One of Black Mirror's best talents is taking real-world situations to the next level. You rate Uber drivers, what if you could rate everyone in your life? Talent shows are hugely popular, but what if they could dictate your life? What many don't know is Charlie Brooker, the creator of Black Mirror, has been doing this for years. Before he gained international renown, he made a zombie show unlike any other. It's remake recently premiered on Netflix, and now's the perfect time to watch it.
Dead Set was a 2008 mini-series that asked that question all of us have had at one point or another: what if the zombie apocalypse happened but you were trapped in a reality show? In the UK in 2009, Big Brother was a huge deal, and so it proved the perfect setting for a zombie show ripped straight from the current time.
Of course, because it's a Brooker, it's not your typical zombie story. There's romance, intrigue, and, because it's based within reality show, plenty of personal drama. Over the course of the show, the contestants, or at least the ones who survive, realize their life of seclusion is no longer a competition between themselves but a competition between them and the oncoming horde of the undead.
The show's streaming on Netflix, with only five 45 minute-long episodes, so it's a quick binge, but fear not: the remake, Reality Z, arrived on Netflix only last week, and amps up the action by several steps.
Reality Z is a Brazilian show focused around the fictional show Olympus, which is basically Big Brother, but the contestants dress as Greek gods, which already adds a layer of theatricality. Reality Z is also 10 episodes long, and goes far further than Dead Set ever could.
The exterior of Reality Z may seem shiny and frivolous, but it takes on some heavy topics, from politics to rape to trans issues. It stretches itself thin in this way, but Brooker's signature quick wit and knack for telling human stories in unhuman settings still shines through.
Both these series make great weekend binges, and in today's day and age, and in an age where Big Brother candidates are literally learning about pandemics from inside the house, there's no better time than now to see the true survival power of staying indoors, whether you're on a reality show, or watching them.