The dystopian scifi anthology series Black Mirror is known for making eerie predictions about the future, but it seems that The Ricky Gervais Show’s little round-headed buffoon Karl Pilkington was way ahead of the curve when he outlined the plot of two storylines from the new season of Netflix’s hit show back in 2012.
The fourth season of Black Mirror hit Netflix on Friday offering six new episodes of terrifying technological twists that feel a little too plausible. Almost immediately, some people started noticing that some plotlines from the finale episode, “Black Museum,” sounded a little bit familiar. Karl Pilkington, the man that Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant loved to listen to and make fun of on The Ricky Gervais Show, had sketched out the basic premise of the episode pretty clearly. Now, a kind YouTuber has synced up clips from Black Mirror with Pilkington’s explanation and it seems that he could have a pretty good case to ask for some royalties. (This is where we’re going to get into some minor spoilers.)
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It’s best to just watch the clip below to see how well the Black Mirror episode helps illustrate Pilkington’s random thoughts. But just to give you a little context, “Black Museum” is an episode in which three short stories play out over the course of an hour. In the first, a doctor uses a new neurological implant that allows him to feel what his patients are feeling. This helps him make more personal diagnoses of his patient’s illness. It’s also exactly the sort of technique Pilkington describes in wishes doctors could employ because it’s so hard for him to say if he’s feeling symptoms that are out of the ordinary.
The second story is actually framed by Pilkington as a pitch for a film. His idea is that a man and woman are in love, enjoying a walk, the man gets hit by a bus, and the devastated woman has half of his brain implanted into her head so that she can carry her deceased lover’s thoughts with her forever. This is also, loosely, the premise of the second story in “Black Museum.” The biggest difference is that a man gets the consciousness of his comatose wife transferred into his mind. Of course, Black Mirror’s take on the story is quite a bit darker than Pilkington’s more romantic approach to the premise.
While you can’t copyright an idea, if Pilkington wants to take issue with Black Mirror’s pilfering of his ideas, he’ll at least have to talk to the magician Penn Jillette about the premise of the first story. Jillette’s short story Pain Addict was the source material for the segment in which a doctor can literally feel his patient’s pain.