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I think Charlie is worried that reality is overtaking satire:

This year, the top Christmas products include My Friend Cayla, billed as the world's first internet-connected doll, something humankind has been crying out for since the earliest days of the abacus. My Friend Cayla is several furlongs beyond nightmarish. Technology has taken a familiar horror movie staple - the self-aware talking doll that suddenly addresses you by name, even when you haven't pulled its string - and made it a chilling reality.

[...]

She's the ideal spy, too. The moment I saw her, I realised there was a chilling near-future horror script to be written about an internet-enabled talking doll that reports back on everything you and your family get up to, to the government, to retailers, and to random hackers in Belarus. So at least I've got a future Black Mirror episode out of it. Fingers crossed I can finish the fictional version before the 3D documentary adaptation is launched in our waking reality.

http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/nov/24/christmas-2014-john-lewis-sainsbury-ads-top-christmas-products

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  • 2 weeks later...

There were two good (memory chip, idols), ok (android, iphone zombie) and bad (waldo + the first episode).

I really liked the memory chip, it's the only one which felt well worked out. The rest spent too much time trying to be "cool" or "shocking" to bother about having a consistent and logical point.

I like the format, it'd be great for adapting scifi shorts..

The Entire History of You is my favourite by some way because it feels more about relationships than technology. Many of the others are too focused on the technology aspect rather than a good story.

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People keep recommending this to me and I don't know what to do. I checked out that xmas teaser trailer and the acting seems SO hammy? Also, no idea where to start because I've heard the first few episodes are the worst? What is currently the best episode that sums up the show?

I want to like it, honest.

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People keep recommending this to me and I don't know what to do. I checked out that xmas teaser trailer and the acting seems SO hammy? Also, no idea where to start because I've heard the first few episodes are the worst? What is currently the best episode that sums up the show?

Just watch all of it.

Also, Jon Hamm, Hammy?

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I don't know how to feel about all that really. Some of it was really good, some of it seemed a bit silly, some of it was overwrought and some of it was horribly dark. Pretty par for the course with the series I guess.

There was a plot point that really bothered me and I'm not sure if I missed an explanation:

The entire story hinged on the guy being blocked by his girlfriend and then not being able to see her and who he believed to be his daughter. This led to him visiting every year which of course leads to him committing murder in the end.

But surely, despite the blocking and restraining order, he could take legal action of some sort? Blocking wouldn't override parental rights or the right to find out if a kid was yours or not. It completely strains credulity that he would visit the house every Christmas for several years and that there was nothing else he could do to resolve the situation. Or even find out if the kid was his.

The personal assistant tech also seemed really daft. It didn't show that woman's assistant doing anything that couldn't be programmed into a machine. It was like a concept that Brooker couldn't actually think of a proper use for. I know it was mainly there for later plot purposes but it seemed a bit half-baked considering how long that middle segment lasts.

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I thought it was great, probably my favourite one so far. As good as The Entire History of You anyway.

I think the story was a little more than slightly influenced by David Marusek's excellent SF short The Wedding Album. It's free to read online, so decide for yourselves:

http://poliscifi.pbworks.com/f/Marusek_The+Wedding+Album.pdf

One of my favourite modern SF shorts that, well worth half an hour of anyone's time if some of the concepts of this Black Mirror tickled you at all.

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The personal assistant tech also seemed really daft. It didn't show that woman's assistant doing anything that couldn't be programmed into a machine. It was like a concept that Brooker couldn't actually think of a proper use for. I know it was mainly there for later plot purposes but it seemed a bit half-baked considering how long that middle segment lasts.

Agree with this - bit far to go for nice toast. I also expected the personal assistant storyline to revolve around the assistant trying to communicate with the original person by utilising the house controls or something but that's been done many times before.

I thought the first story was best, felt like something that we're not too far away from, which is when BM is at its best imo.

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Aye, I thought that too Cochese. As with others, felt that the second story was the weakest but did like the psychological torture aspect of simulating long periods of time. Just a shame that nothing much came from it within its own segment. Perhaps a full length episode could have worked for it, maybe taken the core idea and used it in a story that could be given room to grow. As it was, it did just feel like a set up for a plot point, unlike the more organic bookends.

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For me, the main unexplained element was the whole connectivity thing - the assumption being that everyone somehow has the ability at a core level (presumably as some sort of tech implant). Are we to assume that this is something added at birth(and also begs the question of why was the baby blocked if it wasn't his biological offspring)? What about homeless people? Would they have the ability to block etc.? How about if Don Draper were to travel to a less developed country, presumably he'd be able to see (and be seen) by anyone without the functionality?

I'm not goint to try to poke holes in it, as it was very enjoyable whatever weaknesses it might have, but it does raise questions if you start to scratch away at it.

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Thought this was brilliant, what a cold and believable future the story was set in too.

I wonder why this wasn't on closer to Christmas? Seems like the kind of thing they could have had on Christmas Eve, what with Channel 4 always trying to do their "Alternative Christmas" thing.

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For me, the main unexplained element was the whole connectivity thing - the assumption being that everyone somehow has the ability at a core level (presumably as some sort of tech implant). Are we to assume that this is something added at birth(and also begs the question of why was the baby blocked if it wasn't his biological offspring)? What about homeless people? Would they have the ability to block etc.? How about if Don Draper were to travel to a less developed country, presumably he'd be able to see (and be seen) by anyone without the functionality?

I'm not goint to try to poke holes in it, as it was very enjoyable whatever weaknesses it might have, but it does raise questions if you start to scratch away at it.

The baby was blocked because it was her biological offspring, not his. She blocked him, hence baby block.

What I didn't get is why the police picked him up and took out his cookie in the first place. I mean, he was just a tramp...although maybe they explained that and I missed it.

But like most SF, there are plenty of holes if you want to look for them, really.

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The personal assistant tech also seemed really daft. It didn't show that woman's assistant doing anything that couldn't be programmed into a machine.

The point was that it would know exactly how she liked everything without having to sit and program it all in in minute detail. It can actually be really difficult to describe something like how you like your toast. It would take ages to get all the settings for everything perfect.

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I loved it, but of course it works better conceptually than it would work in real life. All kinds of problems with Rafe Spall's story:

- Why didn't he contact his solicitor about visitation rights for his (presumed) child?

- Why didn't he contact his solicitor about his legal options to get the block removed?

- Isn't it very irregular for a spouse to leave and never initiate divorce proceedings? If only their solicitors talked to each other, it would all get worked out.

- Surely this scenario has happened before and there are laws for it, and people get on with their lives without becoming weirdos.

Additionally:

If this blocking technology really existed, I'm sure it would cause a huge amount of violence and murder. You can blur someone out of your vision, but they can still grab you or hit you. Imagine the average domestic -- in your frustration at being blocked, you might get a bit grabby and shovey... and in the frightened confusion of a blurred silhouette grabbing her, she might hit back. Then it's a physical fight. How is that good for anyone?

Then the concept of being blocked from everyone as punishment for a crime -- that would get you killed in a day, even without being a RED silhouette. Strangers would see you blocked and go, "Oi oi, what's this? A paedo or something? Let's kick his head in."

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Then the concept of being blocked from everyone as punishment for a crime -- that would get you killed in a day, even without being a RED silhouette. Strangers would see you blocked and go, "Oi oi, what's this? A paedo or something? Let's kick his head in."

Well, that depends on what you would get blocked like that for. If it was the equivalent of a Police caution for minor offences as inferrered, maybe people won't care.

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