So I asked you guys to recommend some good sci-fi on Facebook last week, and my internet literally burst into flames in response. I got a million recommendations that I’m slowly going through at the rate of one episode per day (all I got time for), and I’m two deep into Black Mirror. If you, like me, haven’t heard of it, it’s a British sci-fi series of one-offs — think old school Outer Limits — each with different writers, directors, and self contained plots. The first episode, The National Anthem, was all right: It was entertaining and ballsy enough, for what it was, but ultimately didn’t go beyond novelty. The second episode, 15 Million Merits, was astonishing. It was some of the tightest storytelling I’ve seen in years, and I don’t mean “tight” in the bro-with-a-wooden-ear-stud-likes-your-jacket sense. The episode could not have been one minute shorter, and should not have been one minute longer. It introduced an entire authentic world, likable characters, an intriguing plot and some seriously biting social commentary in just under forty-five minutes. If you’re going to start on the series, remember: They’re not linked. You can start on the second episode and not miss anything.
Although I will say if you, like me, watch TV in the morning on an exercise bike, maybe you want to stick to reruns of Supernatural or something. I know ‘biking while watching TV’ wasn’t the exact thing they were condemning, but it’s hard to watch a Huxleyan dystopia about the exact thing you’re doing at the moment and not feel just an eensy bit like a conformist drone being obliviously milked by your corporate overlords.
Just an eensy bit.