First off sorry for the hyperbolic and sarcastic-sounding title – I was about to delete it and then I realised search engines would LOVE it, what with all those juicy keywords in there… Anyway, this post will be pretty simple: a short, sharp and shameless plug of Charlie Brooker’s new media and technology-themed TV show on channel 4. Think of it as a slightly old-school ‘share’ (not quite as old-school as phoning you up specifically to recommend it to you, but still hopefully carrying more weight than simply hitting a ‘like’ button).
For those unaware of Brooker, he is originally a computer games journalist whose energetic writing style and keen satirist’s eye have also earned him recent TV programme-making opportunities at the BBC (especially ‘How TV ruined your life’, ‘Newswipe’ and ‘Screenwipe’) and C4 (see cult comedy Nathan Barley).
In short; the man has spent the best part of a couple of decades immersed in our media culture and practice, and the proof is in the pudding – for my money at least his analysis is always worth a few minutes of anyone’s time, combining as it does a razor-sharp ability to cut to the core of messy and disparate events and developments with a keen wit (and sometimes a gleefully mischievous pushing of buttons that is the mark of a true satirist).
Anyway, this is getting embarrassing for me. I’m a fan of Charlie Brooker and it’s probably best if we leave it there before I go completely overboard in praise for the man (…’and what wonderful hair he has’ etc) that you stop reading – the point is: check out his latest three part satirical drama series on Channel 4, Black Mirror. The first episode aired on Sunday (it’s on 4OD naturally), while the next follows this coming Sunday at 9pm (they’re connected only thematically – not in their narrative progression – so don’t worry if you missed the first one). Judging by the first episode, I’d say what you should expect is a blackly funny and simultaneously alarming satire about the ways in which modern media practices and technologies are shaping our behaviour and values.
The first episode covered various curious aspects ranging from the legal disparity between social media and traditional media highlighted in recent super-injunction episodes (i.e. BBC news can’t mention something that 50,000 people already know from twitter) and also the use of Youtube as a video distribution platform. For anyone with a broad interest in media, technology and current affairs the show is a real treat and the next two episodes promise more of the same (from what I can see the second will focus on X-factor style reality shows, while the third on Facebook’s influence on our social interaction).