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Black Mirror Had ‘Predicted’ What Actuality TV Audiences Would Look Like in Covid-19 Pandemic

Image Credits: Kapil Sharma/Instagram/Netflix/Black Mirror.

We’d like to give Black Mirror’s creators Fifteen Million Merits for this prediction.
Last Updated: September 10, 2020, 12:42 PM IST


In the second ever episode of sci-fi-horror television show, Black Mirror, a contestant sings in-front of judges, mirroring reality shows of our world.

Three judges sit before a buzzer, listening to your song… but this isn’t Britian’s Got Talent.

The episode stood out for its dystopian reality, people confined to their rooms ‘watching’ the world outside, and living a monotonous life. The reality show too, had digital members of the audience present in the seating-area, replacing real humans.

While the episode seemed dystopian in 2011 when it released, almost 9 years later in 2020, this has become our reality.

As we enter the tenth month of the global Covid-19 pandemic, we’ve slowly adapted to the “new normal.” We wash our hands for twenty seconds with soap and water, use hand sanitizer often, wear masks, maintain social distancing, and rarely step out of the house.

Our reality show content has also changed – audiences are now either replaced by digital clones or paper cut-outs.

Very eerily dystopian, and very similar to Black Mirror’s episode, Fifteen Million Merits.

Too eerily similar to our current reality? It is.

As filming for reality shows and television has resumed, the new normal means the number of live studio audience drastically reduces – and it was apparent in one of India’s most popular shows, The Kapil Sharma Show.

Posted on Instagram by Kapil Sharma, the photo showed audience behind Archana Puran Singh – but most of them looked like cut-outs.

While everyone delved into a guessing game, the correct answer, Kapil Sharma revealed, was nine.

Every other ‘person’ in the photo was a cardboard cut-out of the audience.

Britian’s Got Talent, which returned recently, also had a full studio of digital audiences.

Black Mirror is known for its kooky, quirky and sometimes very dark nuances – mixing reality with scifi, and combining the two to create an unsettling experience. Watching a Black Mirror episode one is likely to think, ‘Hey, This could be real. This could happen.’

And for some watching it during the pandemic and finding similarities, this may just be the start.

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