Posted on October 26, 2016 by apexjason
The new season of Black Mirror hits Netflix soon. Have you seen it? The IMDB synopsis for the show is quaint and simple:
A television anthology series that shows the dark side of life and technology.
It’s the show that recently sort of predicted that a British Prime Minister would copulate with a porcine animal.
Being a British production, it has the unusual (at least to those of us on the North American side of the pond) structure of three episodes per season with each episode running approximately an hour. That means you must savor each hour like a rare exquisite commodity. At least Sherlock, another popular show that uses a similar schedule, gives us 90 minutes per outing, making the experience akin to watching a movie.
It frustrates me that Black Mirror, perhaps the best amalgamation of sci-fi and terror on television, is such a limited resource. This creates a noted “extremism” when it comes to evaluating each episode. So while notable episodes such as “White Bear” and “White Christmas” (Jon Hamm was amazing!) are heaped with praise perhaps beyond what is deserved, less popular entries like “The Waldo Moment” (a cute trifle) and “The National Anthem” (silly and absurd) are looked at with scorn.
What makes the series so strong is its ability to share a vision of a near future where humans fail to recognize the latent dangers of technology. Goofy pig-based plot elements aside, episodes have dealt with topics as varied as the harnessing of memories, becoming trapped in a timeless virtual world, and how we might punish criminals via mind wiping.
Black Mirror is modern reinvention of Rod Serling’s The Twilight Zone.
At Apex Magazine, an online zine of dark SF short fiction that I edit and publish, we share a lot common thematic ground with Black Mirror. Recent stories include Christopher Shultz’s “Starpower” where a punk rocker finds unusual power in his lyrics and “The Four Gardens of Fate” by Betsy Phillips where some bad people try to abuse a young girl’s psychic abilities. I must admit to harboring a secret hope that one day the producers of Black Mirror will pick up one of our stories for adaptation.
Unlike those slackers at Black Mirror, we produce a new issue monthly. It is free to read online at Apex-magazine.com, or you can subscribe for a few bucks a year to support our amazing writers and artists. In fact, we’re having a subscription drive RIGHT NOW so that we can increase our monthly output and increase our per word pay rate. Authors and readers rejoice!
Black Mirror debuted October 21st on Netflix. Don’t miss out!
Jason Sizemore is the author of Irredeemable and For Exposure: The Life and Times of a Small Press Publisher. Perhaps more famously he is the owner and editor of Apex Magazine and Apex Book Company. For more information, visit Jason-sizemore.com.