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fantastic in plastic
Jun 15, 2007

Wow, she's saying some profound stuff. I bet she's read The Hobbit.


Microcline posted:

The episode isn't supposed to have a simple, easy to digest moral message. We don't get a clean answer as to whether he made the "right" decision to end his marriage, and it's ultimately moot. The protagonist seeks the truth (which is held to be virtuous and liberating), but uncovers two truths that he is unable to reconcile--he loves his wife, but she may not love him. "The Fox and the Grapes" has the moral that cognitive dissonance is bad, but "The Entire History of You" is about how much of human happiness and functionality may be unattainable without it.

Black Mirror is at its worst when it's a crotchety old man bitching about "kids these days" and at its best when it's using technology to explore old (and omnipresent) themes, like how "The National Anthem" repeats themes from DeLillo's Mao II, "15 Million Merits" is based on Marx' theories of class structure, the struggle of truth versus happiness in "The Entire History of You", Nietzsche's debtor-creditor theory of punishment (where the punished (debtor) repays society/the victim (creditor) by allowing them to exercise the sadism caused by social repression), and how "The Waldo Moment" is a critique of charisma and cult-of-personality.

The only episode that really requires technology (instead of just being enhanced by it) for it's central conflict is the sex robot one.

I agree with you that Black Mirror works best when it explores human themes, but that's why Entire History of You fell flat for me. He had the intuition that his wife was cheating on him when he saw her at the party, and the rest of the story felt like a standard detective tale. The premise, though, that we all have magic boxes that can show other people the past, undermines the detective aspect -- I felt like anyone in that world who was wrongly accused would lose their temper and angrily replay their history with the person they were accused of cheating with to show their innocence. The opening sequence with the job interview suggests that these kind of "ethical reviews" are common enough, at least that a business and airport security can ask for them and not be objected to, so I don't think privacy concerns were much of a thing in this world. So it was an interesting bit of world-building, but as a human drama it didn't work for me.

e: Thinking about it, I feel a bit the same about White Bear. It was a good horror story, but the voyeuristic aspect of it doesn't seem like something real people would do.

fantastic in plastic fucked around with this message at Jan 20, 2015 around 07:15

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qntm
Jun 17, 2009


Tao Jones posted:

e: Thinking about it, I feel a bit the same about White Bear. It was a good horror story, but the voyeuristic aspect of it doesn't seem like something real people would do.

The only thing separating White Bear from reality is one capricious judge and the currently non-existent mind-wiping technology.

And a few odds and ends in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, I guess, but pfeh.

McSpanky
Jan 16, 2005




qntm posted:

And a few odds and ends in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, I guess, but pfeh.

I know this show is British but my impulse reaction to that is "like the loving UN is gonna stop us from doing what we want".

Tao Jones posted:

e: Thinking about it, I feel a bit the same about White Bear. It was a good horror story, but the voyeuristic aspect of it doesn't seem like something real people would do.

It wasn't that long ago that tortures and executions of notorious criminals were public spectacles happily attended in our so-called civilized societies. Turning that into a kind of live-blogged theme park experience seems unfortunately all too plausible.

McSpanky fucked around with this message at Jan 20, 2015 around 13:00

Doltos
Dec 28, 2005

If you meet the Buddha in the lane, feed him the ball.

I think White Bear was a little over the top. There's kidnapping crimes all the time and most people barely care about vengeance on the criminal past incarceration or the death penalty. To have all these people not only support keeping this girl in a torture like setting for years on end, but to actually go and watch it like a theme park doesn't make sense for the time this is set in (which I'm assuming is anywhere between 2012 to 2030ish). Maybe in a dystopian future, but for England 10 years down the road I just don't see people becoming that bloodthirsty.

But on the other hand the acting in White Bear was pretty great. I hated the main character throughout the entire episode because she was always uncontrollably sobbing and being useless, and then the reveal at the end made it make perfect sense.

withak
Jan 15, 2003


Grimey Drawer

The Toast uncovers a leaked list of the next few episodes.

egon_beeblebrox
Feb 29, 2008

WILL AMOUNT TO NOTHING IN LIFE.



withak posted:

The Toast uncovers a leaked list of the next few episodes.

This is great.

QuoProQuid
Jan 12, 2012


withak posted:

The Toast uncovers a leaked list of the next few episodes.

Looking forward to Raise High the Red String.

ruddiger
Jun 3, 2004

No whammy, no whammy, no whammy...

IT TURNS OUT IT'S MAN.

Ur Getting Fatter
Jun 9, 2007

Fast Food Fight



Edit: poo poo, left this open too long. Was replying to Doltos.

It's not about realism, though.

While you could (debatably) argue that "there's no way that this specific scenario could happen", the more salient point is that people nowadays (and apparently British people in particular?) enjoy the spectacle of hunting down and punishing a criminal.

Whenever a kidnapping or murder happens, the media will obsess over it for days, anyone related to the victim will be scrutinized and instantly becomes a suspect, their lives destroyed in the process.

People will go out of their way to let you know that "if I got my hands on that sicko I would cut his balls off", or "they should hang that bastard under a bridge", etc.

On the other hand, you have this increasing phenomenon of people having camera on their hands all the time, always filming but rarely participating.

I think Black Mirror is basically just taking all these elements and combining them into a story that while not 100% plausible, is plausible enough to make you pause and examine everything with a more critical stance. "Ok, this wouldn't happen, but how close enough to this do we have to get before we stop?".

Ur Getting Fatter fucked around with this message at Jan 20, 2015 around 17:56

Total Meatlove
Jan 28, 2007


Rangers died, shoujo Hitler cried ;_;


Doltos posted:

I think White Bear was a little over the top. There's kidnapping crimes all the time and most people barely care about vengeance on the criminal past incarceration or the death penalty. To have all these people not only support keeping this girl in a torture like setting for years on end, but to actually go and watch it like a theme park doesn't make sense for the time this is set in (which I'm assuming is anywhere between 2012 to 2030ish). Maybe in a dystopian future, but for England 10 years down the road I just don't see people becoming that bloodthirsty.

But on the other hand the acting in White Bear was pretty great. I hated the main character throughout the entire episode because she was always uncontrollably sobbing and being useless, and then the reveal at the end made it make perfect sense.

You need to read some of the comments and editorials on the Bulger killers and Maxine Carr, which inform the episode a lot.

McDragon
Sep 11, 2007



withak posted:

The Toast uncovers a leaked list of the next few episodes.

"what if phones, but too much" would be a good title for this thread

Sri.Theo
Apr 16, 2008


Tao Jones posted:

I agree with you that Black Mirror works best when it explores human themes, but that's why Entire History of You fell flat for me. He had the intuition that his wife was cheating on him when he saw her at the party, and the rest of the story felt like a standard detective tale. The premise, though, that we all have magic boxes that can show other people the past, undermines the detective aspect -- I felt like anyone in that world who was wrongly accused would lose their temper and angrily replay their history with the person they were accused of cheating with to show their innocence. The opening sequence with the job interview suggests that these kind of "ethical reviews" are common enough, at least that a business and airport security can ask for them and not be objected to, so I don't think privacy concerns were much of a thing in this world. So it was an interesting bit of world-building, but as a human drama it didn't work for me.

e: Thinking about it, I feel a bit the same about White Bear. It was a good horror story, but the voyeuristic aspect of it doesn't seem like something real people would do.

That's the point, if you could prove things all the time wouldn't you feel that you had too? Imagine what that would do to relationships. And as for Whit Bear are you from the UK? If you are you need to read the tabloids more.

qntm
Jun 17, 2009


withak posted:

The Toast uncovers a leaked list of the next few episodes.

The joke is that Black Mirror is actually excellent.

fantastic in plastic
Jun 15, 2007

Wow, she's saying some profound stuff. I bet she's read The Hobbit.


Sri.Theo posted:

That's the point, if you could prove things all the time wouldn't you feel that you had too? Imagine what that would do to relationships. And as for Whit Bear are you from the UK? If you are you need to read the tabloids more.

I'm American. We have plenty of people who think that prisoners are scum who don't deserve any rights or empathy, but when we hear about scandals of prisoners being mistreated, those kinds of people are more likely to say "eh, gently caress 'em anyway" and just tacitly approve of it rather than say they wish they could participate in it. The hypocrisy here is more that there are many people who are certain that guns and religion are protected in the Constitution but never speak up when it comes to the part where it forbids cruel and unusual punishment.

If there was something specific to the UK being satirized in White Bear other than the obvious things about technology enabling sadistic voyeurism, it was over my head.

F Stop Fitzgerald
Dec 11, 2010





I think Americans would be the first to embrace the combination of celebrities, theme parks/zoos and warped justice, actually.

Republican Vampire
Jun 2, 2007



Speaking of America, a American Remake is in development. No word on whether Brooker's involved, although he has previously said that he intended to run any international versions of the show. HBO, AMC and Netflix have previously expressed interest in showing it. Personally I'm hoping for HBO.

Monagle
May 7, 2007
Wonka Wash spelled backwards.

Republican Vampire posted:

Speaking of America, a American Remake is in development. No word on whether Brooker's involved, although he has previously said that he intended to run any international versions of the show. HBO, AMC and Netflix have previously expressed interest in showing it. Personally I'm hoping for HBO.

Since its just an anthology show, It could work out that its not a remake so much as it is a continuation on another network

withak
Jan 15, 2003


Grimey Drawer

Yeah hopefully it is more like "HBO pays for the next batch of episodes instead of the BBC" instead of "the same episodes as before but with American accents".

Ur Getting Fatter
Jun 9, 2007

Fast Food Fight



The American version of White Bear should be that reality show that follows an honest-to-God militia that hunts down illegal Mexicans.

Also, America already had a movie where a satirical news anchor runs for office and proves to be surprisingly popular so really Brooker is just late to the party if you think about it.

Republican Vampire
Jun 2, 2007



withak posted:

Yeah hopefully it is more like "HBO pays for the next batch of episodes instead of the BBC" instead of "the same episodes as before but with American accents".

Yeah. That's my hope. But they didn't mention whether Brooker would keep writing/running it.

Svaha
Oct 4, 2005



withak posted:

Yeah hopefully it is more like "HBO pays for the next batch of episodes instead of the BBC" instead of "the same episodes as before but with American accents".
It's not going to be produced by HBO though, it's going to be produced by these guys:

quote:

The combined company’s slate of shows includes “The Biggest Loser,” “Big Brother,” “American Idol,” “MasterChef” and “Hell on Wheels.”

There are a few American stations that I would trust to produce thoughtful television, this isn't one of them.

Unless this company is brave enough to satirize themselves, I predict lukewarm regurgitated poo poo designed to squeeze out a quick buck on name recognition. I hope I'm wrong though.

Republican Vampire
Jun 2, 2007



Svaha posted:

Unless this company is brave enough to satirize themselves, I predict lukewarm regurgitated poo poo designed to squeeze out a quick buck on name recognition. I hope I'm wrong though.

That's the production company, not the channel, and it's the US Arm of the same company that made the UK version. They're still looking for a channel, and HBO, AMC and Netflix are the ones that've expressed interest in the past according to EW.

Wake_N_Bake
Dec 5, 2003

I love to argue by using all caps. I feel it helps keep people from noticing that I have little or nothing to add to any given conversation. I also

I honestly don't care at all for an American Black Mirror. The series is loving brilliant, as is casting, direction, and story. Unless Brooker is directly involved, I can't see it getting any better.


vvvv Thank God.

Wake_N_Bake fucked around with this message at Jan 30, 2015 around 05:41

ashpanash
Apr 9, 2008

I can see when you are lying.


http://www.avclub.com/article/ameri...or-works-214546

quote:

Brooker has said in the past that he intends to serve as showrunner on any foreign adaptations of the series.

ufarn
May 30, 2009


How will they be able to show something like 50M M on US television, even on HBO.

Ur Getting Fatter
Jun 9, 2007

Fast Food Fight



ufarn posted:

How will they be able to show something like 50M M on US television, even on HBO.

The left wing will see it as a scathing critique of the status quo and the right wing will laud it as a visionary portrayal of American Capitalism, everybody wins.

Wake_N_Bake
Dec 5, 2003

I love to argue by using all caps. I feel it helps keep people from noticing that I have little or nothing to add to any given conversation. I also

ufarn posted:

How will they be able to show something like 50M M on US television, even on HBO.

Have you ever seen HBO? 50MM would be mild compared to some of their programming.

Plucky Brit
Nov 7, 2009

Swing low, sweet chariot


Wake_N_Bake posted:

Have you ever seen HBO? 50MM would be mild compared to some of their programming.

Only change would be softcore porn in the adverts people are forced to watch.

Wake_N_Bake
Dec 5, 2003

I love to argue by using all caps. I feel it helps keep people from noticing that I have little or nothing to add to any given conversation. I also

Plucky Brit posted:

Only change would be softcore porn in the adverts people are forced to watch.

No, that wouldn't change, either.

JesseHechtCREATIVE
Feb 20, 2013

Cuisine, Reviews, Entertainment, Animation, Toys, Images, Videogames, EVERYTHING ELSE!

I just wrapped up the series. It's amazing and I crave more long-form British television (Yes, I'm an American) like this. The acting and writing are top-notch.

My favorites:

1. 15 Million Merits
2. White Bear
3. White Christmas
4. The National Anthem
5. Be Right Back
6. The Entire History of You
7. The Waldo Moment

I'm also trying to get people around me into the show. What episodes would you goons recommend for a younger crowd (trying to show it to 16-year old neighbors who are pretty mature, as well as 20-30-something co-workers) and an older crowd (parents, grandparents, etc.)? Thanks, all.

Barry Convex
Sep 1, 2005

Think of the good things, Pim! The good things!

Like Jesus, candy, and crackerjacks! Ice cream and cake and lots o'laffs!
Grandma, Grandpa, and Uncle Joe! Larry, Curly, and brother Moe!


Doltos posted:

I think White Bear was a little over the top. There's kidnapping crimes all the time and most people barely care about vengeance on the criminal past incarceration or the death penalty. To have all these people not only support keeping this girl in a torture like setting for years on end, but to actually go and watch it like a theme park doesn't make sense for the time this is set in (which I'm assuming is anywhere between 2012 to 2030ish). Maybe in a dystopian future, but for England 10 years down the road I just don't see people becoming that bloodthirsty.

But on the other hand the acting in White Bear was pretty great. I hated the main character throughout the entire episode because she was always uncontrollably sobbing and being useless, and then the reveal at the end made it make perfect sense.

Am I the only one who thought the fake premise of White Bear was more interesting than the actual one revealed in the twist ending?

ashpanash
Apr 9, 2008

I can see when you are lying.


Barry Convex posted:

Am I the only one who thought the fake premise of White Bear was more interesting than the actual one revealed in the twist ending?

I'm sure you're not the only one but to me it felt a bit stale and prosaic. I was happy that the twist was both suitably different than what came before it, and that it was appreciably horrifying in a more clever way.

Talorat
Sep 18, 2007

Hahaha! Aw come on, I can't tell you everything right away! That would make for a boring story, don't you think?


Just started watching this show and holy poo poo Fifteen Million Merits maybe the most horrifyingly cynical piece of television I have ever witnessed. I haven't had that strong of an emotional reaction to a piece of television in months, maybe years. It's terrifying, especially as someone in tech, after all this is the future we are all so desperately trying to bring about, isn't it.

I like this show a lot, I am going to force all of my friends and family to watch it.'

Plucky Brit
Nov 7, 2009

Swing low, sweet chariot


Wake_N_Bake posted:

No, that wouldn't change, either.

I mean that the sex would be more graphic, not less.

Total Meatlove
Jan 28, 2007


Rangers died, shoujo Hitler cried ;_;


Talorat posted:

Just started watching this show and holy poo poo Fifteen Million Merits maybe the most horrifyingly cynical piece of television I have ever witnessed. I haven't had that strong of an emotional reaction to a piece of television in months, maybe years. It's terrifying, especially as someone in tech, after all this is the future we are all so desperately trying to bring about, isn't it.

I like this show a lot, I am going to force all of my friends and family to watch it.'

We're already there...

Sardikar
Sep 27, 2004
I cant think of anything to put here.

Talorat posted:

Just started watching this show and holy poo poo Fifteen Million Merits maybe the most horrifyingly cynical piece of television I have ever witnessed. I haven't had that strong of an emotional reaction to a piece of television in months, maybe years. It's terrifying, especially as someone in tech, after all this is the future we are all so desperately trying to bring about, isn't it.

I like this show a lot, I am going to force all of my friends and family to watch it.'

Having watched all of the I have to say its this one that gave me nightmares, primarily the part where the MC being forced to watch the woman he loves and respects being raped while while in a drugged stupor she repeats the same thing over and over again...

fantastic in plastic
Jun 15, 2007

Wow, she's saying some profound stuff. I bet she's read The Hobbit.


Zorglorfian posted:

I just wrapped up the series. It's amazing and I crave more long-form British television (Yes, I'm an American) like this. The acting and writing are top-notch.

My favorites:

1. 15 Million Merits
2. White Bear
3. White Christmas
4. The National Anthem
5. Be Right Back
6. The Entire History of You
7. The Waldo Moment

I'm also trying to get people around me into the show. What episodes would you goons recommend for a younger crowd (trying to show it to 16-year old neighbors who are pretty mature, as well as 20-30-something co-workers) and an older crowd (parents, grandparents, etc.)? Thanks, all.

It depends. I've shown it to a few people adopting the strategy that was used to expose me to it ("It's from the UK, it's called Black Mirror, don't watch it if there are children around, I won't tell you anything else about it"). The first two episodes, more than the rest, really rub your face in poo poo and I think they lose some of their effectiveness if you're prepped for how Black Mirror tells stories. But because they rub your face in poo poo, some people have a negative reaction to it and don't watch the whole series.

(I wonder what the experience of watching The National Anthem out of order is. I think it would be only an OK episode if you went into it with some idea of how Black Mirror plays with your expectations.)

Murmur Twin
Feb 11, 2003

No Gehn, No Pain


Tao Jones posted:

It depends. I've shown it to a few people adopting the strategy that was used to expose me to it ("It's from the UK, it's called Black Mirror, don't watch it if there are children around, I won't tell you anything else about it"). The first two episodes, more than the rest, really rub your face in poo poo and I think they lose some of their effectiveness if you're prepped for how Black Mirror tells stories. But because they rub your face in poo poo, some people have a negative reaction to it and don't watch the whole series.

I watched National Anthem + 15 Million Merits in one sitting when I first discovered Black Mirror and really liked them, so I told a close friend (who I forgot doesn't like scary movies/TV shows) to check them out. The next night, I got a text:

"I'm watching a show with a prime minister and a pig? Is this the right show?"

followed by

"Is he going to do it?"

followed a phone call from her crying. She said "I can't believe you thought I would like this show, that was loving horrible", hung up, and was genuinely angry at me for a few days. She got over it but it's definitely made me pause before recommending Black Mirror to other people.

5 RING SHRIMP
Oct 3, 2012



Is there a non torrenting way to watch the Christmas Special in the US yet??

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fantastic in plastic
Jun 15, 2007

Wow, she's saying some profound stuff. I bet she's read The Hobbit.


Murmur Twin posted:

I watched National Anthem + 15 Million Merits in one sitting when I first discovered Black Mirror and really liked them, so I told a close friend (who I forgot doesn't like scary movies/TV shows) to check them out. The next night, I got a text:

"I'm watching a show with a prime minister and a pig? Is this the right show?"

followed by

"Is he going to do it?"

followed a phone call from her crying. She said "I can't believe you thought I would like this show, that was loving horrible", hung up, and was genuinely angry at me for a few days. She got over it but it's definitely made me pause before recommending Black Mirror to other people.

Yeah, my experience was roughly similar to this, though my friend made it through 15 Million Merits before telling me she felt like she needed a bath and wasn't going to watch the rest of the episodes. So I'm a little circumspect about recommending it to friends.

I think it's a testament to how effective the show is that people have that reaction -- I doubt that any celebrated show from recent years could literally reduce people to tears -- but I totally understand where it comes from. I wouldn't describe the show to someone else as a "satire" since in the US I think that word tends to imply "funny" or "making fun of powerful people" whereas Black Mirror is absolutely vicious toward everyday society.

The "safe" approach to the show is probably to show someone The Entire History of You or White Christmas. I think they're the most non-threatening episodes in that I think they're most about the consequences of the technology in them rather than pointing out that humanity is awful. (I feel like Be Right Back is like this too, in that it's not about how people are awful. But grief is such a personal theme that I think recommending it to someone who I didn't know extremely well would not be a wise decision.)

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