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Black Mirror - Spoilers after the first post

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10 hours ago, Ramsay B. said:

Unfortunately right before I watched it a coworker told me it was one of his favorite BM eps ever. So my expectations were a little high going in. I did like it, but didn’t think it was top notch either, compared to all the other episodes. Curious to see why he loved it so much. 

I’ll probably watch the other 2 tonight.

Striking Vipers felt like a decent if slightly uninspired concept for a 30 minute episode stretched into an hour of television

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Just finished "Striking Vipers". I liked the concept and performances (especially Nikki Beharie, who I've never seen before but had a really good presence on the screen), but yes, it was overlong. It could have lost 15 minutes without any great deal of complaint. I understand the start being fairly slow, to establish how normal/middle-class/quotidian life is for Danny and Theo, and it did develop those rhythms. The Karl sections are, I think, less successful in establishing his life.

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Posted (edited)

I just watched Striking Vipers and wouldn't put it as one of the top episodes but thought it was a really solid Black Mirror episode.  It had an all-too-plausible not-so-distant tech-invades-real-life element to it,* and great performances.  I thought the music really added to the sense of anguish our main character was feeling.  But like some have mentioned I didn't love the end / not sure it stuck the landing.  

Gonna check out the others now.  

*I had a bit of trouble reconciling how they have their encounters as a hetero couple in the game, but maybe that's just me being clueless.  Or not how, per se, but Mackie's character presumably kinda loves the real life male version of his buddy so kind of interesting to hook up in a VR with a different gender?  I could be overthinking it.  

Edited by Triskele

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I thought the Miley episode started out ok, then just turned cringey as fuck rather quickly. What the hell were they thinking?

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Hopefully they put these three out as a season figuring it was better to have a short weak season than a long average one.

The mikey cyrus episode was terrible. It was too silly to be satire and not silly enough to be a parody. The most interesting aspect for me was working out the songs were pop versions of NIN.

Smithereens was an ok hostage story but i kept expecting there to be some twist to elevate it eg his hostage being more than he seemed. Also "entering god mode" was a massive anti-climax. Was this the most lo-tech episode of black mirror yet?

Striking Vipers was the best of the bunch for me. It had some near SF and it seemed plausible that the game would be used for sex. What was implausible was this not being common knowledge to the point everyone would treat the game as porn. There should have at least been some restrictions or hack required to access the sex. That aside there were a lot of interesting ideas in there and i did like that the physical spark wasn't present in their real lives and similarly the spark wasn't there just using the avatars. What stopped it being great though was the fact they skimmed/skipped a lot of things. There should definitely have been more to the guy liking being the woman (my impression was it had something to do with it being their favourite characters in the game and the game being something they bonded over as housemates) because it seemed while he had sex with all the different characters he always played the same avatar. Most importantly we should have seen the conversation that must have happened prior to the credits. Because if it wasn't Mackie who opened up then his character would remain a dishonest piece of shit because he had ample opportunities to open up to his wife throughout the episode. It would have also been nice to see the conversation between the three of them that lead to some kind of resolution/compromise. So this one at least had some good ideas even if it never fully reached its potential.

For lack of a better explanation i feel the show is becoming a victim of its own success and becoming a bit too "Hollywood" relying too much on guest stars and retreading themes? Maybe Brooker needs to let other writers get involved or have an even slower release schedule? Personally, i'd like to see brooker tackle some new shows and maybe some longer form storytelling eg a miniseries or full series.

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Also, is this another show that Netflix is employing viewer specific viewing orders? I got "striking vipers", "smithereens" and "miley Cyrus" while me brother had the Miley Cyrus ones queued up first.

If their intention was to show me the episodes in order of how much i enjoyed them the algorithm works. However, i still find it an uncomfortable reminder that Netflix is profiling me, meaning not only am i paying them for their entertainment but I'm also becoming data they can sell to other companies.

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4 hours ago, red snow said:

Also, is this another show that Netflix is employing viewer specific viewing orders? I got "striking vipers", "smithereens" and "miley Cyrus" while me brother had the Miley Cyrus ones queued up first.

That is the order that I got.

I thought Smithereens was similar to Striking Vipers in that it was a really ripe Black Mirror concept that was executed just OK.  A solid episode but not one of the best.

The whole tech bro CEO on a mindfulness retreat and people harmed by an addictive device are not even the future but something that is very much here and now.

I thought out lead gave a tremendous performance which helped and really sold the anguish the guy was going through.  I also thought it was pretty cool how the corporation's COO had better resources than the state, also a scare real world statement.  I just wish the fact that they reached the CEO ended up having more consequences or more to say and that the ending went somewhere more clever.  

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14 minutes ago, Triskele said:

That is the order that I got.

I thought Smithereens was similar to Striking Vipers in that it was a really ripe Black Mirror concept that was executed just OK.  A solid episode but not one of the best.

The whole tech bro CEO on a mindfulness retreat and people harmed by an addictive device are not even the future but something that is very much here and now.

I thought out lead gave a tremendous performance which helped and really sold the anguish the guy was going through.  I also thought it was pretty cool how the corporation's COO had better resources than the state, also a scare real world statement.  I just wish the fact that they reached the CEO ended up having more consequences or more to say and that the ending went somewhere more clever.  

Maybe my brother was just getting mixed up? .

I also felt like the COO would mix things up more eg solve it or petulantly crush the guy. I was also convinced that the mindfulness recording was going to be subliminally making the taxi driver crazy or something. I don't know, i was just expecting a bit more than things being exactly as they appeared.

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Just did the Miley episode.  I would agree with the consensus that this sucked.  

Part of why I love Black Mirror so much is that while I may like some episodes better than others I have always found it intriguing.  This episode for me is I think the first and only BM episode that I did not even find intriguing.  Boring, uninteresting, not even sure what they were going for.  It was almost like someone else masqueraded as Booker and got his production budget and just made a mockery of a BM episode.  

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9 minutes ago, Triskele said:

Just did the Miley episode.  I would agree with the consensus that this sucked.  

Part of why I love Black Mirror so much is that while I may like some episodes better than others I have always found it intriguing.  This episode for me is I think the first and only BM episode that I did not even find intriguing.  Boring, uninteresting, not even sure what they were going for.  It was almost like someone else masqueraded as Booker and got his production budget and just made a mockery of a BM episode.  

Almost like instead of it being a mockery of popstar culture it was actually a cynically produced promo piece for a popstar? It was all very twee and had an unambiguously happy ending. Sounds more like a promo piece than a black mirror episode in that sense.

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48 minutes ago, red snow said:

Almost like instead of it being a mockery of popstar culture it was actually a cynically produced promo piece for a popstar? It was all very twee and had an unambiguously happy ending. Sounds more like a promo piece than a black mirror episode in that sense.

Yeah, at the moment I'm almost tempted to say that the whole franchise is somewhat tarnished by the existence of this one.

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Wow. I thoroughly enjoyed the Miley one, it was my favorite of the three. I went in not even knowing it was going to be a Miley episode. I was never a fan of Hanna Montana or Miley Cyrus and I don't know how much input Miley had in this episode, but even if the parallels with Miley, her fame, her fans, her duality, her relationship with her father, her yearning to break away from her own established image...even if that was all too on the nose and obvious, I felt this had to be a cathartic thing for her, and even just thinking that made me appreciate the episode let alone I really enjoyed the story. 

I liked the easily distracted by his work/calling father, a well meaning guy that really needed to learn not to have such a one track mind, I really liked Rachel's sister, and I loved Ashely Too, I just got a kick out of watching how it acted. I don't know how much of it was CGI, I just know there are robots out there all ready that work very similar, minus being able to have someone's brain scanned into them for it's A.I. The A.I. in them still have a far way to go but it was very interesting seeing what might be close to an actual robot maybe in not that long a time.

I also really don't want every episode of BM to end on a downbeat, I like at least one or two (if the season is a longer one) upbeat episode per season.

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Posted (edited)

I don’t mind an upbeat ending, if it’s done right. The last half hour or so reminded me of a bad AHS episode. Them keeping Miley in a coma to make songs from her dreams(absurd even for BM). The 2 teenagers and a doll(with a mind now)getting into the mansion and fooling everyone way too easily, then crashing perfectly into the arena to foil the evil aunt’s plans. Yeesh. 

Edited by Ramsay B.

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2 hours ago, Ramsay B. said:

I don’t mind an upbeat ending, if it’s done right. The last half hour or so reminded me of a bad AHS episode. Them keeping Miley in a coma to make songs from her dreams(absurd even for BM). The 2 teenagers and a doll(with a mind now)getting into the mansion and fooling everyone way too easily, then crashing perfectly into the arena to foil the evil aunt’s plans. Yeesh. 

San Junipero is a lot of people’s favorite episode and it had an upbeat ending (for this show). That definitely wasn’t the problem with the Miley Cyrus episode. It was all the absurdity that led up to it. 

They also wasted a talented young actress in Angourie Rice. She was great in The Nice Guys, but Brooker didn’t give her much to work with in this one. 

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Striking Vipers had a relatively upbeat ending too. 

Rice was great in The Nice Guys. What a movie.

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12 hours ago, Ramsay B. said:

I don’t mind an upbeat ending, if it’s done right. The last half hour or so reminded me of a bad AHS episode. Them keeping Miley in a coma to make songs from her dreams(absurd even for BM). The 2 teenagers and a doll(with a mind now)getting into the mansion and fooling everyone way too easily, then crashing perfectly into the arena to foil the evil aunt’s plans. Yeesh. 

There's upbeat and then there's cheesy. Popstar starts a NIN cover band and the shy sister becomes the guitarist. That's the end of a disney show. What happened to the evil auntie? Did they kill the Dr? Was eternal version kept in play (because it may be that's what consumers wanted). But they chose to just wrap it up really suddenly. 

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6 minutes ago, HelenaExMachina said:

The guardian did a ranking of BM episodes and put Black Museum and Shut Up and Dance at 22 and 21 respectively. I question this reviewers tastes a lot...

https://www.theguardian.com/tv-and-radio/2019/jun/06/every-episode-of-black-mirror-ranked-charlie-brooker

I had a similar reaction, particularly regarding their reasoning as well. I think some guardian writers are incapable of separating their politics from their enjoyment of entertainment which is fair enough but it tempers my trust of their reviews. 

Then again, I'm in the minority in that i Don't think nosedive is that good. But i guess that's me not finding their economy workable. There's probably people think the same about capitalism and thinking bits of paper/tokens have value.

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4 minutes ago, red snow said:

I had a similar reaction, particularly regarding their reasoning as well. I think some guardian writers are incapable of separating their politics from their enjoyment of entertainment which is fair enough but it tempers my trust of their reviews. 

Then again, I'm in the minority in that i Don't think nosedive is that good. But i guess that's me not finding their economy workable. There's probably people think the same about capitalism and thinking bits of paper/tokens have value.

See i did like nosedive but completely disagree with the rest of their list. I get that some episodes are too bleak for some viewers to enjoy but really just very peculiar ranking imo

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22 minutes ago, HelenaExMachina said:

The guardian did a ranking of BM episodes and put Black Museum and Shut Up and Dance at 22 and 21 respectively. I question this reviewers tastes a lot...

https://www.theguardian.com/tv-and-radio/2019/jun/06/every-episode-of-black-mirror-ranked-charlie-brooker

I actually am in agreement with most of their rankings here, I found Black Museum to be a lazy rehash of standard Black Mirror tropes and I was mostly quite bored by it. I'd put Shut up and Dance a bit higher as I'm a big fan of the actor in it and I found it quite disturbing and relevant. I think Black Mirror has a lot of mediocre forgettable episodes so I couldn't judge their ranking.

Otherwise its hard to argue against their best choices too much, I love 'The entire history of you' and 'Nosedive' is the one everyone always ends up talking about as being so close to the way society is going. 'Be right back' was also one that really stuck with me, although it was more interesting when her dead husband was just an automated chat bot. 

There are a number of news outlets and reviewers who tend to shove everything through a political lens and judge art purely on whether it fits their narrow view of politics (looking at you AV Club), but I didn't see too much wrong here.

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