By Dan Clendenin

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San Junipero (2016)

“San Junipero” (61 minutes) is the beach town setting for episode 4 in season 3 of the British television series called Black Mirror that debuted in 2011, and that was later made available on Netflix. This episode features the unfolding relationship between two very different young girls who meet at a night club. Yorkie is shy, the epitome of dowdy, and has never laid foot on a dance floor. The extroverted Kelly is black, bi-sexual, and by her own description “bodacious.” But this being Black Mirror, there are far more weighty matters to consider than booze fests at nightclubs like The Quagmire (aptly named) — namely, life, love, aging and death, all of which are given due consideration with the help of time travel between past, present, and future. “Do you really want to spend eternity in a place, however gorgeous, where nothing matters?” asks Kelly.

“If technology is a drug,” explains the creator of Black Mirror Charlie Brooker, “and it does feel like a drug — then what, precisely, are the side effects? This area — between delight and discomfort — is where Black Mirror is set. The ‘black mirror’ of the title is the one you’ll find on every wall, on every desk, in the palm of every hand: the cold, shiny screen of a TV, a monitor, a smartphone.” The fictional satires have drawn comparisons to The Twilight Zone, with their ominous explorations of our “techno-paranoia.” To date there have been 13 episodes, each of which is about 45 to 90 minutes long.

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