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charlie booker

Unnerving USS Callister

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Finally Black Mirror is back and perhaps in the same chaotic way you feel after watching an episode – my thoughts are going to be sporadic and non linear below. I was well and truly ready for my disturbing dose. Eager with anticipation, I wondered just how far down the technological rabbit hole will we go this time? Well, it seems rather than going down a rabbit hole we were out in space hurtling towards an all consuming black hole.

Revenge of the socially awkward nerd indeed!

When I was at university studying film, we often discussed that some horror films walk that fine line of being scary then falling into the cheesy and laughable zone. Once it crossed into a B grade kitsch movie it lost your engagement and the purpose of what a horror film is meant to do. USS Canister definitely had elements that were blended with that uneasy heightened humour but the horror was still very real.

On completion my brain jumped to thinking about this – what will become of mental health services and treatment in the future when you are dealing with the likes of Robert Daly? How many undiagnosed secret personality disorders will be floating around in cyberspace world. If your behaviour isn’t being exhibited in the real world is it even justifiable to condemn someone for online behaviours?  It immediately made me think of the brilliant play ,The Nether, that questions this very idea.

Perhaps the highlight for me was the brilliant Jimmi Simpson. You all know by now I love the characters that he plays. I was having some kind of withdrawal, I admit,  from Westworld so this was a nice appetiser to get me through. Playing Walton we see a two dimensional asshole in the real world in the role of CEO, but a submissive man with layered emotions and a black sense of humour on the spaceship. My favourite bit is his constant shot drinking and referring to drinking poison – because they can with their non existent livers. I think it is safe to say we all might be nicer to our work colleagues just incase on the monthly fridge  they decide to pilfer your leftovers  because you didn’t fill the printer back up with paper.

As is always the case, each episode has so many socially relevant topics we could deep dive into and get very academically focused over them (but my dads of critically theory are over) however, I found the aspect of fandom or worship taken to the extreme in this episode. Imagine the threat this would pose to the generally well protected celebrities of the world or our government leaders. A true and dangerously intimate invasion of privacy.

This is the future people – if we can come up with it in a writing room it is only a matter of time before this is real.

 

 

 

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Splendid San Junipero

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Black Mirror Spoilers

Ever wake up and think you want to escape to somewhere like you know, San Junipero?! Yes…that’s the first thought I had upon waking today.

Thanks to the latest season of Black Mirror, I can’t stop daydreaming into that landscape and world that is the party town and endless dance floor of San Junipero.

I realise that on one level that may sound particularly morbid inferring  the obvious but truly I just want a large dose of escapism for a while where I can drink diet coke in glass bottles (the only and best way to drink it) dance around to nostalgic  80s tunes, play by the ocean and have a whirlwind, passionate romance.

It really resonated with me. Isn’t that what good TV is? When it stays with you, has meaning, taps into a memory and lingers so that you visit that pocket of the show. I must have watched the ending credits 20 times. I tear up every time I watch it and question the notions of happiness and contentment, love and the technology that disturbingly caters for it at the tucker institute.

Maybe I am beyond disillusioned, maybe I am a hopeless romantic or just hopeful… maybe the theme of love really being all that matters was touching some vulnerable spots in me. Well it worked!

Aside from the killer soundtrack and the visuals being so heavily drenched in all things 80s, the writing is great – leaving gaps and keeping dialogue vague to to let the story unfold. I loved this – allowing the audience focus more on what matters – their relationship. It also seemed a refreshing episode suggesting that not all technological endeavours in the future are negative or to be feared. I also think  this episode could be used for a pro euthanasia argument  – allowing people to make decisions and  be empowered , whilst using the metaphor of going to a better place like San Junipero – it could be replaced with any other version of their “ happy place” .

I have read and heard a lot of speculation about Kelly and Yorkie and whether or not they drive off into the sunset and get their perfect ending – I suppose it doesn’t matter. Whatever loop they are in within their consciousness has them together with a complete sense of joy rapture and togetherness.

The song choice couldn’t be better for the closing credit sequence. “ Do you know what that’s worth”  – the value of life, death, choices and chasing the desire to be happy with the time we have.

If anything, Heaven indeed is a place on earth and it is located in big corporate server room at TCKR systems !

 

 

 

 

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