Bleats

San Junipero, Black Mirror's Most Iconic Episode, Wasn't Always A Queer Love Story

But aren't you so glad it was?

In the sea of pixelly bleakness and existential horror on levels you’d never thought to contemplate that is Black Mirror, the near-unequivocal fan favourite is the season 3 episode ‘San Junipero’.

Shy Yorkie (Mackenzie Davis) and outgoing Kelly (Gugu Mbatha-Raw) fall in love in a small town in the 80s, there’s a bit of heartbreak and a bit of Belinda Carlisle and technology isn’t the villain for a change. Go and watch it on Netflix right now if you haven’t already – or just save it for when you really need something purely lovely to watch.

One of the best things about the episode is that the queerness of the love story is an element of it, but not the entire point. A near-identical and very touching story could easily have been told with a heterosexual couple – and it nearly was.

A new book about the making of Black Mirror includes writers Charlie Brooker and Annabel Jones talking about the origins of the Emmy-winning episode.

“We couldn’t do this now because of Westworld, but we had the idea of a theme park you went to that was essentially Heaven. All your dead relatives and friends would be there, and you’d pay to go and visit them. So that thought stayed around for a while — this notion of Heaven that you go to as a holiday,” explains Brooker.

“Back then, our characters were a man and a woman. The big twist was one of them was in a coma or dying. That was where it ended.”

“Once you start exploring the world, and the capabilities it offers up, you wonder what else that world might give someone that they may not have had before,” explains Jones.

“Then came that idea of having a life unfulfilled, because you’ve been in a coma for 40 years, and going back to a time when maybe you couldn’t have been as sexually free as you could today.”

Brooker goes on:

“At some point, the thought arrived of making this a same-sex couple. Rather than that feeling like a gimmick, it became both relevant and irrelevant to the story. It informed a whole other layer because these people couldn’t have got married as two women in 1987.”

That simple choice – and the duality of it mattering, and not mattering – made the episode iconic, as well as quietly revolutionary in a time when queer love stories are still treated as a niche interest.

Neon Genesis Evangelion Is Coming To Netflix In 2019, And Yes, That Means Netflix Australia Too

"This is your home now, so make yourself comfortable."

This is not a drill: arguably the greatest anime of all time, Neon Genesis Evangelion, is coming to Netflix in the first half of 2019.

@NX, Netflix’s genre-focused Twitter account, made the announcement today.

Considered one of the greatest anime series ever due to the unconventional way it handled the giant mecha genre, with a deeply human, existential slant, Neon Genesis Evangelion is one of those things you just have to see for yourself. As in the above promo, “ONE OF THE MOST BELOVED INFLUENTIAL CRITICALLY ACCLAIMED ANIME OF ALL TIME” in all caps just about covers it.

At first a couple of fans outside North America were cautious in their enthusiasm, thrown off by the “Spring 2019” bit – we’ve been burned before by hemispherism.

But no: this is for real, for everyone.

Start sussing out which of your friends has somehow not seen it, and plan your binge snacks now.

Sorry, But Kurt Russell In Netflix's The Christmas Chronicles Might Make You Hot For Santa

Putting the “Daddy” in Father Christmas.

There’s a weird little subset of Christmas pop culture where Santa isn’t quite the jolly, sexless, avuncular/grandfatherly figure we learn about as children in the capitalist holiday machine.

‘Santa Baby’. ‘I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus’. The indelible sound of Lorelai Gilmore getting down with Billy Bob Thornton in a mall parking lot.

Now, there’s Kurt Russell as Santa in The Christmas Chronicles, a new Netflix movie that’s in all other ways as generic as a bulk-bought candy cane: two adorable ratbags want Santa to make their widowed mom happy again, so they wait up for him on Christmas Eve. Hijinks ensue. (Come on, you’re not watching Netflix’s festive offerings for the plots, are you?)

But there’s one big difference here: Kurt Russell is hot.

This Santa is one that reviewers are comfortable referring to as “magnetic“, “roguish” and “a DILF” (although surely it should be FCILF? SCILF?) and we’re not gonna lie: we get it.

That famous Snake Plissken squint twinkles above a truly glorious, definitely not glued-on beard – the kind of beard you want to curl up in like a house cat. He’s just a little vain, enough to resent the cuddlier image of him on billboards – so you know he wants to look good for Mrs Claus. The gravelly voice says he’d probably prefer a good, peaty scotch to cookies and milk.

This Santa isn’t the sanitised Coca-Cola billboard version. This Santa knows the world. This Santa knows how to show Mrs Claus a good time.

Yes, Russell is 67. But he’s aging better than Harrison Ford and Robert Redford put together. If you still fancied Russell as Chris Pratt’s interplanetary absent father in Guardians Of The Galaxy – and who among us wouldn’t have fallen for a galactic-scale f**kboi who’s ghosted lifeforms in infinite nebulas? – then it’s not that much of a stretch to find yourself wondering what you have to do to get on the Naughty list.

I’m just gonna leave this here.

I guess we’ll all find out when The Christmas Chronicles drops on Netflix on November 22.

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