What television show are you watching?


So after Channel Four passed on it, Netflix picked up Black Mirror for a third season. The third season is six episodes (up from three per season) and the episodes are 1 hour long instead of 45 minutes. The season finale is 90 minutes long like what we used to call “feature length” before Lord Of The Rings came out and taught Hollywood that the recipe for a good film isn’t good stories, it’s just making the damn thing longer.

I digress.

For anyone who knows what Black Mirror is, go watch the third season RIGHT NOW. For anyone who doesn’t know what Black Mirror is, go and watch all of it right now. I understand that some of the episodes can be a little Britain-centric since it’s a British show, but at the same time they’re some of the coldest and best television programmes of all time. Each programme has a different theme, so if you don’t like one that’s not a guarantee you’ll not like the others.

For anyone who has already watched the third season: JESUS FUCKING CHRIST IT WAS AWESOME, WASN’T IT! The evil layering of the story in the videogame episode was simply amazing! I especially loved the whiplash of the blackmail episode, and oh man that finale, guys, that finale!. I’ve not seen such an amazing combination of science fiction and sheer drama since… well… ever, really. It has most definitely topped my “most favourite television show episode” list. I’m keeping this total geek-out spoiler free because I want all of you who have not seen it to go see it now.

You may need to hack your Netflix into UK mode to get it, but if you can get it, watch it. WATCH IT.

Disclaimer: Black Mirror is futurism satire. It is black comedy. It is intended to disturb you at least to some degree. If you like comfort zones, then stop liking comfort zones and join the rest of us watching Black Mirror.


Westworld. I didn’t even realize HBO was part of what I subscribed to until a few months ago.

The question I had over the past few episodes was trying to figure out exactly how it related to the Westworld and Futureworld movies. It’s supposed to be a remake, but there’s hints here and there that tie into those movies, so I still don’t know if it directly follows the movies or not. If it does, then the Delos corporation has got a pretty good marketing department. “You know those two amusement parks we ran about 40 years ago that had problems? Well, we got 'em fixed and version 3.0 is better than ever! We’ve got it under control this time.”


6 episodes in and I’m still all in on this show - it hits all the right “geek” notes for me.

I think this version is separate from the previous movies. This version is so heavily influenced by sandbox type video games that I think those are most likely easter eggs instead. This past episode (#6) had the biggest one yet when Bernard enters sub-level 82 (hint: look at the walls).

I also recommend the Decrypted podcast by Annalee Newitz at ARS. The podcast last week featured our very own @Lee_Ars and was highly entertaining even though Lee sounded like he was stuck in “analysis mode”. :stuck_out_tongue:


I haven’t seen it yet, but I think it would be a bit disappointing if a production about a futuristic game ignored 40+ years of developments in gaming.

For example, I think the original Star Trek had (essentially) Space-Chess, Space-Poker, and maybe a couple other games. TNG and friends at least stretched this a bit with the idea of holodeck-based gaming/role-playing and similar. There was one episode with a ‘super tactician’ whom ahd to play Data that made me think of Starcraft style micromanaging but I don’t think the game was ever shown in any real detail.

You know that in a hundred years someone will still be playing some sort of game similar to today’s, but much more involved and immersive.

There’s also Ian M. Banks’ The Player of Games which considers the idea of a society where government positions are, essentially, given out based on who is the best at Civilization.


I think Westworld takes the concept of gaming to the highest level. The link below explains the how the showrunners were influenced by 3 particular video games without spoilers:

There’s an article in The Atlantic that explains the concept even better, but it is full of spoilers so proceed at your own caution:

I highly recommend Westworld. That being said, it’s very much a “mystery box” show (think LOST - one question answered leads to more questions), which isn’t everyone’s cup of tea.


Or much simpler.

Even with advanced 3D graphics and super fast computers people are still making and playing pixilated side scrollers. And board games.

The question is, does leisure time continue to increase? If it does, then they could be doing things that we don’t even recognize as games (I’m already seeing work VR simulators), if it doesn’t then it could be very recognizable but farther along the development path (3d chess is still chess), and if the trend reverses, then they’ll seem simplistic but complex, like chess or checkers, easy to teach.


I’m beginning to think that Arnold was/is Robert Ford’s brother.


I’ll watch episode 6 again and see if I can spot what you’re talking about. It may be different than the hint I was thinking of, but I can’t remember now if it was during Bernard’s trip down there or when that woman from the Behavior group was off doing her own investigation. It was something that was only visible for about a second in the background, but it was a very specific call-back to the movies.


I saw the [REDACTED] hanging on the wall. It was when Bernard entered sub-level 82.

Just seeing Ford’s robotic family and him having a brother gave me the idea.


“What door?” - Bernard

Well played, Westworld, well played.


The reveal was well done, but I was really, really hoping the show wouldn’t do the “WHO’S A CYLON” thing. It cheapens the narrative and falls back on weak, dumb tropes. I’d very much hoped the writers had their fun with Teddy’s reveal at the beginning of Ep1—which was great—and that we’d move on and have a show that explores the complexities of the soul without making it a dumb “who’s the robot this week” hunt.

My hopes are dashed. My new hope is that the show remains good without getting any cheaper.

(If the “two timelines” bullshit theory turns out to be real, I’m going to be extremely disappointed, because that’s even cheaper and dumber than spot-the-robot. If the even stupider William == The Man in Black but 30 years ago theory turns out true, that’ll be enough to make me quit the show altogether.


I’ll have to figure out the spoiler tags around here. :wink:

I understand your point, Lee. I was thrilled that I happened to be paying attention at the time and knew what had happened as soon as he said that. I was only speaking to the actual reveal (and the entire scene - also well done). I don’t feel that cheapens the narrative as much as you do as long as Nolan and Joy don’t fall into the trap you mentioned. There’s a good opportunity to explore Bernard’s soul here (or if he even has one) and I hope that’s where they’re going with this.

As far as the other far more popular theory you mention, I really hope it’s just Nolan and Joy trolling the fans here. However, I doubt that it would get me to quit the show entirely as this show has hit all the right geeky notes for me. We’ll see…


Who’s the third man in the picture? #westworld


I saw some television today. It was weird. I’d forgotten how awful commercials were and how much I love being able to hack them off even from HTML5 YouTube…


I’d like to see more of SamuraiWorld, please.


I finally started watching The Flash. I’ve been watching Supergirl as it comes out, and with the crossovers, I got interested enough to start watching it. I’m thinking about Arrow, but I can’t get the description “Douche-bag frat-boy Batman” out of my head from when it started. I know it’s supposed to be really good, but…

The other show I’m watching right now is Descendants of the Sun.


The “Blue Planet” series on the Discovery channel.

Reminds me of the Jacques Cousteau specials from the 1970’s
I was always fascinated by Jacques and his son Philippe and the amazing underwater
footage they were able to produce.


The immense Blue Whale descends into the abyss… “deep-air, deep-air and deep-air steel”

(That’s my French accent :wink: )


It’s still very much that minus the douche-bag-frat boy part. They have matured the character a lot since season 1 and they are almost done with the flashbacks. Still lots of brooding though. I’d suggest watching it if nothing else because of the crossovers. It helps to keep up on what’s going on in the other shows but it’s not required really. But Felicity is awesome.


I watched the Pilot/first episode for the new incarnation of The Tick yesterday.

It’s interesting. Almost like they’re going with the concept that the Big Blue Guy could be a hallucination of Arthur, an invincible alter-ego urging him on. Like Fight Club, but with more superheros and less sex.

I think this is just a way of showing they’re going a new direction (unlike the previous live-action show, they have an effects budget!) and we’ll see The Tick vs. normal people, but in this one he pretty much only encounters Arthur and people who die shortly thereafter, or are otherwise unreliable witnesses.

This is a show about Arthur, who has this very weird friend, not a show about The Tick.

I’m curious to see more sometime next year.


I watched the first episode of BoJack Horseman last night. I don’t know if it was because I had a splitting headache, the fact that I had the volume low enough that I had to read the captions, or what, but…if I don’t see it getting better after 3-4 more episodes I’m giving up.