It’s only been a couple of years since the first round of Charlie Brooker’s Black Mirror – a drama mini-series consisting of three stand-alone episodes, all set in the not-too-distant-future.
The stories aim to hold a mirror up to society and show us where we ultimately could be heading, should we not keep a tighter leash on our moral compass. Production company Endemol describe it as a show that ‘taps into our unease about the contemporary modern world with a techno-paranoia feel’.
For me, the stand-out story from series one was 15 Million Merits, starring Jessica Brown Findlay. A satirical examination of our current obsession with reality TV and constant craving for distraction in our lives. A brilliantly realised tale that was both haunting and scarily believable as a concept.
Therein lies the strength of Brooker’s talent. In fact, the depth to his writing and appeal of the stories has attracted Hollywood’s attention, with Downey Jr planning a feature-length film version of series one episode The Entire History of You, which originally starred Toby Kebbell.
Brilliant Brooker and astonishing Atwell
Series two recently began with the episode Be Right Back, starring Hayley Atwell. An actress who’s been on my radar for a while, but I’ve yet to see her in anything of note. Here she puts in a thoroughly believable performance as young, grieving widow Martha, who turns to a mobile app to recreate her recently-deceased partner Ash (Dohmnall Gleeson, son of Brendan), from his email and social media history.
There’s been a few reviewers who have said that, between series one and two, Brooker has matured as a writer. Fatherhood has softened him up, or at least make his writing style less aggressive and shocking. Perhaps that’s true. What is clear is that Be Right Back represents a more considered, mature and sensitive offering, from a clearly talented writer. One whose style and ideas are as distinctive and unsettling, as they are moving and fascinating.
To get the juices flowing, here’s the trailer for the next episode, White Bear. Enjoy!