There is no denying that excellence often graces our screen in short satirical tid-bits called Black Mirror. The television series, written by the comical genius Charlie Brooker, first came to television in 2011; poking fun at political and social elements that have become to crux of our lives. Its highlights including the provoking The National Anthem, which saw Rory Kinear fuck a pig live on air, White Bear, a disturbing and terrifying look at social media and The Entire History of You, written by Jesse Armstrong but with no less thrills within it. Black Mirror is the crème de la crème of black comedy and when it was announced that it was doing a Christmas special, fans wrung their palms with delight to watch it. But did it live up to the hype?
Black Mirror is a testament to Brooker’s writing. Not only does it have comedic moments, pushed to the extremities of our social awareness, but it also has these very humanistic characters at the centre of them. What Brooker cleverly does is weave three very unique stories and make them effervesce with, not just originality, but a terrifying human soul beneath them. Absorbing us into the tales, White Christmas becomes about the situations that technology has placed humanity in and our acceptance in the face of it. While wagging a sharp tongue at our over-reliance, Brooker is also able to usher out acceptance and make these worlds seem real enough to echo of not too distant futures which make the dread, as the story unfolds, all too tangible. The stories here feel less to do with politics or satire and are brimming with human identity. It dives into the pits of what makes our soul and how they could be ripped from us through technology or our overabundance of computer usage could leave us hollow. The “Cookie” is a prime example of this – entering the philosophical debate over what makes us human and what doesn’t. Though, this is one thread in an entire, rich full length episode, the rest still superbly ask questions for the audience to, as frightening as it is, answer keeping Brooker on top of the macabre comedy game.
White Christmas is another defining chapter in Brooker’s Black Mirror universe. While heavily aware that these occasions take place in an alternate sci-fi universe, they smatter and poke fun at the society we have built around us. Brooker is astutely aware of the nuances that have impacted our lives and uses it to grievous comical effect. Black Mirror: White Christmas will leave you with your heart in your throat, swallowing heftily against the backlash that this astute television program is throwing at you.
In other simplistic words, it is outstanding.