I will be looking at Season 1 Episode 2 of Black Mirror(2011). I chose this show as each episode has an individual story and I thought that the message would have to be established even quicker in this than an average TV show.
From the opening shot it’s clear that this is not set in the present day. The room that Bing is asleep in is covered in black walls with no windows or light coming in except artificial light. The technology used is meant to represent the “near future” as things like hand movements in the air to control things are things that are currently in development but not yet fully utilised like they are in this.
It’s clear that Bing is not happy in his current situation, and when we are introduced into other people everybody looks unhappy except one character who seems to find a show about shaming fat people is particularly funny. Another sign that something has happened in the world that we are yet unaware of is that a show in which fat people are sprayed with water and forced to eat food would never be produced for general viewing today.
The reason why people are forced to ride the bikes is never fully explained, but it’s clear that there is some sort of energy crisis and humans are being used to harvest energy to power the world. It seems farfetched, but not impossible to ever happen to us and that makes the story more compelling.
There are small clues to what happened in the outside world throughout the opening of this episode. Small comments about apples being made in Petri dishes give clues about what kind of event happened in the outside world to cause all of this to happen.
The show “Hot Shots” seems to have some significance, as it seems to be setup a few times and from the interview with a winner of the talent show, it looks as if being on the show can get you out of cycling and the place where they live.
I think that the target audience for this show is more of an interest in sci-fi and dystopia than a specific age range, as age doesn’t factor into the story too much. The only characters aged over about 25 are the judges on “Hot Shots” because the cycling seems very physically demanding and most likely older people can’t meet that demand and so cannot do that job.
The part of the show about advertisements reminds me of ads on phone apps in which you have to wait a period of time or pay to get rid of them. I think potentially Charlie Brooker took influence from this.