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Black Mirror: Bandersnatch takes you to PC gaming’s mid-1980s heyday

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Black Mirror’s first full-length movie is Bandersnatch, a period piece set in the middle-1980s wheelhouse of Europop music, new-wave hair, and PC video gaming. For any over-the-hill Gen Xer looking for a trip down the rabbit hole, this should be a real treat.

Bandersnatch’s premise: A programmer is tasked with adapting a brick-thick fantasy paperback into a computer game. This causes him to question reality, existence or his own sanity, or some combination of the three. It’s worth noting that Charlie Brooker, the show’s creator, was a contributing writer to PC Zone magazine in the 1990s. So this choice of topic and time period (Brooker is 47) seems at least somewhat personal.

Black Mirror’s twisted, Twilight Zone-like approach has made it one of the most striking commentaries on pop culture in this decade. A year ago, its fourth series premiered with another episode in which a video game was adapting a larger work of popular entertainment. USS Callister, a smartly presented homage to Star Trek, centered on the troubling obsessions and excesses of fan culture.

Black Mirror: Bandersnatch is available to Netflix subscribers beginning tomorrow, Dec. 28.

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