The final episode of “Black Mirror“, Season 2 — “The Waldo Moment” — is a perfect tonic to wash out the greasy aftertaste of Seth MacFarlane’s sad spasm on the Oscars. It’s also one of the best of the series, right up there with “Fifteen Million Merits” (season 1). Seriously, if you’re in the US, find a way to watch the show. It’s some of the best television I’ve seen in ages (and trust me, I’ve seen a lot of television through the ages).
The Black Mirror series is a collection of self-contained short stories, set five seconds into the future. It is TV as literature, in a way that hasn’t been seen since Rod Serling, Paddy Chayefsky, Isaac Asimov, and Ray Bradbury clacked away at their Underwoods for “The Twilight Zone” and “Playhouse 90”.
In The Waldo Moment, we are convincingly shown how a cartoon bear, known for fart jokes, could easily become a political force. It is simultaneously hilarious, depressing, and plausible.
Black Mirror, indeed. We have seen the enemy, and it is us.
I am ambivalent about the increasing popularity of Doctor Who here in the United States (evidence of which is embedded below in the Fine Brothers’ fine video summarizing the last 47 years of the show). On the one hand, I am happy that more of my fellow Yankees finally “get” my favorite sci-fi show; on the other hand, I must come to grips with the fact that my love for the show no longer distinguishes me as quirky or unique (if it ever did).
We all know this phenomenon. We saw bands before they were cool… we watched audiences walk out in contempt at early Nirvana shows; we saw RuPaul performing on acid without a wig to a baffled crowd at the Pyramid. We “got it” ages before anyone else….
Oh well. Time to settle into my banality and run down the clock. The new season of Doctor Who will be a comfort in my dotage.
Last year I wrote an open letter to the producers of the ABC remake of “V”; a little list of suggestions conceived to help punch up the show a bit. The popularity of the remake took the network and producers by surprise — you may recall that it was pronounced dead on arrival before it even aired.
But scifi fanboys and girls saved the day, ensuring that “V” would indeed have a future. But we are a fickle and hypercritical lot, so I offered some tips to help them keep the fans.
Well, I am pleased to report that they have adopted at least one of these suggestions: that any remake of “V” must, must recreate the famous rat-eating sequence from the 1980’s version.
It’s official, in my book anyway: Fringeis the best US science fiction show on television. Granted, it took a couple of seasons to find its groove, but find it it did. This is a rare occasion in American television: allowing a promising show to find a foothold in the murky sewers of public opinion.
The evidence for this is ample in the show’s increasingly complex storylines. But what really decided it for me was tonight’s episode, which included a subtle shout-out to David Lynch‘s legendary series Twin Peaks.Walter Bishop, the ever-tripping mad scientist of Fringe, is wearing peculiar, two-toned sunglasses. When told he looks good, he quips, “yes… they were sent to me by a Dr. Jacoby from Washington state…” Brilliant!!