Netflix show reminiscent of ‘The Twilight Zone’

Freddie Wilhelm | Staff Writer

The screen turns black showing nothing but your reflection, as you stare into the ‘Black Mirror’ before you, you begin to reflect upon your every action.

‘Black Mirror’ has grown to become a popular anthology series, a collection of different shows all with different characters and plot but following a similar format, on Netflix. Created by Charlie Brooker, the show depicts various tools of technology taking over the lives of characters.

Viewers of ‘Black Mirror’ often notice how the show portrays occurrences that could happen as a result of the growth of technology in society, such as hacking, stealing identities, and the creation of devices that can replay memories. The show offers many instances in which the characters’ irresponsibly choose to use and abuse the technology at their disposal. Sophomore Kara Flynn said the show grants the viewers a look into the consequences of their choices.

“It touches on our society and makes us think about the consequences of the choices we have,” Flynn said. “It makes you aware of your actions, and it makes you think, which is what society needs right now, which is why I think the creators wanted to make this show.”

Senior Musa Khan said he often thinks about the choices made by characters in the show and whether or he would make the same mistakes.

“I’ve actually thought about some of the technologies that they’ve shown in the episodes, and I put myself in the shoes of the characters and whether I would abuse these technologies the same way,” Khan said. “It makes me think about if we’re headed in the right direction with some of our technology.”

Black Mirror offers users of the streaming service a different taste, not only of drama, but of consequence. Junior Scott Leathers said the show is enticing to him due to the reality it creates, and negative tone following the actions of the characters in the show.

“I like that (Black Mirror is) depressing, a lot of shows are light hearted, but (Black Mirror) gives you a dose of reality.” Leathers said. “It could be realistic — you can see it happening down the line — which makes it scarier, and gets you more involved in (the show).”

With the growth of the Black Mirror, it has begun to draw many similarities to the popular show from the 1960s, ‘The Twilight Zone,’ which, like ‘Black Mirror,’ brought up questions about everyday life and social order during the time. English teacher Thurman Allen said both shows effectively use television to portray their message.

“The thing that connects them is the medium of television and storytelling to make comments of our society from the safe distance of the future or alternate universe,” Allen said. “The idea is that these shows say something, but they phrase it as this is what we could be heading for if we aren’t careful or what would happen if we took this idea too far.”

While 50 years have passed, the message of the shows has remained the same; both reflect upon societal growth, either from technology or from different scenarios. Allen said although the shows have the same ultimate goal, they go about achieving that goal in different ways.

“The basic idea is the same but the format is different,” Allen said. “‘Twilight Zone’ tends to be more staged because they were written by playwrights and television was fairly new. ‘Black Mirror’ is different because production value is higher, and storytelling is more detailed because they have more time. The ideas are the same in both, but ‘Twilight Zone’ tends to be more preachy, while ‘Black Mirror’ tends to be more thought-provoking.”

While ‘The Twilight Zone’ impacts people over 50 years later, ‘Black Mirror’ has not yet hit the same heights as the popular television show from the 60s. Khan said ‘Black Mirror’ could have the same impact on our generation if it achieved the same viewership as ‘The Twilight Zone.’

“I think that ‘The Twilight Zone’ is a bit different than ‘Black Mirror’ because ‘Black Mirror’ has been around for four years on the BBC, and it’s only now become mainstream because it’s on Netflix,” Khan said. “I don’t know if it will have the same impact because ‘Twilight Zone’ was one of the breakthrough shows of its time, and it was the first of its kind. I’d like to think that ‘Black Mirror’ will have this impact, but it depends on whether Netflix can make it completely mainstream.”