dead Set
Black Mirror is a British television drama series created by Charlie Brooker and 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.
Announced on 12 July 2012, the second series began broadcasting on 11 February 2013. Like the first series, it is made up of three episodes with unconnected narratives.
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."
According to Brooker (speaking to SFX) the production team considered giving the series some kind of linking theme or presenter, but ultimately it was decided not to do so. "There were discussions. Do we set them all in the same street? Do we have some characters who appear in each episode, a bit Three Colours: Blue/White/Red style? We did think about having a character who introduces them, Tales from the Crypt style, or like Rod Serling or Alfred Hitchcock or Roald Dahl, because most anthology shows did have that ... But the more we thought about it we thought it was a bit weird." 
Black Mirror generated positive reviews, having been credited as being innovative and shocking with twists-in-the-tale reminiscent of The Twilight Zone. Michael Hogan of The Daily Telegraph described the first episode, "The National Anthem", as "a shocking but ballsy, blackly comic study of the modern media". He went on to say that "This was a dementedly brilliant idea. The satire was so audacious, it left me open-mouthed and squealing. Rather like that poor pig."
The series was taken up across much of the world, including Australia, Israel, Sweden, Spain, Poland, Hungary and China.
The series has become popular and been well received in China, becoming one of the most discussed series in early 2012. User ratings on Douban reach 9.3, higher than most popular American dramas. Many viewers and critics praised the depth of the series. A reporter from The Beijing News thought the programme was "an apocalypse of modern world", "desperate but profound". Another article from the same newspaper thought each story criticised television from different aspects. Xu Wen at The Epoch Times thought the stories reveal modernity's moral turpitude.
Jane Simon of The Daily Mirror newspaper website, mirror.co.uk, said that the second episode of the second series, "White Bear", lacked the "instant emotional tug" of the season opener, "Be Right Back". She went on to say that, a third of the way through the second episode, she had lost hope of it concluding well, "[...] the acting was unbelievable, the script was riddled with horror-film cliches, the violence was a bit over the top [...]", but that by the end "I turned out to be absolutely dead wrong on every single count." She ended the piece with "It’s another work of dark and twisted genius from Mr Brooker."
Martin Saunders in Christianity magazine reported, "These visions of the future really felt like dark but possible realities", and "This is the genius of Black Mirror as a whole – like the great satirists, Brooker isn’t just poking fun at culture but making a deadly serious point."
The second series is still popular in China. Wen Bai at Information Times thought the second series was still "cannily made", and "near perfection". Zeng Jun at Guangzhou Daily thought the second series has "intensified high-tech overflow style". A reporter from The Beijing News thought there are "more high-tech mixed with life" in the second series, and the series "seems like sci-fi, but gazes various problems in real life, and trying hard to think on the future of human society deeply." Zeng Minghui at Southern Metropolis Entertainment Weekly thought "Black Mirror, which made in the birthplace of capitalism, do not optimistic about the future of western civilization". He deemed audience in "White Bear" "collectively lost in a hallucination about justice unconsciously", he saw "Tocqueville's introspection of tyranny of the majority" in the episode, and the story implies "absolute democracy can be another form of stalinism" as well as satires "revelry brought by consumerism". "The Waldo Moment" implies through the modern media tools, "politician's political view becomes insignificant, their media image, 'acting skill' in other words, are the most important". Hong Jia at Wen Wei Po thought, besides artificial intelligence, "Be Right Back" further explored "What is love? What is being?". "White Bear" raised the question of "What is punishment? How to convict criminals and onlookers? Should one be seen as a new person if he loses all his recalls? Is apathy a crime? Will Sisyphus's endless boulder come to an end?"
The series won an International Emmy in 2012 for Best TV Mini-Series. International Emmys are for TV shows "produced and initially aired outside the US."
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- Black Mirror microsite at Channel 4
- Black Mirror press release from Channel 4
- Black Mirror at the Internet Movie Database