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Black Mirror - Spoilers after the first post

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I think part of the idea was that this wasn't only a choose-your-own adventure but was using that as a commentary on the form, and in tirn using that form as a commentary on life. So, sometimes your choices are trivial. Sometimes they're between two equally unpleasant alternatives. Sometimes you're forced into paths you'd prefer not to take. Sometimes they have a huge cost. But you still have to choose, or life chooses for you.

The problem is, I think, that Bandersnatch is too many things all at once. It's a period piece. It's a CYA adventure. It's a story about creativity and obsession and insanity. It's a conspiracy story. It's a commentary about stories and choices and consequences. It's a musing about the nature of reality. It's sort-of a time travel story. It's a meta-story featuring the viewer and breaking the fourth wall. It's a lot of different things all at once.

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Yeah I think the idea and the gimmick are really interesting, and the meta story about the main character being controlled could have been cool,  but you just get the impression that the story was created to serve the idea of the CYO concept, rather than the other way round.

And everything else felt pretty grey to me. The setting , the characters and the look and feel, all left me feeling a bit unpleasant 

What also bothered me was Will Coulter’s turn as a programmer. It was 90% accurate as a tech nerd, but it was just off enough to be an obvious impersonation and felt inauthentic. It was a mix of Big Bang Theory and ‘IT guy’ from the British Office. It felt like an affectation and was off putting for me

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It’s hard to say what you thought of it without saying exactly which episode you watched. I just read about an ending that sounds really good...

Spoiler

...I think you have to choose the book instead of the photo frame, which gives you the option of attempting to get the rabbit back, then you have to enter TOY as the password, then you go with you mother to get the train. But you still have to catch the later train, and you’re given the choice to get in and die along with you mother or let her go.

I did get the five star review on I think the second loop? Can’t really remember how. Also it’s seriously impressive how they’ve edited together a ‘catch-up’ so you quickly race to the same branching option. How many of those must they have done? I counted at least five decisions that appeared in mine, that’s insane.

That ending above sounds good, but what about...

Spoiler

Choosing Netflix? That was an experiment I did shortly before turning it off, that ends with it being filmed for Netflix and breaking out into an elaborate fight scene.

I mean if that was my first loop and then I exited to credits, we’d be talking about vastly different episodes.

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I've seen most of the endings. Some of them are quite flippant, but there's definitely a couple of paths that feel more concrete and stimulating. In particular:

Spoiler

Yes, the TOY ending has a bittersweet quality to it, if you choose to go with your mother. And in general the paths that follow from going to Colin's apartment and dropping acid reminded me a bit of some of Alan Moore or Grant Morrison's work, in a good way. Definitely more enjoyable than going the "Netflix" route, which is amusing but very easy and lightweight as far as storytelling goes.

 

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Yeah, I looped through quite a few different options, but it rolled the credits automatically for me when I got the

Spoiler

TOY ending. That felt like a satisfying narrative conclusion - part of Stefan had died with his mother and he was never able to move on. His story was concluding by going back and dying with her that day.

 

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1 hour ago, Triskele said:

I'm a little bummed that this season will apparently only be these three episodes.  

The first two seasons were three episodes, and were a fair bit stronger I’d say. I’m glad it’s this length.

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I watched Striking Vipers. It was ok i guess, certainly not a top tier BM episode but it was watchable. Scant praise i know but it didnt wow me

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3 hours ago, HelenaExMachina said:

I watched Striking Vipers. It was ok i guess, certainly not a top tier BM episode but it was watchable. Scant praise i know but it didnt wow me

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.

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Weakest season by far, imo. Moriarty gave a strong performance in Smithereens, but that’s about it. The Miley Cyrus episode might be the worst the show has done to date. Idk, it’s been a long time since I’ve seen the Waldo one. Pretty disappointing overall. 

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^^^^ Ugh. I accidentally saw a few reviews ripping the Miley episode too. I had my doubts beforehand when hearing she was a lead, and now I’m just dreading it. 

Smithereens was decent. It kinda dragged at times.

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I watched Striking Vipers last night. Eh. I enjoyed the premise a lot, but the final act fell flat for me. The mutual "solution" seemed much too simple and unrealistic for so complicated a dilemma.

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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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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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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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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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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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