Title animation from "Black Mirror"

British TV show “Black Mirror” creates horror from Twitter and YouTube tech


“Black Mirror” is the BBC’s answer to the old “Twilight Zone” series, but with a modern twist. “Mirror’s” tales turn on how technology twists our reality in truly horrific ways. Series creator Charlie Brooker told “The Guardian,”

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 or a smartphone.

Take the first episode, “The National Anthem.”

The “Facebook Princess” has been kidnapped. The kidnapper’s only demand: the British prime minister must have sex with a pig on camera.

Let me repeat that so it sinks in all the way.

The British PM must have sex with a pig on camera.

The kidnapper also gives a list of tech specs that will make the event impossible to fake. The “event” is to air on a live stream for all the world to see.

Now my first instinct, if I were the PM, was to say, “Well call FTD, have them send flowers to the Queen Mum because there is no way I’m fucking a pig on a live stream. Now I’m going back to bed.”

Unfortunately, technology makes it impossible for the PM to avoid a serious approach to the situation. The kidnapper has already made their possession of the princess and their demands for her safe return known to the world via YouTube — despite the clip being online for only nine minutes, the world had already downloaded the info before it could be stopped.

No covering up, no running away.

As the episode unfolds, we get a variety of points of view on the situation. The media is on hand, vultures willing to milk the PM and the princess’s tragedy for ratings despite the government issuing a media blackout.

We also hear from civilians in their natural habitats. Most support the PM in refusing the kidnapper’s demands — until a revelation turns the world against the PM, a satire on the fickle nature of celebrity in pop culture.

And then there’s the PM himself, with the very personal struggle of what this show of humiliation will do not only to his career, but to his relationship with his wife.

The episode runs under an hour, so it’s an easy one-sitting viewing. And oh is it worth it beyond just the “will he or won’t he” central story. Plus, it’s got such a cinematic sheen that it plays like an episode of “24” or, closer to Britain’s own “Spooks.”

And did I mention this is just the first of six episodes?

“Black Mirror” is on Netflix. Watch the original versions before some American network mucks it up. Robert Downey Jr has already optioned an episode to turn into a movie.

Check out the trailer below.

UPDATE (August 2016): Netflix is producing twelve new episodes of “Black Mirror.” Watch for them in October.

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