By Catherine Whitfield
After the release of the quirky, dark and occasionally disturbing trailers for Charlie Brooker’s Black Mirror expectations were high. This was the launch of an altogether new type of television drama; the first episode was bound to make an impact one way or another. It did not disappoint.
The programme opens with an ominous phone call received by someone we soon find out to be the Prime Minister. Very quickly the gravity of the situation becomes clear. The beloved princess has been kidnapped. The now uncomfortable viewer is left with unexpected questions. Instead of Who took the princess? In true Brooker style, the questions require thought outside the box: Will the prime minister have to go through the grim task set before him? And most interestingly, is there a chance of this really happening?
What sets Brooker apart from your average dark satirical writer, is that you don’t enter into his world without being forced to think. The 40 minute programme, presents numerous issues that beforehand you weren’t aware existed. He does this without bombarding with obvious dilemma. And yes, his writing is an exaggerated dramatisation but exposure to the extreme ideas of corruption, struggle and greed leaves me, for one, finding it all a little too close for comfort. From the influence of social media on public opinion, to what extent people go to for power and how far journalists will go to get their story, instead of the question What will he do?, the viewer is left asking themselves, What would I do, if it was me?