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5 Shows like Black Mirror: The Dangers of Science & Technology

Roxanne_Sancto_itcher_contributorIf the nightmarish visions of our technological future in shows like ‘Black Mirror’ didn’t rob you of sleep, you’re probably ready to take on series like ‘Brass Eye’ and ‘Mr Robot’. ~ Roxanne Sancto

It’s not a technological problem we have, it’s a human one.

Our obsession with technology has reached new heights and Charlie Brooker, creator of ‘Black Mirror’, is here to make you aware of the dangers behind our undeniable attachment to the internet, mobile phones and any other device designed to make our lives easier.

Some might even go as far as to say that Brooker is predicting the future and all the wonderful things to come. Just think of the very first ‘Black Mirror’ episode ‘National Anthem’ – sound at all familiar? #piggate

If you’re looking for more shows like ‘Black Mirror’ that paint a realistic picture of our generation’s addiction to technology and our new form of communication, check out the shows mentioned below.


Shows Similar to ‘Black Mirror’…

‘Mr Robot’ (NBC, 2015)

If you spend more time “connecting” with people via Facebook or Instagram, rather than actually bonding in person, you can probably relate to Elliot (Rami Malek). He prefers getting to know people via hacking – but don’t see that as a violation of one’s privacy! Elliot has actually established himself as a bit of a “vigilante hacker”. But his outlook on life isn’t all too cheery.

You want to talk about reality? We haven’t lived in anything remotely close to it since the turn of the century. We turned it off, took out the batteries, snacked on a bag of GMOs while we tossed the remnants in the ever-expanding dumpster of the human condition.

Ouch. But obviously there’s a truth to what he’s saying, so when Elliot is approached by an anarchist hacktivist team by the name of ‘fsociety’, whose mission is it is to cancel all debts by taking down E Corp – one of the largest corporations in the world – Elliot realizes he has the opportunity to change reality as we know it. 

Rami Malek and Christian Slater truly rocked their characters and as far as the show’s content goes… well, let’s just say it’s really no surprise ‘Mr Robot’ won the 2015 Golden Globe Award for Best Television Series in the category Drama.

Similarity Match: 85%
‘Mr Robot’ is reminiscent of ‘Black Mirror’ in that it deals with the corruption of the world and the influences of technology therein. ‘Black Mirror’ consists of stand-alone episodes, whereas ‘Mr Robot’ follows a continuing story.

‘How TV Ruined Your Life’ (BBC Two, 2011)

All the ladies out there – do you recognise this problem? You’re at home on a Friday night, watching reruns of ‘The O.C’ or ‘90210’ wearing your ugliest jogging pants, hair up in a messy bun, munching on cookies when suddenly, you feel a wave of depression washing over you.

You look down at your attire and study your love handles and your stubbly legs before looking back to the screen to find every character on the show absolutely perfect: stylish clothes, not the slightest hint of fat, smooth, glowing skin and no signs of hair-growth on legs, armpits or bikini zones.

A crappy feeling indeed. The culprit? Your TV Series like ‘Black Mirror’ and ‘How TV Ruined Your Life’, investigate how our addiction to the TV, Internet and all devices designed to keep us lazy and comfortable, have warped our perception of reality.

In ‘How TV Ruined Your Life’, Charlie Brooker discusses how the media is its own form of propaganda, out to sell sexist lies and control the world through fear-mongering and brainwashing until we become nothing but sheep with no opinions or beliefs of our own.

Similarity Match: 80%
Both ‘Black Mirror’ and ‘How TV Ruined Your Life’ will make you consider the dark sides of media and technology. However, ‘Black Mirror’ is a lot darker, whereas ‘How TV Ruined Your Life’ incorporates a good dose of humour.

‘Humans’ (AMC, 2015)

Based on the Swedish Sci-Fi show ‘Real Humans’, several aspects of AMC’s ‘Humans’ are quite reminiscent of the ‘Black Mirror’ episodes ‘White Christmas’ and ‘Be Right Back’. ‘Humans’ focuses on a world in which “synths” (anthropomorphic robots) have become an everyday reality.

Although the concept of robots taking over has been very much exhausted in movies and shows alike, series similar to ‘Black Mirror’ and ‘Humans’ offer an extra touch by exploring the social and psychological impact on the synths as well as the humans with which they share their lives.

‘Humans’ questions the moral implications of inventions with actual feelings and human traits, though it doesn’t dive as deep into the psychological turmoil, the fine line between reality and virtual reality leaves in its wake.

Similarity Match: 75%
‘Black Mirror’ really sneaks its way into your psyche and the knowledge you obtain from each episode will fester in your brain as well as your heart. ‘Humans’ doesn’t have quite the same impact but raises similar moral questions.

‘Brass Eye’ (Channel 4, 1997)

Thought-provokingly harsh TV shows like ‘Black Mirror’ don’t come by all too often and who knows – maybe Chris Morris has something to do with it? We started getting a taste of his dark, satirical humour during the early stages of his show ‘Brass Eye’ in 1997. But nothing prepared Britain for the ‘Brass Eye’ special titled ‘Paedogeddon!

‘Brass Eye’ is a spoof news programme and each episode tackles a different topic: animals, drugs, science, sex, crime, decline and finally, paedophilia. The episodes highlight how British (and international) media outlets spread mass hysteria in an obscure, in-your-face-manner.

The 2001 special ‘Paedogeddon’ aired around the same time investigations into the sexual assault and murder of Sarah Payne were underway, which was rather a bold move not without purpose; the Payne case was a prime example of British tabloids, spreading panic and name shaming – an approach that did more harm than good.

With ‘Brass Eye’, Morris aimed to manifest just how warped the media really is and, how, with the constant bombardment of irrelevant news snippets, the public is falling victim to paranoia and hate.

Similarity Match: 65%
‘Brass Eye’ and ‘Black Mirror’ episodes ‘National Anthem’ and ‘The Waldo Moment’ are quite similar in that they scrutinize the media and its audience. ‘Brass Eye’ incorporates a different kind of dark humour.


If You Like ‘Black Mirror’, You Will Like…

If you often find yourself overwhelmed by the steady stream of (often useless) information on your Facebook newsfeed, the constant buzzing of your whatsapp and 24/7 bombardment of advertisement, TV series like ‘Black Mirror’ can help you make that final cut to throw away your television, as the Red Hot Chili Peppers might say.

Looking for another anti-media show? Check out Charlie Brooker’s ‘Dead Set’.

‘Dead Set’ (E4, 2008)

Ever wondered what the reality show ‘Big Brother’ would be like in the face of a zombie apocalypse? ‘Dead Set’ will give you a pretty good idea. When chaos erupts in Britain following the spread of a Zombie virus, ‘Big Brother’ producer Patrick (Andy Nyman) desperately tries to carry on as usual on eviction night.

But unlike the slow, brain-dead, traditional zombies we’re used to, these guys are quick on their feet and manage to infiltrate the studios faster than any of the ‘Big Brother’ staff can reckon with. 

‘Dead Set’ operates on the notion that even in the light of disaster, the show must go on. Everything must be televised, a bit like ‘Black Mirror’ episodes, ‘White Bear’ and ‘National Anthem’. But while ‘Dead Set’ is fictional horror, ‘Black Mirror’ is shockingly realistic in its fiction.


Fiction or Prediction?

Shows like ‘Black Mirror’ are particularly frightening because they don’t actually feel like fiction; they feel like a prediction of things to come in the not-so-far future. Sometimes, I feel like we’ve already reached ‘Black Mirror’ heights.

Which one of these shows has helped you understand how big a role science, technology and media plays in the corruption of the world and the human psyche?

My name is Roxanne Sancto and I’ll be writing all things music, book and movie related for itcher mag. I also write for New Heroes & Pioneers’ upcoming Festival and Culture magazines, to be launched in the spring of 2014. I am the co-author of The Pink Boots and am currently working on two new novels. I love music, literature, cinema, crafting, yoga and animals.
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