January 2, 2018 at 3:19 am #1202453365
One of my favourite television episodes ever:
1. “White Christmas”
2. “Hated in the Nation”
3. “San Junipero”
4. “Black Museum”
5. “Hang the DJ”
7. “The Waldo Moment”
Would rank lower, but was spoiled for me, so probably should be higher:
8. “Be Right Back”
Simple concepts executed well:
9. “Shut Up and Dance”
Not for me, but I appreciate the merit:
Good, but hard to watch:
13. “White Bear”
Nothing wrong with it, just not as ambitious:
14. “The National Anthem”
Docked points for contrivances:
15. “USS Callister”
Potential, but show was not as polished back then:
16. “The Entire History of You”
Why did she keep killing?
18. “Men Against Fire”
19. “Fifteen Million Merits”January 2, 2018 at 5:20 am #1202453420
“Be Right Back” is in my top 5, but can’t think of any other. I’ll have to re-watch every episode. From the new season, I’ve seen only the first two and USS Callister was terrific.January 2, 2018 at 6:41 am #1202453498
1. Shut Up and Dance – Strong acting from all involved, a plotline that could happen in real life and cruel twists the Black Mirror knows I’m a little bitch for. An easy favorite for me.
2. Be Right Back – Probably the most poignant episode that brought out the hankies. A real, heartfelt, humanistic episode that doesn’t rely on moral failings of its protagonist, but a genuine portrait of grief and compromise.
3. White Bear – Would have been a little higher, but it does get kind of anvilicious at the end with a message I can only sort of agree with (I’m a vengeance monster, so there’s that). I loved Lenora in Being Human so it was a treat to see her again giving it her all in a cruel and difficult episode.
4. Crocodile – Brutal and hard to watch, and true, my liking of it may have to do with its similarities to SUaD, which I mentioned in my earlier review in the Black Mirror thread. But this is some amazing acting from Andrea (imo it should be her considered for acting and not Cristin) and a satisfying wrap-up. Except in real life, guinea pigs don’t have good eyesight. Oh well, maybe by this time in BM they’ve been bred to have great eyes?
5. Nosedive – Recognized Joe Wright’s directorial style without even knowing he was directing it. It’s a shame BDH didn’t get the depth of recognition she deserved for this. One of my favorite endings to a Black Mirror episode, even with a concept that’s, again, anvilicious.
6. U.S.S. Callister – A more fun concept than I’m used to in the show, and a terrific premiere. Of course there are some logical issues to it (why are they sentient clones with memory remains when he just pulled some DNA? Why aren’t they just soulless AIs he can abuse at his will?) but still a good and engaging episode.
7. Hang the DJ – I didn’t get that into San Junipero but really liked this one the more I thought about it, especially the end (you could play The Smiths over anything and it would make me rate it higher tbh). One of the most heartwarming Black Mirror episodes without lesbians in comas and dead grandparents partying on in the afterlife.
8. The Entire History of You – Another human Black Mirror episode, this time human in the worst ways. Sure, we don’t yet have the tech featured here, but how often do we misinterpret tonality and intent online, obsess over small details and grow paranoid at the “evidence” we find? A fantastic finale for the first season that had me immediately start the next episode.
9. The National Anthem – One of the simplest and more straightforward Black Mirror concepts, which is why I find it such a good introduction to the series. Not too out-there, accessible, with the cynical tone to prepare the viewer for what’s coming.
10. The Waldo Moment – I was always surprised to find this one of the lowest-rated episodes and think it somewhat maligned. Maybe it’s my bias, as the moral of the story (the importance of taking voting seriously) is something that resonates with me, but I really liked it.
11. Hated in the Nation – Strong mini-movie with an amazing last few frames and a genuinely worrying plot. My only issue with this was that I found the investigators holding the idiot ball. Okay, you’ve met the bad guy’s old flatmate, you know he was in love with her, you’ve learned she attempted suicide after online harassment, maybe he’s plotting something against online harassment? Okay, okay, nitpicky, but whatever. Still a strong episode.
12. San Junipero – A crowdpleasing fan-favorite, but I just never got into it as much. Maybe because I had at that point been content with a cynical and dark Black Mirror where bad things happen, but at least this primed me for Hang the DJ. Very deserving of its multiple Emmys which my passion predicting helped me get. And I can’t hear Heaven is a Place on Earth without thinking of it now.
13. Black Museum – As I stated in my earlier review, this felt like Hated in the Nation and White Christmas had a baby. I generally liked Hated in the Nation and generally disliked White Christmas, but this came out pretty dead even among my season 4 episode rankings (Hang the DJ would eventually slightly come out ahead). Twisty with genuine surprises and a satisfying comeuppance in the conclusion even as it got somewhat preachy. I didn’t really like the ministories in White Christmas but sincerely enjoyed seeing them come together here. Monkey needs a hug!
14. Playtest – It’s a shame this was all Wyatt Russell got to do, and that a Hideo Kojima expy had to do it to him. A solid exercise that was for me ruined by an ending that felt more “gotcha!” gut punch-y than a genuine twist, with an overly manipulative winking ending. You mean there wasn’t a single camera watching him that could have stopped this?
15. Arkangel – Season 4’s equivalent to Playtest understandably ended up close to it. Like Be Right Back, its plot felt more humanistic and understandable, but it all could have been avoided if Marie had talked to her daughter, like, once. I guess that’s the point, but it felt slower and less impressive, especially coming off a flashy thrill ride like U.S.S. Callister. That being said, it did feel very real and should invite some discussion on the failings of helicopter parenting, even though I felt like Sara went from regular teen to dimwit the moment the cocaine came out.
16. Fifteen Million Merits – After the mostly realistic first episode, this nearly gave me whiplash. Had it come in the second or third season, I probably wouldn’t even have rated it so low, but it ended up just feeling out of place for me — prosaic, overdramatic, overplayed early. At least it gave us a good speech (if not overly Charlie Brookerish) from a pre-Get Out Daniel Kaluuya, and introduced us to a genuinely good recurring song. Apologies to my ride-or-die, who loved this episode and ranks it highly.
17. White Christmas – Before watching the series, I was told this was one of the greatest episodes of television ever. I couldn’t wait to watch it. Watched it. Didn’t like it. I felt that the threads here that all came together in the end were weaker than its redux in Black Museum, with the inhumane ending straddling darkly hilarious and too over-the-top. I didn’t like a single character and Hamm felt kind of out of place for me. And now I shut off the Christmas station whenever this song comes on.
18. Metalhead – An interesting and different concept, but one I found just too offbeat to enjoy. While the premise could be guessed (robot assassin AIs, which do exist in real life though not with this degree of competency, has become the apex predator and has killed us all), the lead’s acting is strong and it is a little artsy, it just didn’t work for me. It felt like I was watching a different show, but not one I wanted to keep going with. And teddy bears? Fucking teddy bears?
19. Men Against Fire – Again, paired episodes ranking together. Anyone who has talked to me just once about this show knows this would be ranked last. I feel bad for the actors involved, who did their best and were for me the only redeeming feature of the episode, but I loathed this one. The aesop at the end, which involved a long monologue in case you were too comatose to pick up on the extremely obvious and not-subtle message of the episode, was nigh indefensible. And while I’m no stranger to gore whatsoever and am not faint-hearted, the POV murder of one of the “roaches” was just so gratuitous. It’s a no from me.January 2, 2018 at 6:51 am #1202453510
Basically All #1
1. Fifteen Million Merits
3. White Bear
4. Hang the DJ
5. The Entire History of You
6. Be Right Back
7. San Junipero
8. Shut Up and Dance
10. Hated in the Nation
11. Black Museum
13. The Waldo Moment
14. USS Callister
15. The National Anthem
17. White Chistmas
19. Men Against FireJanuary 3, 2018 at 5:05 am #1202454273
OK well, I haven’t seen many BM episodes but I have made it my mission to rank them as I watch them here.
1. White Christmas
This is what hell looks like. The two technologies melded into one story makes for an even scarier Black Mirror episode than normal. Blocking and Cookies are literal nightmares, but could be an unfortunate reality. Brooker is a brilliant writer, specifically The National Anthem and Be Right Back were outstanding, but he this is next level. The entire point of Black Mirror is to be wary about what will come around the corner if we let technological advancements run amok, and in White Christmas it feels even more accurate than most. We’re meant to think and be scared while watching Black Mirror and we are meant to be aware of how we are inadvertently nihilistic towards ourselves and each other.
2. USS Callister
While this episode doesn’t have as nihilistic an ending as most other Black Mirror episodes do, it is nonetheless great. The concept is so good, pushing the boundaries of the VR (and even pushing the boundaries of plotholes but shhh).
3. White Bear
This left me feeling utterly torn between who the true victim was, which was the intention. The end credit scenes lessened the impact for me though, by trying to be even more outrageous. It reminds me of a quote from Crime and Punishment by Dostoyevsky; “When reason fails, the devil helps.”
4. Be Right Back
A bit slow, but this may be one of the concepts that actually happens in the future which is what makes Black Mirror so realistic and appealingly scary.
5. The Entire History of You
Like Be Right Back, this is a small-scale human story, which makes it so nice. But unfortunately there was literally no need for the technology in this story and they wasted the technology. Everything was driven by his instincts, not by the technology and that made it redundant.
6. Fifteen Million Merits
A pretty powerful ending about the selfless becoming the selfish makes this one so smart. Brooker satirically examines the viewing habits of people, the relentlessness of advertising and the triumph of consumerism. I don’t know why this needed to be the full hour though when the others were around 40 mins, I mean it wasn’t as full of ideas or drama as the rest and it started to feel empty to me.
7. The National Anthem
Very shocking and grotesque, but the reactions felt so real! This was a weird one as it wasn’t really a Black Mirror episode, technology rarely came into the story and wasn’t the force behind the concept.
8. The Waldo Moment
Now this I cannot believe. Firstly the end credits scene showed Waldo basically take over the world, which I highly doubt would happen, I mean maybe in Japan but come on. Also why are all the characters so naive? Like they either work in politics or showbiz or both by the end.January 3, 2018 at 6:31 am #1202454335
1. San Junipero
3. Entire History of you
5. Be Right back
6. Shut up and Dance
7. Hang the DJ
8. Hated in the Nation
9. USS Callister
11. Black Museum
12. White Christmas
14. National Anthem
15. 15 Million Merits
16. The Waldo Moment
17. Me against Fire
18. White bear
19. Metal Head
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