WATCHING NOT WATCHING:
Being in the creative industry, we consider it our job to stay up to date on all things pop culture. Occupational hazards may include binge watching (damn you, Netflix.) We knew we weren't alone in this so we caught up with WNW Member #2185 James Wignall who filled us in on his current obsession: Black Mirror. Originally airing on British TV, Black Mirror is a sci-fi horror series that imagines the deleterious ways technology could reshape our lives and relationships. You think you're a super fan? James gives partial credit to writer Charlie Brooker with his upbringing! And he made an original GIF for this article.
Do you tune in and watch Black Mirror on TV or do you binge online during vacations?
I was lucky enough to catch it from the start when it screened on Channel4 back in 2011. I got a bit of an itch shortly before the second season started and binge watched the first season again. Luckily it's only a few episodes, so much less of a time commitment than something like The Wire!
What is it about Black Mirror that draws you in?
My humour has always been on the rather dark, pitch black side and the clever satire and social commentary of the modern world we live in is right down my street. I've been a big fan of the show's writer (Charlie Brooker) for years. I grew up reading his columns in magazines like PC Zone back in the 90's, progressed to 11 O'Clock news show (of Sacha Baron Cohen fame) and of course more recently his Screenwipe, Newswipe, Gameswipe.
To think about it, him and Chris Morris are probably responsible for half of my upbringing!
Black Mirror recognizes social media’s significance and influence on society as a whole. Do you think it will be the new norm on TV shows and movies to show closeups of smartphone screens and superimpose Twitter and text bubbles?
With mobile phones and social media so prevalent and synchronous with our generation, I suspect use within TV and film to only increase. I would be hesitant to say, it probably already is the norm.
The most interesting aspect is seeing what the writers do with it, using the current trend as a springboard as to what the future might hold. Spike Jonze's "Her" has a pretty good idea!
Is Black Mirror, and television in general, a source of creative inspiration or escape?
It can be both! Some days you just want to watch to get away from work and relax, but other times television can help you take an idea into a whole new direction when you least expect it.
It doesn't even have to be a show, it could be the advert that inadvertently (no pun intended) triggers something.
What other shows or films do you recommend to the WNW community?
I also grew up watching "The League of Gentlemen", so it holds a special place in my heart (Season 1 and 2 anyway, Papa Lazarou is possibly the best character ever, in the world).