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Old 06-09-2019, 06:14 PM
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Black mirror -why?


OK, here’s me with a three day weekend, so I decide to try out Black Mirror, from critical acclaim and all that. The first episode is a Prime Minister being forced to fuck a pig because of a kidnapped princess. Totally unpleasant show. I know this show has many devotees. How does it go from this repulsive beginning to something someone would want to see?
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Old 06-09-2019, 06:19 PM
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OK, here’s me with a three day weekend, so I decide to try out Black Mirror, from critical acclaim and all that. The first episode is a Prime Minister being forced to fuck a pig because of a kidnapped princess. Totally unpleasant show. I know this show has many devotees. How does it go from this repulsive beginning to something someone would want to see?
I feel the same way. Tried a few EPs, didn't like any of them.
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Old 06-09-2019, 06:30 PM
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I love the show. I have recommended it to several people with the suggestion that they save the first episode for later. The people I recommended it to didn't stick with it, regardless of what episode they start with. It's not for everybody.
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Old 06-09-2019, 06:34 PM
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I've been binging the first 3 seasons this weekend. it seems like a black satirical / speculative anthology show with emphasis on new technology. It's absolutely great IMO. No one has done this before, that's why.
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Old 06-09-2019, 06:38 PM
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The first episode is one of the worst. But you have to like dark and bleak stories to really like the series. If you want happy garbage, go watch the rest of all entertainment.

Edit, not that there aren't some truly heartfelt tear-jerkingly happy moments in black mirror (san junipero) just presented in a bleak way.
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Old 06-09-2019, 06:43 PM
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The first episode is one of the worst. But you have to like dark and bleak stories to really like the series. If you want happy garbage, go watch the rest of all entertainment.
but that is the thing for me. I love noir, books and movies. Maybe I should try again, a lot of people I know love it.

I feel the same way about the Phillip K Dick series. Got excited when I heard of it. Saw a few and they were just OK.

BTW, the "happy garbage" comment is a little insulting

Last edited by Mike Mabes; 06-09-2019 at 06:45 PM.
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Old 06-09-2019, 06:44 PM
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The majority of episodes are disturbing in some way, that one is disturbing in a way that's a deal breaker for a lot of people. I tell friends to skip it when i recommend Black Mirror.
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Old 06-09-2019, 06:56 PM
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I think one of the best episodes is the "White Christmas" episode with Jon Hamm. Just when you think it's reached peak messed up-ness it steps it up some more.
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Old 06-09-2019, 07:03 PM
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BTW, I just went back to the IMDb link for White Christmas and noticed that under the heading "Storyline" (under the cast listing) it is very spoilery. Better to go in knowing nothing.
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Old 06-09-2019, 07:04 PM
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but that is the thing for me. I love noir, books and movies. Maybe I should try again, a lot of people I know love it.

I feel the same way about the Phillip K Dick series. Got excited when I heard of it. Saw a few and they were just OK.

BTW, the "happy garbage" comment is a little insulting
I find most "entertainment" a lot insultingly fake and stupid. I dont care if you like them or not. I know I'm in the minority. But I find one God damn show out of thousands that finally makes me think and, heaven forbid, actually *feel* something and express my love for it only to be told I'm being insulting...no wonder I'm cynical and this love this show.
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Old 06-09-2019, 07:15 PM
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I find most "entertainment" a lot insultingly fake and stupid. I dont care if you like them or not. I know I'm in the minority. But I find one God damn show out of thousands that finally makes me think and, heaven forbid, actually *feel* something and express my love for it only to be told I'm being insulting...no wonder I'm cynical and this love this show.
I find most of "entertainment" the same way. I'm with you. But you, because I didn't love the show that you love, presume to say that I, and others who don't love the show you love, only want happy garbage.

Some of my favorite movies are Chinatown, Body Heat, Double Indeminity, etc

Last edited by Mike Mabes; 06-09-2019 at 07:16 PM.
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Old 06-09-2019, 07:17 PM
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I got hooked from the first episode, though I can understand why people were grossed out by it.

I loved the way it always went beyond the obvious and dealt with ramifications that you wouldn't have thought of.

Some episodes are better than others, but there are few duds.
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Old 06-09-2019, 07:17 PM
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I find most of "entertainment" the same way. I'm with you. But you, because I didn't love the show that you love, presume to say that I, and others who don't love the show you love, only want happy garbage.
It wasn't personal, man. It was "you" as in "all you in this stupid and insulting society." Sorry if I was unclear.
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Old 06-09-2019, 07:21 PM
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Watch USS Calister for a treat.
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Old 06-09-2019, 07:24 PM
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It wasn't personal, man. It was "you" as in "all you in this stupid and insulting society." Sorry if I was unclear.
Well, I guess I overreacted. Sorry
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Old 06-09-2019, 07:27 PM
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Well, I guess I overreacted. Sorry
I may have too. Let's go get a beer.
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It may be because I'm a drooling simpleton with the attention span of a demented gnat, but would you mind explaining everything in words of one syllable. 140 chars max.
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Old 06-09-2019, 07:30 PM
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Black Mirror is very much like The Twilight Zone. Some of the episodes are just OK. Others are bad. But the ones that are great are really great.

Last edited by monstro; 06-09-2019 at 07:31 PM.
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Old 06-09-2019, 07:32 PM
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I may have too. Let's go get a beer.

Cool, but be careful. This is sounding a little like an episode as yet unfilmed
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Old 06-09-2019, 07:39 PM
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Have we really made up?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PJzNUydlQ4I
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Old 06-09-2019, 07:42 PM
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Black Mirror is very much like The Twilight Zone. Some of the episodes are just OK. Others are bad. But the ones that are great are really great.
recommend some?
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Old 06-09-2019, 07:44 PM
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Black Mirror is very much like The Twilight Zone. Some of the episodes are just OK. Others are bad. But the ones that are great are really great.
I agree with this.

FWIW, that first episode is a bit of an odd duck. I wasn't really squicked out by it; I just found it very off-the-wall and goofy. I mean, I loved the dark, absurdist tone (and what I read as black humor), but it just wasn't clicking for me.

Episode 2 (Fifteen Million Merits) of Season one was a bit better, but a little too obvious with its point for me. But a solid episode, just not one of my favorites.

The Entire History of You (episode 3, season 1), though, that was perfect Black Mirror for me.

The episodes are stand-alone, and you can watch them in any order. If you don't like one, try the next one. Even with the episodes I don't like, though, they do make me think critically about what I just watched, something I don't do for 95% of the shows I watch. Most of my entertainment is in my brain for 30-60 minutes, then out to make room for other stuff.
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Old 06-09-2019, 07:50 PM
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recommend some?
It will vary by person.

My favorites from the first three seasons:

Entire History of You
San Junipero
White Bear
White Christmas

I haven't gotten to seasons 4 & 5 quite yet. There's some supposedly excellent ones in Season 4 (Hang the DJ and Black Museum, I heard). Season 5 has had tepid reviews, though.

But you're going to react to different themes. A lot of people love, for instance, Nosedive. It's a critique of social media and keeping up with the Joneses via your social media popularity score. It was well done ,but I just kind of found it a bit obvious and a little too hitting-me-over-the-head with its point. But that's me. Most people I know consider it one of the best episodes.

Last edited by pulykamell; 06-09-2019 at 07:50 PM.
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Old 06-09-2019, 08:01 PM
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I haven't seen all of them - I'm a slow watcher of this series because it can be depressing as fuck - but the ones I've liked so far:
  • The Entire History of You (season 1): memory implants mean you'll never forget anything ever again, but neither will anyone else...
  • Nosedive (season 3): taking social media likes/reputation juuuust that bit too far
  • Playtest (season 3): Total Recall-eque, what's real and what isn't
  • USS Callister (season 4): a technological genius makes digital copies of colleagues; deeply creepy
  • Hang the DJ (season 4): a dating program pairs people up; two people reject its logic
  • Black Museum (season 4): a creepy roadside attraction owner explains some of his exhibits

It's not a long list, but there have only been 22 episodes across five seasons (not counting Bandersnatch).

ETA: I haven't recommended some that are highly regarded like San Junipero because I haven't seen them yet.

Last edited by tavalla; 06-09-2019 at 08:03 PM.
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Old 06-09-2019, 08:26 PM
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recommend some?
What is your idea of a great show?

I'm curious. I have seen all the great shows on tap. The leftovers was the last great one to debut for me. Season 1 of handmaids was great. Season 2 loses me though. So we're all looking for something good. I am looking forward to Better Call Saul, and that's about it.
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Old 06-09-2019, 08:33 PM
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San Junipero and Hated in the Nation are my season one favs. In season two, USS Callister, Hang the DJ, and Black Museum are my favorites. I've watched only two episodes of season 3 and they were just OK.
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Old 06-09-2019, 08:34 PM
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Through season 4:
  • Fifteen Million Merits
  • The Entire History of You
  • Be Right Back
  • White Bear
  • White Christmas
  • Playtest
  • Shut Up and Dance
  • USS Callister
  • Arkangel
  • Hang the DJ
  • Black Museum

The first episode is one of the worst in the entire series both because it's not terribly entertaining, but the tone and content is quite different than what makes the rest of the series great.

I think if I had to recommend one episode to introduce someone it would be either White Christmas or The Entire History of You.
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Old 06-09-2019, 08:35 PM
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San Junipero and Hated in the Nation are my season one favs. In season two, USS Callister, Hang the DJ, and Black Museum are my favorites. I've watched only two episodes of season 3 and they were just OK.
Those are season 3 and 4, respectively.
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Old 06-09-2019, 08:50 PM
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Doh!
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Old 06-09-2019, 08:53 PM
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Black Mirror is very much like The Twilight Zone. Some of the episodes are just OK. Others are bad. But the ones that are great are really great.
Unlike TZ however, there's not a one I'd want to watch again, (except Callister).
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Old 06-09-2019, 08:57 PM
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Unlike TZ however, there's not a one I'd want to watch again, (except Callister).
Interesting. I had quite the opposite reaction. There's very little I rewatch, but the first three seasons of Black Mirror, I watched most of the episodes at least twice, as I feel they take a couple of times to really sink in.
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Old 06-09-2019, 09:01 PM
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Several of the episodes (because they semi-share the same universe) are variations on the theme of "someday science will make it possible to torture people in Hell forever". I agree that "White Christmas" is a well-done episode, but if you don't like grimdark this series isn't for you.
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Old 06-09-2019, 09:19 PM
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Several of the episodes (because they semi-share the same universe) are variations on the theme of "someday science will make it possible to torture people in Hell forever". I agree that "White Christmas" is a well-done episode, but if you don't like grimdark this series isn't for you.
looked at just a little to one angle and you could say that they are exploring familiar things, and those things are our world, and it's looking hellish in a lot of ways and maybe non hellish in very few ways...that's what I got.
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Old 06-09-2019, 09:37 PM
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Unlike TZ however, there's not a one I'd want to watch again, (except Callister).
I can only think of two or three TZ episodes that I can rewatch the whole way through. Doesn't mean that the ones I don't want to rewatch aren't any good, though. It's just that once I know the "twist" (the lady is actually manniquen, pignosed people are actually beautiful, the nuclear bomb is really a false alarm, the astronauts were on Earth all along...), I've got to forget most of the episode for me to be moved to see it again.

Like, I loved San Juperino, but I have no interest in seeing it again anytime soon. Maybe a couple of years ago I will, once I've forgotten how it ends. But right now the "twist" is still fresh in my memory. The same with all the other BM episodes that I really like.
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Old 06-09-2019, 09:43 PM
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I can only think of two or three TZ episodes that I can rewatch the whole way through. Doesn't mean that the ones I don't want to rewatch aren't any good, though. It's just that once I know the "twist" (the lady is actually manniquen, pignosed people are actually beautiful, the nuclear bomb is really a false alarm, the astronauts were on Earth all along...), I've got to forget most of the episode for me to be moved to see it again.

Like, I loved San Juperino, but I have no interest in seeing it again anytime soon. Maybe a couple of years ago I will, once I've forgotten how it ends. But right now the "twist" is still fresh in my memory. The same with all the other BM episodes that I really like.
That's what makes it particularly rewatchable for me. After you discover the "twist," rewatching it with that knowledge in mind opens up other details (and your interpretation thereof) earlier in the episode. The second viewing is different than the first, and I find I come away with slightly different understanding of the episode after a rewatch with full plot knowledge.
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Old 06-10-2019, 08:09 AM
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Common advice is to skip the first episode and only go back to watch it if you are drawn in by the other episodes. I disagree. If you don't think that the first episode is thought-provoking I don't think you'll like much of the rest either. If you think that the first episode is too disturbing you'll likely find many others to be very disturbing also. The first episode is a litmus test - if pig fucking is some sort of line in the sand for you this show isn't for you. It's only pig fucking, for christ's sake. If not like it's child rape or something else which is similarly disturbing to contemplate.
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Old 06-10-2019, 08:35 AM
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If you want happy garbage, go watch the rest of all entertainment.
I dearly love happy garbage. There's not enough of it, these days. TV has become so bleak, but I want escapism.
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Old 06-10-2019, 09:18 AM
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I like the show a lot and the first episode is one of my favorites. It made me think and it made me a little uncomfortable, but I like that.

Plus I don't reckon that anyone really fucked a pig! I guess I'd feel different if I didn't believe that.
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Old 06-10-2019, 09:52 AM
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Common advice is to skip the first episode and only go back to watch it if you are drawn in by the other episodes. I disagree. If you don't think that the first episode is thought-provoking I don't think you'll like much of the rest either. If you think that the first episode is too disturbing you'll likely find many others to be very disturbing also. The first episode is a litmus test - if pig fucking is some sort of line in the sand for you this show isn't for you. It's only pig fucking, for christ's sake. If not like it's child rape or something else which is similarly disturbing to contemplate.
I really do think the first episode is very different in feel from the rest. It has a black comedy/absurdist feel to it the others don't, and (at least to me) required much more a suspension of disbelief. Looking back at my first impressions of it in threads here, I guess I didn't mind the first episode, but it stood out as quite different than the rest (and it did end up being my least favorite of the first three.) What I expected from Black Mirror after watching the first episode is very different than what I got from the rest of the episodes. It really is a show that you have to watch a handful of episodes to get the sense if you like it or not. There are clearly people who hated the first episode, but like the series as a whole.

And, no, I didn't care about the pig fucking. It's just that I expected more absurd black comedy than what I got from the later episodes. That episode just tonally strikes me as different.

Last edited by pulykamell; 06-10-2019 at 09:54 AM.
  #39  
Old 06-10-2019, 10:50 AM
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I find myself asking the question in the OP title often while watching the show. I have to gear myself up and be in a good place emotionally before I sit down to watch because this show can fuck you up if you go in unprepared. Hang The Dj is the last episode I've watched. I will go back and watch them all. . . just give me time.

And, just to be different from everyone else, one of my favorite episodes is Crocodile. Many, many hate it because they think it is intentionally cruel and the last 'twist' was uncalled for. But watching how that seemingly ordinary-- even exceptional by some standards-- woman becomes a monster is amazing. And that last scene as she watches her son's school play is just, well-- one of my favorite episodes.

So I don't leave anyone thinking I'm a cruel monster, my favorite second episode is San Juperino. What? A happy ending? In MY Black Mirror?
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Old 06-10-2019, 10:57 AM
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Too late to edit---

It has been my contention that The National Anthem was chosen to be the first episode because the makers of Black Mirror wanted to help viewers along: Can you handle the Prime Minister fucking a pig? How 'bout what watching this says about you? Then this series is for you!
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Old 06-10-2019, 11:04 AM
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Common advice is to skip the first episode and only go back to watch it if you are drawn in by the other episodes. I disagree. If you don't think that the first episode is thought-provoking I don't think you'll like much of the rest either. If you think that the first episode is too disturbing you'll likely find many others to be very disturbing also. The first episode is a litmus test - if pig fucking is some sort of line in the sand for you this show isn't for you. It's only pig fucking, for christ's sake. If not like it's child rape or something else which is similarly disturbing to contemplate.
Sorry, but this post borders on pseudo-intellectual hogwash. It is like you are saying that if someone doesn't like the first episode, then they won't like "Nosedive" or "White Christmas"...even though they have very different themes and plotlines and characters.

The only reason I kept watching after episode 1 was because people hyped the whole series, not just single episodes. I wasn't repulsed by the first episode or anything. It just didn't punch any of my buttons. But other episodes did.

Don't overthink this. It is just a freakin' TV show.

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Old 06-10-2019, 11:16 AM
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"Black Mirror" is clearly not for everyone. The show makes you think (sometimes about things you'd prefer not to), and can make you really uncomfortable...because it is revealing about things YOU are not totally comfortable with.

I don't recall the title, but the one where people have an implant that stores everything they've seen/experienced, and can be replayed to the user as well as to the outside world was really uncomfortable for me. I ended up stopping it, and then coming back to it later.

There was another one where people's entire "standing" was based on (Facebook-like) "likes" you received from everyone else. And this woman just keeps spiralling out of control because of it.

I love that the show's stories examine how technology, even with the best intentions, can turn into nightmares.
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Old 06-10-2019, 11:17 AM
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Common advice is to skip the first episode and only go back to watch it if you are drawn in by the other episodes. I disagree. If you don't think that the first episode is thought-provoking I don't think you'll like much of the rest either. If you think that the first episode is too disturbing you'll likely find many others to be very disturbing also. The first episode is a litmus test - if pig fucking is some sort of line in the sand for you this show isn't for you. It's only pig fucking, for christ's sake. If not like it's child rape or something else which is similarly disturbing to contemplate.
You do realize that child rape comes into play in another Black Mirror episode, right? Although I do agree the first epi is a litmus test. It has all the worst things about this series in a dull, tone-deaf package. If you can sit through it, then child rape and baby killing is easy!
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Old 06-10-2019, 11:24 AM
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If you don't think that the first episode is thought-provoking I don't think you'll like much of the rest either. If you think that the first episode is too disturbing you'll likely find many others to be very disturbing also. The first episode is a litmus test - if pig fucking is some sort of line in the sand for you this show isn't for you. It's only pig fucking, for christ's sake. If not like it's child rape or something else which is similarly disturbing to contemplate.
This. Some folks don't have the intestinal fortitude to think about the sorts of social horrors that are already at our doorstep, and this show isn't for them. Other folks do have the courage to contemplate how bad things can get, and maybe to make changes to prevent/mitigate those kinds of situations. Not everything worthwhile is pleasant.
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Old 06-10-2019, 11:41 AM
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Originally Posted by Inigo Montoya View Post
This. Some folks don't have the intestinal fortitude to think about the sorts of social horrors that are already at our doorstep, and this show isn't for them. Other folks do have the courage to contemplate how bad things can get, and maybe to make changes to prevent/mitigate those kinds of situations. Not everything worthwhile is pleasant.
It has nothing to do with "pleasant." The first episode doesn't really have the same tone as the rest of the episodes. It struck me more as absurd comedy a la Delicatessen or something of that nature, but the rest of the series isn't really like that. For me, that just wasn't a particularly insightful episode. It didn't make me think as much as the rest of the series has. (But it wasn't as bad as something like "The Waldo Moment." But, of the first three seasons, it was easily the second worst episode to my tastes.) I mean, I'm all for pig-fucking in TV series--that doesn't squick me out. But is it done for good purpose? I didn't think so.

Last edited by pulykamell; 06-10-2019 at 11:42 AM.
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Old 06-10-2019, 11:49 AM
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I dunno, it seemed one of the few stories that could actually break tomorrow morning. I rather liked it because it takes the blanket "don't negotiate with terrorists" wisdom and utterly betrays it because of politics.
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Old 06-10-2019, 11:56 AM
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I thought it was widely understood that the first episode of a series is generally not representative of subsequent episodes. I doubt most series would be successful if people used the very first episode as a "litmus test".

It is very much possible to fully comprehend what an episode is trying to achieve and still be completely "meh" about it.
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  #48  
Old 06-10-2019, 12:04 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Inigo Montoya View Post
I dunno, it seemed one of the few stories that could actually break tomorrow morning. I rather liked it because it takes the blanket "don't negotiate with terrorists" wisdom and utterly betrays it because of politics.
Granted, when I read about the David Cameron story in the Daily Mail (which, I know, I know, doesn't exactly have have a reputation of stellar reporting), I did think back to the Black Mirror episode and how, well, maybe I should have suspended disbelief just a wee bit more.
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Old 06-10-2019, 12:46 PM
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If it was so bad why did they choose it for the premier?

To me it set out the satirical mission and staked out all positions to the left of weird, so it's audience knew who they were. (Anyone who can recall Monty Pythons debut in the states knows that) I knew exactly that I wanted to see the whole series then and not referee episodes against each other.

We are getting absurd on social media. It needs to be witnessed and worked on by artists. The first episode made it clear that it was doing that. A tv show that is sui generis at the moment needs some encouragement. The writing seems great to me.
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Old 06-10-2019, 01:14 PM
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Originally Posted by drad dog View Post
If it was so bad why did they choose it for the premier?
I didn't think it was necessary bad per se, but I didn't think it was wholly representative of the series. Like I said, I didn't dislike it upon initial viewing, but when I saw the rest of the series for that season and the next two, I thought it was severely lacking and not representative.
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