We promise: That headline is 100 percent reflective of the show. Next week, Netflix will release a special from “psychological illusionist” Derren Brown called The Push. It’s a reality show where an unwitting participant enters a detailed, rehearsed simulation where, through a series of tests and high-pressure scenarios, he will be coerced and manipulated into possibly killing another person. That’s it. That’s the show. No exaggeration.
Of course, no real lives are at stake—it is an elaborate hoax, after all—but the person going through the simulation has no idea it’s fake. For them, the implications and consequences will be real. That’s freaky.
The special raises tons of ethical questions, and harkens back to loads of controversial psychological experiments in the past. The Stanford Prison experiment of 1971 turned students against each other in a prisoners-and-guards role-playing design, and the Milgram experiment of 1961 had participants shock another participant in a similar authoritarian situation.
You can watch The Push for yourself on Netflix February 27.