Millions of fans will flock to Netflix this weekend to binge on the third season of Black Mirror, a psychological thriller that probes the unhealthy depths of mass media and technology obsession. It's often compared to The Twilight Zone, a series so legendary that, until recently, it had its own Disneyland attraction.
Wait—had? Yes. The internet has been melting over recently announced plans to replace Disneyland's Twilight Zone Tower of Terror, which opened in 2004, with a similar ride based on a more "contemporary" franchise, Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy.
So, in anticipation of Tower of Terror's demise and to celebrate the enduring appeal of The Twilight Zone, we've taken the liberty of proposing four Disneyland attractions based on the most contemporary franchise we can think of: Black Mirror.
Inspirational Episode: "Fifteen Million Merits"
The Gist: Set in a claustrophobic future fueled by workers pedaling away on stationary bikes, a man uses his inheritance to help a beautiful co-worker earn an appearance on Hot Shots, a nationally televised talent show.
Theme Park Attraction: Hot Shots: Live! is an ecologically sustainable talent show in which contestants relentlessly pedal in the heat for a chance to compete in an evening talent show hosted by Disney CEO Bob Iger, Selena Gomez, and, for some reason, Michael Bublé. Talent show losers are conscripted into non-equity roles on the Disney Channel's affiliate network in Latvia.
Inspirational Episode: "The Entire History of You"
The Gist: Grains embedded behind the ear record each memory and allow them to be replayed on demand, leading people to "re-do" the best (and worst) moments from the past. This proves to be a major buzzkill for one man, who suspects his wife has been less than forthcoming about her history with a mysterious dinner party guest.
Theme Park Attraction: Re-Do Emotional Water Canyon is a postmodern reboot of Splash Mountain. Riders are equipped with augmented reality glasses that project the features of ex-lovers onto animatronic figures, which are algorithmically programmed to portray scenes of disappointment and betrayal that grow increasingly traumatic with each return visit. The ride ends with a harrowing plunge into a pool of cold water—and then you go again.
Inspirational Episode: "Be Right Back"
The Gist: A grief-stricken widow enlists the services of a tech start-up to communicate with a digital avatar of her deceased husband; things get weird when he comes to life in the form of an experimental synthetic body.
Theme Park Attraction: Technologically Haunted Mansion casts a pall of existential gloom over Disney's celebrated antebellum manor, replacing the ride's 999 Happy Haunts with an anatomically correct but emotionally shallow male robot who increasingly annoys guests with his superficial attempts at intimacy.
Inspirational Episode: "White Bear"
The Gist: A woman wakes up in a strange village with no memory of her former life; she is pursued by violent predators hiding among hordes of voyeuristic bystanders.
Theme Park Attraction: Nightmares Come True! is a Disney parade unlike any other, designed to simulate the terror of being stalked by masked characters while throngs of gawking idiots record the spectacle on their cell phones. (Come to think of it, this sounds like every other Disney parade.)
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