Technology is all around us. It’s everywhere, inundating every facet of our lives. It’s the heartbeat of the modern world, the steady hum always present. It’s a machine—one we used to control, but that now controls us.
I can vividly remember a time when, with perplexed expressions, people asked: “The Inter-what?” Back when cellular telephones were a toy for the wealthy, and our information came from libraries. Or, if you were lucky, an at-home set of Encyclopedias you purchased from a door-to-door salesman.
It seems like only yesterday when people were utterly flabbergasted by AOL, and the notion of online chat rooms with doors to other countries. Which is when many American homes made the transition to high-tech and plunked down the money for an oversized computer that whined and buzzed while dialing up and transporting us to the cyber world. Though it lacked the luster and complexity it now has, the Internet was a modern marvel that changed our view of the world and the course of the future.
The introduction of the World Wide Web into our homes was a huge step for humankind. Maybe the biggest step. It was a momentous achievement that shrunk the planet down to the size of a monitor, and suddenly we had a highway to people, places, and things we’d never imagined. But as awestruck as we were, this giant leap would soon be overshadowed by advancements beyond measure.
The last two decades have brought about the most rapid technological advancements this world’s ever seen. For those of you young enough to have been born into this high-tech world, it might seem unfathomable, but those just a bit older than you were privy to one hell of a show, and boy, how this big, fat, pixelated baby has grown. I remember when beepers and call waiting were the cat’s pajamas. How times have changed.
It’s not just computers and cell phones and fun gadgets that technology has provided us with, like refrigerators that take photos of your groceries and suggest recipes, or home devices that listen to you and assist you throughout the day. Nor is it just streaming devices, virtual reality, or that astonishingly amazing device called a smartphone. Technology, along with the Internet, has allowed for a better understanding of things like transportation. It’s a better understanding of the world and all who inhabit it. It’s weather patterns and understanding how we affect climate change. It’s medicine. It’s science. It’s growing human ears on rats in the 90s. It’s cloning. It’s genetic modifications. It’s fucking robots. Did you hear me? FUCKING ROBOTS! It’s everything you could want at your fingertips. It’s instant information. It’s EVERYTHING. Yes, technology is EVERYTHING. It’s a real-life superpower we have the great fortune of using day-to-day.
But EVERYHING comes at a cost. Sometimes a great one.
For good or bad, technology is here to stay. Much like sugar, it’s everywhere, in everything, affecting everyone. Don’t believe me? Try a tech-free diet. If the withdrawals don’t kill you first, the stigma of being a social outcast will. After all, by its very nature, technology is designed to make you less self-reliant and more dependent. This fact is becoming increasingly more apparent.
I was an early fan of BLACK MIRROR—back when people made you repeat the title twice, and no one realized that the Prime Minister who defiled that poor piggy also played John Clare in PENNY DREADFUL.
From the first episode, I was hooked. A modern, techy TWILIGHT ZONE that had a one-night stand with both CREEPSHOW and TALES FROM THE CRYPT, and birthed into the world one hell of a badass baby.
Back in the day, body-snatchers and the living dead instilled fear in us. Dr. Frankenstein and his monsters, or Dracula and his anemia. But not anymore. What strikes fear in our hearts now is often the thing we rely on most: technology. The very tool that streamlines our lives and makes everything run so damn efficiently has led to many unfortunate souls’ demise, and if handled incorrectly could easily lead to yours. It tastes sweet and dumps dopamine into your bloodstream when it loves you, but when it hates, its got a bite worse than the Count’s. Just ask anyone who’s been on the receiving end of the Internet’s wrath.
It’s no surprise that BLACK MIRROR is rapidly gaining momentum and loyal fans. They’re serving up incredibly creative storylines at an impressively consistent rate. Entertaining tales in small gift boxes, short enough to quickly be devoured, while lengthy enough to enrapture you. And the acting’s usually pretty solid, too.
But that’s not the only reason behind the show’s success. The not-so-secret ingredient is equal parts honesty and fear. Often times, the only thing a story must do to keep a fish on the line is dazzle it with the terrifying possibility of potential, and BLACK MIRROR dishes that out in heaps.
As depicted in BLACK MIRROR, society dropped to its knees and began worshipping at the altar of technology a long time ago, relinquishing both power and control, and much like the child who was never told no, it’s grown into an unruly monster with far reaching tentacles.
From social media sites that devour its users’ lives, to contraptions that read our memories, to blackmail via the Internet, to all-too realistic virtual reality that can kill, many BLACK MIRROR plots hit closer to home than not, and with the help of ever-growing technologic advantages, even the series most outlandish episodes might one day read like a forecast. Or even an omen.