“Black Mirror” continues to excel at limited world-building

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SINCE the launch of “Black Mirror” in 2011, critics have lauded Charlie Brooker for his dark and thought-provoking stories. Stephen King called the anthology series “terrifying, funny, intelligent”. Jon Hamm was reportedly such a fan that he asked to appear (he got his wish, starring in season two). Indeed, a good episode of “Black Mirror” is an uncomfortable thought experiment. Most occur in the near future, and the show bills itself as “tapping into collective unease with the modern world”. Advanced technology sets the terms for each edition but, as with so much speculative fiction, it is a frame through which to study people and how they interact.

The conceits range widely. In season two, a grieving widow turns to an artificial version of her late husband, generated from records of his online behaviour: it weaves a story of loss and the difficulty of letting go when so much of the people we love is immortalised on social media. In season three, the ethics of internet abuse are brought into focus by a swarm of killer…Continue reading

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