The End Comes… Down a Video Phone

Black Mirror is…I guess a good term would be “psychological horror.” There aren’t always monsters, and people don’t always die. But it’s usually creepy as all get out and there’s almost never a happy ending.

The show is about the various ways technology can ruin lives. Some episodes are set in the not-too-distant future: hackers use drones and webcams to cause trouble, or a guy gets stuck in virtual reality horror game. Other episodes happen in high-tech dystopias, like the world where social media likes and dislikes are the only currency.
I need to be vague so I don’t spoil anything…but then again, I’m not eagerly recommending this show. Unlike the scary Doctor Who episodes or those post-apocalyptic stories I like so much, Black Mirror has no discernible morals. It’s always “cynicism beats optimism.” The creator of the show even admitted, “We throw you into a pit of despair and then pee on you, because people seem to like that.”
It’s true. People seem to like the realistic outlook of science fiction like this, even if it’s a pessimistic outlook. But Black Mirror gets really, really pessimistic. Fans admit that it makes them sick to their stomach, but they still enjoy it. It’s kind of like how nerds enjoy the feeling of getting punched in the soul. But worse. It’s very possible for people to go overboard by forgetting the Hope that still remains even as the world is falling apart. So viewer discretion is very much advised.

I did say “usually creepy” and “almost never a happy ending.” The one notable exception is “San Junipero.”
This episode is about the Matrix, except people log on willingly because it’s a fun vacation spot where they can look however they like. When they die, their minds can be uploaded permanently, so it’s basically heaven on Earth. But if your girlfriend is dying of cancer and she would prefer to stay dead, things can get complicated.
Of course, if you’re a girl as well, you’ll be fine. All the “best” stories let the gay people have their happy ending. Even one where 90% of the main characters get terrible endings.
See, in this case, I’m not just disagreeing with the gay romance on a Christian basis. As a nerd, I dislike “San Junipero” because it’s too happy to be Black Mirror. And that says something about the rest of the show.


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