Many episodes of Black Mirror can have a tendency to feel both prescient and totally plausible.
The British-born Netflix show is clearly today’s Twilight Zone. But it’s a bit more grounded. They don’t have moon mission storylines, and there are no time travelers or aliens. It’s really a matter of far future versus near future. And Black Mirror rarely strays beyond one generation forward from the present.
Let’s go over some episodes that demonstrate just how near future the science fiction anthology can sometimes seem.
5 most plausible Black Mirror episodes
1 The Waldo Moment
Often cited as the worst episodes of the series, it’s actually pretty much current year United States of America. Except our Waldo is orange instead of blue. But still, it’s beyond plausible, which is maybe the very reason it ranks so low on every fan’s list. It’s almost not even science fiction.
Waldo is a brash, blue, CGI cartoon bear persona played by a schlubby guy who is supposed to be a comic (debatable). Let’s have a mini, inside the rundown, rundown of the celebrities who have not only pledged to run for office but have actually gone on to be elected.
- Clint Eastwood (1986)
- Jesse Ventura (1998)
- Arnold Schwarzenegger (2003, 2006)
- Al Franken (2008, 2014)
- Donald Trump (2016)
- Glenn “Kane” Jacobs (2018)
This thing you’ve just read is an actual list. It’s not a crazy person’s list. Totally normal list. It makes The Waldo Moment easily the most plausible of all Black Mirror episodes. What’s even more impressive is that it released in early 2013. Trump announced his candidacy in 2015.
Yet another entry on this list that would be on the bottom of any “best of” ranking. This one might seem like I’m generalizing. “Oh, sure. Robots taking over or something and hunting humans, I guess that counts as generally plausible.” But no. I mean literally the concept. That little murderous cutey is damn near in development.
Don’t let your empathy response, tricked into action from the sight of the demon hound being kicked, cloud your judgment. This thing deserves to be kicked. Repeatedly. Also… why did they let it get loose?
Often times, sci-fi can make us think, “it’s sort of like how things are now.” That’s intentional. Because any sci-fi that deals with the future is still ultimately dealing with today.
Nosedive is creepy and perfectly timed. It’s not even all that prescient as it is sardonic. It’s hard to imagine that truck driver (who played a lesbian poetry professor on Trans, so she’s got a lot of range) as not making fun of us.
Someone in China apparently saw this episode and went, “Yep. Sounds good.” They’re putting in a new social credit system. Ties in lots of variable, including your financial credit score, and one of the pilot programs is run by Alibaba, Asia’s Amazon. So, just imagine Jeff Bezos owner your social credit data. What’s even way more helpfully fascistic, Alibaba is partnering with Baihe (think: eHarmony) and showing your potential love/transaction that you’ve got the goods.
This one is basically doable now, too. If you’re willing to do the low-tech version. The usual: nailing a VR headset permanently to your brain and maybe popping some acid to grease the wheels.
Or you could be a scientist, because apparently it’s not impossible to do. Especially not with neural interfaces being an actual thing. That’s the technology where they just skip the whole visor or iPhone thing and just go right to the source–jacking into your brain.
Turns out Neurable thinks it’s a great idea and so has just been speeding along trying to make the Matrix happen, because we could use some naked techno humping, right?
5 The Entire History of You
Here’s a moment of creepiness for you, right in time to round this list out. This already exists. Yes, that’s right, you too can have an emotionally tumultuous experience piecing together the truth of your significant other’s infidelity using the power of instant replay.
Samsung patented smart contact lenses starting in 2014 that livestream to smart phones and take still photos when you blink. Google is apparently developing some too, because why not?
If these aren’t enough for you, just wait a few years. We might have even more nightmarish possibilities realized, giving us even more wonderful reasons to feel that sweet existential angst.