Black Mirror Uses Star Trek Tropes to Critique Male Nerd Fantasies

Black Mirror "USS Callister" television review Star Trek homage tropes critique male nerd fantasies

The worst part about Black Mirror’s Star Trek homage “USS Callister” is that for ten minutes, I felt sorry for Robert Daly (Jesse Plemons). Despite being CTO of a major company making the best in immersive space adventures through the game Infinity, he is nonetheless recognized as neither a leader nor any sort of admirable man. Softspoken, awkward, downtrodden, he inspires no small measure of pity, and enough sympathy that we viewers don’t begrudge him his forays into simulated space. Plugged into a VR experience hearkening back to his beloved science fiction series Space Fleet, he is Captain Daly, a Kirk lookalike in charm and talk: suave, brilliant, courageous, beloved, victorious. In a complete 180 from how he’s treated in real life, he gets to live out his fantasies of being a hero. What’s the harm in that?

Spoilers for Black Mirror’s “USS Callister.”

Daly’s existence ...

Black Mirror "USS Callister" television review Star Trek homage tropes critique male nerd fantasies
Black Mirror "USS Callister" television review Star Trek homage tropes critique male nerd fantasies
Black Mirror "USS Callister" television review Star Trek homage tropes critique male nerd fantasies
Black Mirror "USS Callister" television review Star Trek homage tropes critique male nerd fantasies
Black Mirror "USS Callister" television review Star Trek homage tropes critique male nerd fantasies
Black Mirror "USS Callister" television review Star Trek homage tropes critique male nerd fantasies
Black Mirror "USS Callister" television review Star Trek homage tropes critique male nerd fantasies Cristin Milioti