A little while ago, I pulled information from a baker’s dozen rankings of episodes from the first four seasons of Black Mirror, Charlie Brooker’s dystopian look at technology and society, produced originally by Channel 4 and later by Netflix. I had been amused by there being general critical consensus as to the series’ high quality but absolutely no agreement as to the merit of individual episodes. I thought by gathering the data into one base and subjecting them to various analyses I might be able to identify trends or commonalities not apparent at first glance.
Nope: They don’t exist — or, if they do, they are still too subtle for my ham-handed processes to identify. Accordingly, I followed the time-honored tradition of less-than-scrupulous researchers everywhere: If the data are inconclusive, change the goals. I had been looking for a project with which to test Airtables new Blocks feature, still in beta test at the time. If I couldn’t use Airtable to identify previously hidden patterns and trends in the critical response to Black Mirror, could I instead use it to quantify and illustrate just how divergent the critics had been?
The results can now be found in Airtable Universe. In it, I use a variety of [primarily] Chart and Page Designer Blocks (some in ways they weren’t intended to be used) to illustrate different characteristics of the data, linked with Description Blocks to provide a narrative. I’ve attached a few screen shots below to give you an idea of what’s inside.