TV I Love – Black Mirror

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It’s on Netflix, and if you haven’t seen it yet, go! Go now and add it to your queue. Go on, I’ll wait.

Ok. Are you old enough to remember the series The Outer Limits? Or am I dating myself again? Black Mirror is very much like OL, in that each episode is self-contained. No continuity or regular characters, just one shattering episode after another.

Unlike other series on Netflix that I’ve binge-watched (Stranger Things, Daredevil) where I would power through 3, 4, or even 5 episodes in a sitting, I can really only take 2 episodes of Black Mirror. Because they’re that good, and that twisted. I study them because someday I want to be able to write like that.

They’re science fiction, but not in the Star Wars/Trek/Guardians of the Galaxy sense. The fiction part of the science is fully plausible by our current standards, it just hasn’t been done yet.

They’re dystopian, but not in a post-apocalyptic sense. Viewers will see themselves and current society in every episode. You’ll be fascinated and mortified at the same.

They are dark. They take our deepest fears, our worst urges, and petty foibles and push them the very limits.

They are twisted. In the “Wow, I never saw that coming” sense.

They hit you hard, from Episode One. But one episode in particular has stayed with me, and I just can’t quite shake the emotional reaction I had to it. It’s the second episode of the second season, called White Bear.

I won’t spoil it, I want you to watch it and feel all the feels.

Come back once you’ve seen it, and let me know what you think. Because when I got to the end of the episode, I found myself thinking – That looks like a really good, horrific idea. I wonder when that’ll happen?

The storm is coming in and I may be snowed in – guess what I’m going to watch!

 

TV I Love – Westworld

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Wondering what to watch in this long, cold stretch until Game of Thrones returns with the summer? I have one word for you.

Westworld.

I never saw the original movie with Yul Brynner, so I came to this with no expectations or preconceived notions. I knew the basic premise – robots in an amusement park of the future – but that’s about it.

I have been blown away.

The actors are all fantastic! The entire cast deserves high praise for their portrayals. Of course, Anthony Hopkins always delivers. Ed Harris is chilling, Thandie Newton is delightful, and the list goes on.

The writing is smart, and the story compelling. It raises questions about the fundamental nature of humanity. Sure, if you want, you can just watch the surface action – killers and robots in a mock Wild West. Or you can follow where the writers really want you to go, and examine concepts of consciousness and the meaning of life. Deep, right? I love it!

Westworld will draw you in and hold fast. Three episodes in and already I’m counting down to next Sunday. Watch this one. If you’re hungry for complex story lines, characters you’ll love (and love to hate), and a show that makes you think and feel, you don’t want to miss Westworld.

Check out the trailer. Don’t let the “mature” label scare you. If you’ve watched Game of Thrones you won’t see anything that’ll shock you.

Books I Loved – Magic Bites by Ilona Andrews

Ilona Andrews is the pen name of a husband-wife writing team. They have multiple series containing an impressively long list of titles. How am I only just finding out about them? Glad I did though.

Magic Bites is first in the Kate Daniels series. Set in Atlanta after a magical apocalypse, Kate Daniels is a bad-ass mercenary. I kinda love it when female leads are as tough as tougher than the men. In this first offering, Kate is set on the trail of the bad guys that murdered her mentor.

Fast-paced, with lots of action, Magic Bites reeled me in and demanded to be finished. It has what you’d expect in a paranormal thriller – magic, shapeshifters, vampires – but this writing duo gave this jaded paranormal reader vivid new takes on the standard themes. It hooked me hard and I am moving on to the following books.

Head on over to their website and find one for yourself.