Marta Komar's Reviews > Czarne lustro. Po drugiej stronie

Czarne lustro. Po drugiej stronie by Charlie Brooker
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it was amazing
bookshelves: inne

It’s hard to believe that the first episodes of Black Mirror were released ten years ago. I was still studying then, Facebook just started to climb to the peak of popularity, and Instagram was just a beginner… It’s hard to recall what I was doing to kill free time because there weren’t so many social media then. I didn’t read as much as now. Maybe I was focused on analogue life? I don’t know, I can’t remember. And that's when Charlie Brooker and Annabel Jones were starting to create their futuristic, fascinating and dystopian ideas about changes and social dilemmas, that could be caused by advanced technology. That was the time when they began to see in the future of the world and think about what could probably happen. They were quite successful at this because some scenarios are (unfortunately) fulfilling now.

I truly love their visions and the way they are talking about it, so after the first glance at this book, I knew that it’s a must-have for me and I really want to read it. It’s just because I really miss their twisted imaginations. The premiere of the very recent episode, Bandersnatch, was over two years ago, so in this situation, the book with reviews with the authors seemed to be a great idea. I hoped that inside of it I’ll find a short reminder of every episode and I wasn’t disappointed. The only one little sad thing is related to the fact that the book ends in the fourth season, so there weren't any texts about the last four episodes. But it’s just nothing because there is still a lot of information about previous parts, and it’s a load of goodies!

Important ideas

This book doesn’t have a plot. It’s just the set of the interviews with Charlie Brooker, his right hand Annabel Jones and the rest of the series authors and actors from every episode. It’s kind of a crowd because every part it’s the almost separate staff and the original story.

In these interviews Brooker and Jones tell us about the backstage of the series: the beginning with Channel 4 and why this cooperation needed to end and they started filming with Netflix. They often talk about their limited budget because of which they needed to be very flexible to make ends meet. They claim that they were lucky to have great actors. But it’s a part of a true only, because the series is simply great so everyone wanted to work on it.

And the series is great because it’s about technology but also about the people. The technology was only the catalyst for showing general problems, dilemmas and emotions: fear, helplessness, inertia, good intentions, bad intentions, jealousy, uncertainty, hate, betrayal, failure and many many more. Every episode is a volcano of emotions.

There are also many technical things here about shot actions and details that are doing the job. For example they explain how they designed graphic projects for buildings and places, or usability and the user interface of gadgets that were used by the characters. Authors did the best to use all the reasons why we are in love with technological toys, we want to have them and use them. They made an effort to show all details.

They were also experimenting with the music and incorporated into it the particular sounds like this signature sound for new messages or this specific sound for interference in your headphones caused by the mobile call. I haven’t noticed most of it at all while watching the series for the first time. I need to watch it again!

The genius of the chaos

Brooker and Jones talk a lot also about the coordination of the work, that wasn’t, to say the least, very well-organized. It happened sometimes that the ending of the episode was changed while filming or even the work on the scenes started without a full scenario. So now, when I know, from what chaos the series was created, a lot more I appreciate the eventual effect. Especially that the authors told many times that they couldn’t afford this and that. Despite dollars from Netflix, their budgets were still limited.

So, how to make a movie and create interesting characters and plots to attract people? This book is all about it. It’s interesting too that Brooker shows himself as a total pessimist, who always is thinking that his success was partly gained by chance. But Jones has the opposite attitude, she moderates his rough behavior.

All the stories from Brooke and Jones show that every moment in our life, every experience, even the smallest and dumbest, could inspire new, great ideas. For example, it could be the device from Legoland, that for an additional fee is telling you where there aren’t queues to amusements or device from the toilet where you can tell how pleased you are (because the toilet was clean or wasn’t clean enough), that inspired Brooker to create a user interface for the teddy bear from the Black Museum episode.

Some drawbacks

One of the very few things that were interfering in this book that was this sweet, exaggerated tone - puff pieces from each other. I didn’t know also that they were sitting together or those are separate interviews, and only Brooker and Jones are in the same place and comment on others. It’s hard to say because sometimes their parts are ragged and sometimes smooth. Maybe it’s because of my Polish translation? I regret a bit that I haven’t read the English version, but it doesn’t matter, to be frank, because this book is still full of interesting information and it has also summaries all episodes, and this was the most important for me.

And there is something more in this book that I really appreciate - indexes. In the Black Mirror Behind the scene, there are two indexes - alphabetical index of inspirations and the list of the names, so you can check where the authors say about budgets for example. WOW. Great work. Great series. Great people. They have totally f*cked minds. I love it.
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Reading Progress

Started Reading
November 17, 2020 – Shelved
November 17, 2020 – Shelved as: inne
November 17, 2020 – Finished Reading

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