This week on TVEnthusiast’s The Weekly Set, Kat, Edward, Will, and Tyson challenge each other, and you, to try out some new shows. Each writer has become an advocate for a series. Next week we will return to discuss each show that was represented. Feel free to join in the discussion.
Tyson: This week we will each advocate a show. We will discuss what we each know about the series that are brought up, and then, before next week, we will all watch at least 1 episode of each represented show and discuss our experiences. This will be similar to what we did with our Show Club series, though on a smaller scale.
Tyson: The shows should be as accessible as possible. Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, or another readily available means.
Tyson: So should I start us off?
Tyson: Okay then, my pick is Black Mirror, which just came to Netflix last week.
Kat: Oh yeah.
Will: Okay yeah.
Tyson: Have any of you seen or heard of Black Mirror?
Edward: Heard of it. Never seen it.
Will: Heard of it.
Tyson: Okay then, Black Mirror is an episodic anthology from the UK. It is, essentially, a modern Twilight Zone.
Will: Yes, one of my favorite genres.
Edward: With technology.
Tyson: Yes, Black Mirror is about the side effects of technology, as in what effect it could have on us as a society and culture.
Kat: Sounds like a nice Sci Fi premise.
Edward: I dig anything with a premise that raises concerns about technology.
Tyson: The series was created by Charlie Brooker, who isn’t extremely well known outside of the UK, but he has produced a bunch of great content for his countrymen. Brooker has a bunch of shows with interesting premises, though I can only think of 1 that has come across the pond besides Black Mirror. That was Dead Set which was a zombie apocalypse story set in the Big Brother reality show house. Dead Set aired on IFC several years ago. Black Mirror is his finest accomplishment, in my opinion.
Edward: I loved Dead Set. What a great show err mini series.
Tyson: Black Mirror is technically listed as a comedy.
Edward: I find most of the British dramas i have seen to have a lot of humour so that wouldn’t detract me.
Tyson: But it is done as such because it is a dark satire, and satire is considered a form of comedy.
Will: Ah, okay.
Tyson: Each episode addresses current trends in technology and asks “What could this look like in a few years?” Most of the episodes are near future, or even modern. I would recommend that anybody who is interested in the series not look up the basic premise of the individual episodes.
Will: Oh that’s cool.
Edward: Interesting premise though for sure.
Tyson: The episode I recommend, since they don’t have to be watched in any specific order, is called 15 Million Merits, the second episode of the first season.
Kat: How long of a run did Black Mirror have? British seasons tend to be so short compared to American.
Tyson: It is 2 seasons, 6 episodes total.
Kat: It’s on Netflix, right?
Tyson: Yes, Netflix. There is also a 90 minute Christmas special that is airing this Christmas on Channel 4 in the UK and on Direct TV in the States.
Kat: Of course there is.
Will: There’s always a Christmas special. (Laughs)
Tyson: The UK LOVES their Christmas specials.
Will: Yes they do.
Tyson: So any questions about Black Mirror?
Edward: Is it a full 60 minutes each episode?
Tyson: Most episodes are around 45 minutes, though the episode I am recommending is a full 60 minutes.
Edward: Thanks man.
Kat: Do we need any kind of context to understand the episode going in? Characters? Plotlines?
Tyson: Nope, each episode is a self contained story, there are references to aspects of modern technology and culture, but I can’t go into it without spoiling.
Will: I’m intrigued enough and want to go in with as little knowledge as possible.
Edward: I’m down. You recommending it is enough. Ok. Shall I go next?
Will: Yeah Ed.
Edward: Ok. Well my show is The IT Crowd. And I’m pretty sure Tyson has seen that too. (Laughs)
Tyson: I actually haven’t seen The IT Crowd.
Will: Me neither, though I’m well aware of it.
Edward: Oh, then that will be the show I will champion.
Tyson: The IT Crowd is a show I simply never got around to, but always wanted to.
Kat: Heard of it, but haven’t seen it.
Tyson: Okay, that works great then.
Tyson: Can you tell us a bit about the show?
Edward: It’s unbelievably funny. 4 seasons and I believe 6 episodes each season, 20 minutes.
Edward: Yes. It should be on Netflix. That is where i watched it.
Will: Who’s the talent behind the show?
Edward: Chris O Dowd, who is starting to get more popular here.
Will: Can’t say I know who that is.
Tyson: Oh, he was the lead on HBO’s Family Tree, right?
Edward: He played the love interest in Bridesmaids and was in Thor: The Dark World.
Tyson: That’s right, he was Natalie Portman’s date in Thor 2.
Will: Okay, that guy. (laughs)
Kat: Yeah, I remember him from Thor.
Edward: He got popular from this show. Also, Richard Ayoade. He’s extremely funny. His American break was in that Ben Stiller movie The Watch.
Tyson: He is a very charming and funny Irish fellow. I didn’t know he was involved in The IT Crowd. I knew of the other guy, the one in that neighborhood watch movie.
Edward: Basically, think The Office with IT people, and way funnier.
Tyson: So it has the same structure? single camera, confessionals, faux documentary?
Edward: Nope, it’s done in a traditional sitcom format but it takes place in an office and hits similar notes. Ie: quirky weird boss, mundane boredom.
Will: I know Richard Ayode from Garth Marenghi’s Darkplace.
Tyson: Darkplace is hilarious.
Will: OMG YES!
Edward: I haven’t seen Darkplace. Should check that out.
Kat: Is it British or American?
Edward: It’s British.
Tyson: So this sounds like a good binge series, a lot of British comedies are addictive and quick.
Edward: There was an American remake but it sucked.
Will: Most American remakes suck.
Tyson: Yeah the remake lasted all of a minute I think. (Laughs) I am so glad they dropped the Spaced remake. Sometimes remakes work, but usually they don’t, especially when the original series is decidedly of its original culture.
Will: I saw the leaked pilot of that and wanted to hurl.
Tyson: For Spaced or The IT Crowd?
Tyson: I can’t even imagine. Skins and The Inbetweeners were horrid, and they are doing a remake of My Mad Fat Diary now, or for american audiences, My Mad May Be More Than 63lbs Diary.
Kat: So what episode are you recommending?
Tyson: Is their a specific episode you want us to watch?
Edward: The premiere episode is really good, but my favourite episode is called The Work Outing. First episode of the second season.
Tyson: I might just binge the whole show.
Edward: You could literally binge watch it in a day.
Will: I might do that too (Laughs).
Kat: How many seasons did you say? 4?
Kat: Man, British shows are so short.
Will: Yes, they are.
Edward: I like shorter seasons. Less filler.
Tyson: Which episode is your pick.
Edward: I would go with The Work Outing, because it’s my favourite. You don’t have to watch the show in order.
Tyson: Okay then, so far that is Black Mirror Episode 2 15 million Merits, and The IT Crowd Season 2 Episode 1, The Work Outing.
Edward: Sounds good.
Will: good good.
Continue to the next page for Friday Night Lights and Dead like Me.
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