TV listings | Soullessness behind the black mirror

April 20th, 2012

This article is more than 11 years old.

A prime minister will save the life of his country’s favourite princess by having sex with a pig. But no, this isn’t Game of Thrones, as he will have to do it on live TV. “Don’t get it over too quickly, sir,” his secretary advises. “Otherwise, the public will think you are enjoying it rather too much.”

Black Mirror, from the satirically-brilliant Guardian journalist Charlie Brooker, is billed as The Twilight Zone directed by Brass Eye’s Chris Morris. It’s a series but only thematically: all the episodes are standalone. Brooker explores how new media is distorting the world, and the episodes respectively satirise social networking, reality TV and our desire to record everything.

It’s “the way we might be living in 10 minutes’ time if we’re clumsy,” warns Brooker. The Daily Telegraph called it a “ballsy, blackly comic study”, “a dementedly brilliant idea” and satire “so audacious, it left [them] open-mouthed and squealing – rather like that poor pig”.

Brooker won’t be tuning in for Dirty Sexy Things, another reality TV show set in the fashion world. British newspaper Metro found it “neither dirty nor sexy but really rather boring”, but other media were more positive, probably because they’ve got something to sell.

Funny to see that Vic Reeves and Bob Mortimer have returned to the series that sold their careers down the river. Shooting Stars (BBC Ent, Wed 22:30), a massive hit franchise-wise, returned after a seven-year hiatus in 2009, and here is the first of those episodes, with Jack Dee joining the team.

Elsewhere, nobody’s seen new drama series Titanic: Blood and Steel (DR2, Sun 21:00), but the omens look good;  Rockstar Hamlet (BBC World, Sat 16:10 & 21:10) offers some interesting insights on Lithuania’s Singing Revolution as does the acclaimed (100 percent on RT) The Boy Mir – ten years in Afghanistan on over there; there’s a whole week of net-themed docs on SV2 (Mon-Fri 18:00); British crime drama Luther (SV4, Thu 23:55) is back for a second series that critics found vastly superior to the first; watch the 2006 Salzburg Festival’s rendition of The Marriage of Figaro (DRK, Sat 20:00); and there’s a more agreeable time to see sci-fi series Misfits (DR HD, Sun 13:40).


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