Nick Brewer is a loving husband, father and brother who goes missing and turns up in a video on the internet, holding a sign that says “I abuse women. At 5 million views, I die.” Well, now what? This is the basic premise of Netflix’s upcoming series Clickbait, starring Zoe Kazan, Betty Gabriel and The Devil Wears Prada‘s Adrian Grenier, which premieres on August 25. The episodes will apparently follow a revolving POV that will detail each family member’s memory of Nick and uncover new things about the man they thought they knew, but it’s clear that social media is the real monster at the end of the book here.
Social media tut-tutting has been a source of art both good (Ingrid Goes West, Searching) and bad (The Circle). Black Mirror, maybe the most well-known example of this genre, is a pretty mixed bag of highs and lows. So it’s anyone’s guess whether Clickbait will be a slam dunk or an airball, but it’s hard to miss the irony of it landing on Netflix, where algorithms conspire to keep you watching a pre-programmed mix of recommendations culled from your own clicks, streaming habits and personal data. It’s hard to comment on the digital world at all in a non-digital format these days (what are you reading this on, for example?) but that doesn’t mean there aren’t important observations or insightful stories to be had here. It just means we’re all awfully deep down the rabbit hole. Even if we do wake up to just how much this stuff is taking over our life, what would we do about it?