A few months ago I briefly discussed with a colleague the changes brought about in Black Mirror during the transition some years ago from Channel 4 to Netflix. I argued that, while some episodes lived up to the quality of the Channel 4-produced seasons and to the expectations of the fans (San Junipero, for instance), a general mutation of the series created by Charlie Brooker could be generally noticed. He was instead happy with Netflix since the change meant more money for production and all that a higher budget involves – that was a step-up for Black Mirror, in his opinion. Although I was not totally convinced, it seemed a sensible opinion (expressed by a person who would have been a perfect fit for a Black Mirror episode, by the way). Now, having just watched the fifth season, I beg to differ again.
Let us consider Striking Vipers. One can see from the beginning where the story leads: a bored husband, Danny, meets his old best friend, Karl, who is still dating young girls, living in the city and acting cool and young, and gets from him a VR fighting videogame. After the first fight, they end up having a sort of hyperrealistic VR affair and daily virtual sexual intercourses, setting the conditions for a crisis in Danny’s marriage. Utterly predictable, and the final compromise is not really the dramatic plot twist one could expect. Everything perfectly linear – too linear.
A couple of days ago I finished watching the third season of Black Mirror on Netflix. I must say that it was pretty good, but, perhaps not as good (and, sometimes, frightening) as the previous seasons. However, as I already experienced with the episodes produced by Channel 4, I sometimes got the sense that what I was watching on my screen was not just a bleak premonition of the near future or, just as many viewers, commentators and even Charlie Brooker itself put it, the logical outcome of the current technological and social developments led to the extreme, but that it was also something that already happened or that is happening right now. Continue reading “Is Black Mirror already happening?”
[SPOILER ALERT: sotto sono contenuti dettagli della prima, della seconda e della terza stagione di House of Cards]
Poco più di una settimana fa sul sito del Washington Post è apparso un articolo di Seth Masket, docente di scienze politiche presso l’Università di Denver, che criticava il modo in cui House Of Cards mostra la politica americana, accusando la serie tv di mancare realismo (qui l’articolo in italiano).
Tra le varie sottolineature dell’articolo, ce n’è una che effettivamente salta all’occhio già dalla prima stagione, e cioè che Frank e Claire Underwood sembrano essere le uniche persone furbe e intelligenti a Wahsington, mentre gli altri si fanno prendere in trappola in modo sin troppo semplice.
[SPOILER ALERT: di seguito si raccontano particolari della prima e della seconda stagione di House of Cards]
In uno dei poster promozionali della seconda stagione di House of Cards, Frank Underwood, il protagonista della serie, viene presentato seduto sulla sedia della statua dedicata ad Abraham Lincoln nel monumento commemorativo di Washington D.C., e sulle sue mani appoggiate ai lati, così come sul pavimento, ci sono vistose macchie di sangue: il personaggio, infatti, è un personaggio negativo, cattivo, spregiudicato, che ricerca il potere con ogni mezzo, tant’è vero che arriva a commettere, tra le varie cose, ben due omicidi nella sua corsa (non elettorale) alla Casa Bianca.
Eppure, Frank Underwood fa politica. Sì, è vero, la fa nel senso del playing politics, dell’utilizzare le varie situazioni a proprio vantaggio in maniera assolutamente spregiudicata e, più che immorale, forse addirittura a-morale, cioè senza che alcun punto di vista etico sia tenuto in considerazione. Fa, però, anche politica in un senso ben diverso e, talvolta, spinto da motivazioni comprensibili, se non addirittura giustificabili, o comunque con esiti positivi, benché quasi al livello di unintended consequences.
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