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    #26
    Black Mirror

    I'm enjoying this new series. This series has moved away somewhat from the bleak endings of the previous two; occasionally you'll finish an episode feeling positive.
    I mean, maybe compared to White Christmas, but two episodes in both endings are pretty bleak. I mean, I guess Nosedive's is cathartic, but it's not exactly happy.

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      #27
      Black Mirror

      But he's never previously written anything in the series as uplifting as San Junipero. Which was also very complex and moving story.

      The quality is so high in Black Mirror. There's only a single episode (The Waldo Moment) I considered weak.

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        #28
        Black Mirror

        Brooker thinks The Waldo Moment didn't go far enough, given our current situation.

        Playtest wasn't really about anything, other than just how, if we ever create that kind of jacked-in virtual reality, it will be very confusing and dangerous. And maybe something about how fear works. That's Wyatt Russell, by the way. Kurt Russell and Goldie Hawn's son.

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          #29
          Black Mirror

          Hot Pepsi wrote: Playtest wasn't really about anything, other than just how, if we ever create that kind of jacked-in virtual reality, it will be very confusing and dangerous.
          I found it retreading themes I'd seen already, in films like eXistenZ.

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            #30
            Black Mirror

            Yeah, I wasn't a fan of Playtest, especially once he broke. Oh, you're really doing this, Black Mirror? OK. I guess I'll switch off my brain until you're done incepting us.It potentially could have had something interesting to say but it kind of waltzed right past it in favour of cliched twists.

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              #31
              Black Mirror

              Only through 4 of the new ones, but San Junipero is the highlight so far for me. A lot I liked about the production on the other 3 (and performances, Howard was excellent), but two of the four are maybe the weakest of the series overall.

              Still, overall the standard is really high, so that's not too bad really.

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                #32
                Black Mirror

                Ginger Yellow wrote: Yeah, I wasn't a fan of Playtest, especially once he broke. Oh, you're really doing this, Black Mirror? OK. I guess I'll switch off my brain until you're done incepting us.It potentially could have had something interesting to say but it kind of waltzed right past it in favour of cliched twists.
                Yeah, the nested-dreams/Inception stuff didn't have the impact that maybe the writers were hoping for. Not so much that it was cliche - sci-fi returns to the same ideas over and over and that's ok - but that it just didn't matter. It didn't tell us anything about any of the characters. And I felt like the whole business about him and his mom was never "paid off" nor did we learn anything about the mysterious Japanese creator guy. Perhaps it would have worked better as a short series.*

                The one about the "roaches" was sound. It could have been preachy but it wasn't. [spoiler]I don't know if that technology could ever exist, but militarism relies on dehumanizing the enemy. The eugenics angle was chilling too.[/spoiler]

                I didn't quite get the end of "Shut Up and Dance." [spoiler] Were we supposed to be finding out that he wasn't just a kid jacking it to regular porn, but a budding pedophile and therefore not the sympathetic figure we imagined during the rest of the story?[/spoiler] Is it really that easy to hack into somebody's camera?

                "San Junipero" was so brilliantly written. It was so unclear what was really going on at first - I was thinking, no where in the 80s as as 80sish as that place - but then it didn't matter because of the central relationship is appealing, and then it all makes sense. It pulls the viewer along at just the right pace.

                As I believe we discussed on here once, it's not entirely clear that it would be possible to ever create a completely simulated world in a computer. It might be no more difficult (i.e. impossible) to just create a whole new universe. But then, San Junipero wasn't a whole universe and if it was relying on the living users to fill in some of the details, maybe that would be possible someday. Reminded me of the too-short sequel to Battlestar Galactica, Caprica. In that, the religious zealots create a computer simulated "heaven" and build a religion for the cylons around it. That weird gothy/sex and violence club where people go "just to feel something" was similar to the thing in Caprica where lots of people - mostly kids - jack their brains into a simulated noir city where the most popular entertainment is murder. If you die in that world, you just get kicked out and have to start over later, so everyone uses it to get out their aggression and darkest wishes.

                *Not that everything has to be about something. Like there was that movie with Ethan Hawke about time-travelling and somebody who was their own mother and father.... It wasn't really about anything, but I loved that. And a lot of the great Twilight Zone's were just clever or intense, but not really about anything.

                One of the things I'd like to do if I could ever just hole up and read for months on end is get a lot of old sci-fi anthologies and pulp magazines. Sci-fi really does well in one-off short-stories.

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                  #33
                  Black Mirror

                  Everything doesn't have to be about something, but I think Black Mirror does.

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                    #34
                    Black Mirror

                    Is it really that easy to hack into somebody's camera?
                    It's not easy , but it's not implausible. If you ignore security updates, for example, or you're still on Windows XP.

                    Edit: Or inadvertently install a trojan.

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                      #35
                      Black Mirror

                      Ginger Yellow wrote: Everything doesn't have to be about something, but I think Black Mirror does.
                      I get your point. I think they were trying to make that about fear and maybe about the possibilities of virtual reality, but it wasn't original enough to do much with the former and the latter is so far into the future/impossible, that who cares?

                      In Neuromancer, William Gibson posited that people would have to jack-in their whole consciousness into cyberspace, and there have been so many stories - especially in film and TV - about technologies that will let us do that. But it turns out that the internet can be completely absorbing and suck us into a different world with just a bunch of text. That's one of the reasons why "Nosedive" was so compelling. We don't need for the technology to be really all that sophisticated to completely suck us into its world and alter our reality.*

                      Somebody described twitter as the most addictive video game ever made, and there's something too that. Or, even before Pokemon Go, people were getting killed in cross walks or while driving because they were absorbed in their phone. In crowds or whenever my social anxiety kicks in, I often pull out my phone and look at twitter just to "escape."

                      The change to the world we live in now came in gradual stages so I don't think we usually fathom just how different things really are and how that has to be changing how are brains work on a fairly basic level.*

                      * Molecular? Structural? I'm not a neurologist.

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                        #36
                        Black Mirror

                        Finished the series last night. My episode ranking:

                        San Junipero
                        Shut Up and Dance
                        Nosedive
                        Hated in the Nation
                        Men Against Fire
                        Playtest

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                          #37
                          Black Mirror

                          Oooh, we're doing rankings? For me it would be...

                          Nosedive
                          San Junipero
                          Hated in the Nation
                          Men Against Fire
                          Shut Up and Dance
                          Playtest

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                            #38
                            Black Mirror

                            Three episodes in now. Still pretty fucking bleak.

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                              #39
                              Black Mirror

                              Finished yesterday. (For some reason I thought there were 8 of them, not 6.) There is still a lot to appreciate in every episode, but some dipped a little too far into 'standard TV fare' realm.

                              Top notch : Nosedive, San Junipero
                              Solid: Men Against Fire, Hated in the Nation
                              So-so: Playtest, Shut Up and Dance

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                                #40
                                Black Mirror

                                Started watching this series for the first time last week. I'd avoided it until now largely because of Charlie Brooker's TV persona and his column writing, which come off as deceptively acerbic and at times quite smug.

                                The National Anthem, Be Right Back and White Bear are terrific. The Entire History Of You deserves separate appraisal seeing as it was written by Jesse Armstrong (half of Peep Show) but overall it's a fine series. Will start on the third season tonight.

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                                  #41
                                  Black Mirror

                                  Deceptively acerbic?

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                                    #42
                                    Black Mirror

                                    Poorly-phrased. They're not as acerbic as they appear on first reading, is what I meant.

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                                      #43
                                      Black Mirror

                                      TVGoHome was pretty damn acerbic. His TV persona is more curmudgeonly, I guess, but that's probably just mellowing with age.

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                                        #44
                                        Black Mirror

                                        As ever, I'm late, but catching up very quickly. Started from the start, gobsmacked and hysterical at the Cameron/pigfuck opener. Only when I saw Brooker's name on the credits at the end did it click. 'The Entire History of You' and 'Be Right Back' have had me raving about their economy, their wit, their insight, their execution, even if some characters are often verging on the cut-out, somewhere between one- and two- dimensional. But I don't think that matters necessarily in a short, moral tale - the point is the point. Still got nine to go, but I haven't enjoyed a UK series this much since The Thick Of It. (Did that ever come back, by the way? If it did, I'll probably get round to it in 2019 sometime.)

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                                          #45
                                          Black Mirror

                                          imp wrote: As ever, I'm late, but catching up very quickly. Started from the start, gobsmacked and hysterical at the Cameron/pigfuck opener. Only when I saw Brooker's name on the credits at the end did it click. 'The Entire History of You' and 'Be Right Back' have had me raving about their economy, their wit, their insight, their execution, even if some characters are often verging on the cut-out, somewhere between one- and two- dimensional. But I don't think that matters necessarily in a short, moral tale - the point is the point. Still got nine to go, but I haven't enjoyed a UK series this much since The Thick Of It. (Did that ever come back, by the way? If it did, I'll probably get round to it in 2019 sometime.)
                                          Veep is pretty much just The Thick of It in the US, isn't it?

                                          Though now in Trumpistan, Veep may just start to feel in poor taste. Because on Veep the complete ominshambles-clusterfuck feels, ultimately, fairly benign for the country as a whole. Whereas we're now living with a White House that is an omnishambles-clusterfuck that is very unlikely to be benign.

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                                            #46
                                            Originally posted by Reginald Christ View Post
                                            I'd avoided it until now largely because of Charlie Brooker's TV persona and his column writing, which come off as deceptively acerbic and at times quite smug.
                                            I really phrased that badly, didn't I?

                                            Watched all of season three yesterday. Largely excellent apart from the penultimate episode, Men Against Fire. Please tell me I'm not the only person who got a bit teary at the end of San Junipero.

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                                              #47
                                              I'm wearing a San Junipero T-shirt right now.

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                                                #48
                                                *thumbs up*

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                                                  #49
                                                  You are indeed not alone.

                                                  Does anyone know a release date for Season 4 yet? It's supposed to be very soon.

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                                                    #50
                                                    Originally posted by Wouter D View Post
                                                    You are indeed not alone.

                                                    Does anyone know a release date for Season 4 yet? It's supposed to be very soon.
                                                    Me too. I found Be Right Back very moving as well.

                                                    I've just heard 'late October'. There's no official date I can find.

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