The Entire History Of You
The final episode of Black Mirror this year, and with it a major change: a completely different writer, Peep Show co-creator Jesse Armstrong, rather than series architect Charlie Brooker. As you’d expect, this leads to a marked change of tone, but was it for the better?
Well, I say a change, one thing remained constant: it was pretty damn bleak. No matter how technology might change our lives, Brooker and Armstrong don’t have high hopes. It makes Black Mirror stand out from other current dramas, but if they do a second batch, they might want to consider the odd happy ending. Misery isn’t an end in itself.
Aside from that, Armstrong chooses to make his point more subtly, focusing on one man and his steadily unravelling life, with the built-in uber-Facebook element merely providing the means of his undoing. The characters were more defined, their conflicts more conventional, and no-one had intercourse with livestock.
I thought it made a nice change of pace from Brooker’s straight-to-the-face point-hammering, although it was such a jarring change that viewers who really liked the previous episodes might find this hard going in comparison. The last two were broad parables, this really was a straight kitchen-sink drama with a little sci-fi sprinkled in.
Although the party scene towards the beginning, with the oily Jonas dispensing horrible bluster, did bring Armstrong’s Peep Show stylings into the mix, I thought. A little cringing humour was good, as the rest was rather dark. I was making little screaming noises at my TV by the final scene.
Which brings us to the end of the first series of Black Mirror, and it’s been an interesting experiment, at least partly successful. Maybe bringing in a broader range of writers across a longer second series would be interesting; this episode makes me curious what others could do with Brooker’s concept. Regardless, I hope it continues in some form.
Catch up with the series on Channel 4 On Demand, and let us know below how you think it's worked out.