If you’re a fan of sci fi and you’ve finished all of Black Mirror, this one’s for you. This week, I’m recommending SF8.
SF8 is an 8-part anthology series focused on the idea of a “perfect” society, with ideas centered around AI, technology, virtual reality and tackling various subgenres like fantasy, horror, comedy, and romance. It finished airing on October 9th, 2020.
The effort of 8 different directors, SF8 has a diversity and variety to it that makes it very refreshing and exciting to watch. Each episode is a completely different story handled in a completely different style, it tackles different ideas and beliefs and delivers very interesting morals and messages. From society being stuck listening to the predictions of a fortune telling app to the qualms of leaving the comfy world of VR dating and live in reality, this series has a lil’ something for anyone’s preferences, and tackles familiar ideas in a fresh way.
I personally enjoyed Joan’s Galaxy (episode 3) and White Crow (episode 6) the most, despite being vastly different. Joan’s Galaxy, if I were to draw a parallel, is a softer version of the much acclaimed San Junipero, but despite its gentler approach to queer romance and the idea of life and death, it’s just as bittersweet and has just as much power to tug on your heartstrings. Tears have been shed at this episode, I’m not afraid to admit. Kim Bora and Choi Sung Eun are fantastic, their chemistry heart fluttering, achieving a beautiful, innocent, profound love story.
White Crow is one of my favorites mainly because of its twist. If I think about it, it’s not even really a twist, because the entire story builds up to the final moment expertly and suggests what the final course of action is going to be from the get-go, but there’s still that slight hope that things could change and be different. I found the idea of essentially entering a VR game physically, and one tailored to your deepest trauma at that, to be really intriguing, and despite the horror that follows, part of me felt excited at the prospect of ever being able to do it as well. EXID’s Hani plays the protagonist perfectly and brings a certain charm and spark to an otherwise dark character.
The visuals of this show are out of this world, and you can tell there was much effort and love put into its creation. For its entire duration, you’ll be absorbed into these other worlds, just as ours but elevated, bleaker, richer, more exciting.
I’ll leave you with the episode summaries now, and perhaps at least one of them will catch your eye and you’ll decide to watch. Take it from me, you won’t regret it.
Episode 1 – The Prayer
A humanoid robot nurse (Lee Yoo Young) is created to care for a mother, who’s been in a coma for 10 years, and her depressed daughter. The daughter deals with severe financial and emotional issues due to her mother’s hospitalization and decides to kill herself, prompting her nurse to make an impossible decision: which woman should she save?
Episode 2 – Manxin
Manxin is a fortune telling app with a 96.3% accuracy rate. People begin to shape their entire life around the decisions the app makes for them, essentially treating it like their new religion. Sun Ho (Lee Yeon Hee) believes the app to be responsible for a tragic accident and sets out to find its developer.
Episode 3 – Joan’s Galaxy
In 2046, a thick layer of fine dust now exists in the Earth's atmosphere. People that are born are divided between C's (Clean) and N's (Non-Clean). C's are given an expensive vaccine at birth and have a life expectancy of a 100 years. N's are not given the vaccine. They can only live up to 30 years.
Yio is an university student who thought she was a C, but she learns that the hospital made a mistake and caused her to not get the antibody injection when she was born. She is an N. She begins a friendship with the only other N at her university: Joan.
Episode 4 – Blink
When Ji-Woo (Lee Si-Young) was little, her parents died in an accident involving their self driving car. Now, Ji-Woo is a detective. She trusts her own sense and abilities over the judgement of AI. She doesn't like that she has to follow instructions from a computer when she chases a criminal, but after a case goes bad, she receives a new partner: AI Seo Nang (Ha Joon).
Episode 5 – Baby It’s Over Outside
The last ditch effort by NASA to destroy a meteorite headed to Earth has failed. The world will end within 7 days. Kim Nam-Woo (David Lee), a lonely police officer, sees this news as a confirmation that he’s wasted his life trying to get his job instead of finding love. While going about his daily routine, he meets Hye-Hwa (Shin Eun-Soo). She's attempting to save the world and asks for Kim Nam-Woo's help. Kim Nam-Woo finally finds someone to fall in love with.
Episode 6 – White Crow
Video game streamer Juno's (Hani) popularity takes a severe hit after someone posts comments about Juno and her past. Specifically, that Juno has taken the identity of someone else from her high school, someone rumored to have died. Attempting to restore her popularity, Juno takes part in a gaming convention where she has to play a game that requires the player to overcome trauma from their past.
Episode 7 – Love Virtually
In the near future, more than half of the population uses virtual dating app "Love Virtually." Users can log in by simply placing a small patch discreetly on their face, and can choose whatever face and body they wish. Seo Min-Joon (Choi Si-Won) and Han Ji-Won (Uee) have fallen in love within the virtual world, using the unique faces they had before plastic surgery. As they near their 100th day anniversary date, the server for "Love Virtually" crashes.
Episode 8 – Empty Body
Kim Young-In (Jang Yoo-Sang) is involved in a car accident, where he loses most of his body. His mother, Ga Hye-Ra (Moon So-Ri), has her son's brain saved and, combined with an AI, implanted into a cyborg that looks identical to him. Ga Hye-Ra soon notices changes in her son's behavior and suspects the AI of having deleted her son.
If any of these have piqued your interest, do give them a try and let me know what you think!
As always, thank you for reading, and see you next week!