The National Anthem
Premise: When a much-loved member of the British royal family is kidnapped, the kidnapper says she’ll be killed unless the Prime Minister (Rory Kinnear of Craig-era James Bond and Penny Dreadful) has sex on live TV, to completion, with a pig.
Wow this show got started in a weird place…
The Tech: There isn’t any, really. This one could basically be happening right now. Except Theresa May would need a strap-on.
The Moral: ………
Great. First entry and this already going wrong. The moral is… not clear. Is it about the fickle nature of public sentiment? I guess that’s our moral. Never underestimate the mob’s love of schadenfreude. A decent way to establish the theme of “Lack of empathy is the greatest threat,” I suppose, but still… yikes.
How are we doing with that? I’d like to say I wouldn’t watch Justin Trudeau be forced to fuck a pig on TV… I am the only person I know who didn’t watch the OJ trial… but I also said I wouldn’t watch season two of Iron Fist right away, and my resolve lasted four whole days.
Fifteen Million Merits
Premise: In a dystopic future, the bulk of humanity spends its days in a bunker pedalling stationary bikes to generate electricity and earn “merits,” the new currency. The only possible escape is to spend millions of merits on an audition for the leading talent show. And then it somehow gets darker. Featuring Oscar nominee, Black Panther support player, and Doctor Who guest star Daniel Kaluuya.
The Tech: Again, all of this tech, from electricity-generating bikes to motion-controlled TV, already exists. It’s just the bunker-dwelling dystopia that qualifies as sci-fi.
The Moral: Maybe don’t screw up the world so much that we have to live in giant bunkers, our only comfort temporary distractions from endless drudgery. Also maybe don’t make us spend money to skip ads in said distractions. Also, again, the general populous loves a train wreck.
How are we doing with that? Expect the first bunkers to open in ten years. Expect them to prioritize white, hetero, cis-gendered people.
The Entire History of You
Premise: In a future where our every memory is stored digitally in an in-brain computer, Liam (Toby Kebbell, Kong: Skull Island, Rocknrolla) uses the tech to pick apart the actions of his wife (Thirteenth Doctor Jodie Whittaker) around a handsome acquaintance at a party.
The best, and most emotionally gutting, episode of season one.
The Tech: “Grains,” which record every sight, sound, smell, and touch you experience, and can replay them for you or on a WiFi connected screen.
The Moral: Maybe the past should remain the past. Being able to pull up a recording of every moment of our lives isn’t doing us any favours.
How are we doing with that? Hey, remember that time James Gunn got fired from Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 because a Nazi-apologist rapist started a smear campaign based on decade-old tweets?
We could be doing better.
This is going well. Barely had to drink at all. Bet that holds. On to season two!