Four one hour documentaries on the influence of the Internet on our lives.
This is the home page of the original programme with some back ground information and clips.
This is the link to the Open University page on The Virtual Revolution and contains some great links to iTunes podcasts and other information about the digital world.
If any of the links below don't work then you should be able to find alternative sources on YouTube or Vimeo.
1. The Great Levelling?
Twenty years on from the invention of the World Wide Web, Dr Aleks Krotoski looks at how it is reshaping almost every aspect of our lives. Joined by some of the web's biggest names - including the founders of Facebook, Twitter, Amazon, Apple and Microsoft, and the web's inventor - she explores how far the web has lived up to its early promise.
In the first in this four-part series, Aleks charts the extraordinary rise of blogs, Wikipedia and YouTube, and traces an ongoing clash between the freedom the technology offers us, and our innate human desire to control and profit.
2. Enemy of the State?
Twenty years on from the invention of the World Wide Web, Dr Aleks Krotoski looks at how it is reshaping almost every aspect of our lives. Joined by some of the Web's biggest names - including the founders of Facebook, Twitter, Amazon, Apple and Microsoft, and the web's inventor - she explores how far the Web has lived up to its early promise.
Here, Aleks charts how the Web is forging a new brand of politics, both in democracies and authoritarian regimes.
With contributions from Al Gore, Martha Lane Fox, Stephen Fry and Bill Gates, Aleks explores how interactive, unmediated sites like Twitter and YouTube have encouraged direct action and politicised young people in unprecedented numbers.
Yet, at the same time, the Web's openness enables hardline states to spy and censor, and extremists to threaten with networks of hate and crippling cyber attacks.
3. The Cost of Free
Twenty years on from its invention, Dr Aleks Krotoski continues her investigation of how the World Wide Web is transforming almost every aspect of our lives. She gives the lowdown on how, for better and for worse, commerce has colonised the web - and reveals how web users are paying for what appear to be 'free' sites and services in hidden ways.
Joined by some of the most influential business leaders of today's web, including Jeff Bezos (CEO of Amazon), Eric Schmidt (CEO of Google), Chad Hurley (CEO of YouTube), Bill Gates, Martha Lane Fox and Reed Hastings (CEO of Netflix), Aleks traces how business, with varying degrees of success, has attempted to make money on the web.
She tells the inside story of the gold rush years of the dotcom bubble and reveals how retailers such as Amazon learned the lessons. She also charts how, out of the ashes, Google forged the business model that has come to dominate today's web, offering a plethora of highly attractive, overtly free web services, including search, maps and video, that are in fact funded through a sophisticated and highly lucrative advertising system which trades on what we users look for.
Aleks explores how web advertising is evolving further to become more targeted and relevant to individual consumers. Recommendation engines, pioneered by retailers such as Amazon, are also breaking down the barriers between commerce and consumer by marketing future purchases to us based on our previous choices.
On the surface, the web appears to have brought about a revolution in convenience. As companies start to build up databases on our online habits and preferences, Aleks questions what this may mean for our notions of privacy and personal space in the 21st century.
4. Homo Interneticus? Or the Addiction
Dr Aleks Krotoski concludes her investigation of how the World Wide Web is transforming almost every aspect of our lives.
Joined by Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, Bill Gates, Al Gore and the neuroscientist Susan Greenfield, Aleks examines the popularity of social networks such as Facebook and asks how they are changing our relationships.
And, in a ground-breaking test at University College London, Aleks investigates how the Web may be distracting and overloading our brains.
Questions to consider on The Virtual Revolution.
To what extent is the internet adding to or consolidating or challenging the postmodern theories you have been studying. Think about Baudrillard's theory of hyperreality and simulation, Fredric Jameson's theories about parody, pastiche and intertextuality, Jean-Francois Lyotard's ideas regarding the 'death of metanarratives', Guy Debord's ideas surrounding 'the society of the spectacle', Marshall McLuhan's statements on 'the Global Village' and other terms like hyperconsciousness, atomisation, the active audience, remix culture, the world of the commodity, citizen journalism, hybridity, Web 2.0 etc...
(i) Computer Games
Watch on Vimeo:
Three-part series presented by historian Benjamin Woolley about popular games in Britain from the Iron Age to the Information Age, in which he unravels how an apparently trivial pursuit is a rich and entertaining source of cultural and social history.
In the final part, Woolley explores the journey games have taken from the board to the screen, reflecting the rapidly changing history of modern Britain.
In the 1980s, the power of our imagination was harnessed in early video games like Elite, putting the audience at the heart of a space adventure they could influence. The British boom years of the 90s introduced characters like Lara Croft to a world beyond video games and players were propelled into the internet age.
Woolley's investigation leads to the present day, where he finds our morality tested in the world of Grand Theft Auto and our identity becoming transported to the digital domain with virtual realms like Runescape and World of Warcraft.
Charlie Brooker sets his caustic sights on video games. Expect acerbic comment as he looks at the various genres, how they have changed since their early conception and how the media represents games and gamers. Features interviews with Dara O Briain, sitcom scribe Graham Linehan and Rab and Ryan from Consolevania.
Watch on YouTube:
How Videogames Changed the World
Watch on DVD...
From Pong to Grand Theft Auto, Charlie Brooker delves into the history of videogames and pulls out a selection of its most significant titles.
How TV Ruined Your Life
You can also watch the others if you want to...
(iii) Mobile Phones, Social Media, Technology
Duration: 1 hour
Watch on Planet eStream:
Poet and gadget lover Simon Armitage explores people's obsession with upgrading to the latest technological gadgetry.
Upgrade culture drives millions to purchase the latest phones, flatscreen TVs, laptops and MP3 players. But is it design, functionality, fashion or friends that makes people covet the upgrade, and how far does the choice of gadgets define identity? Simon journeys across Britain and to South Korea in search of answers.
How Facebook Changed the World: The Arab Spring (Parts 1 and 2)
Duration: one hour each episode.
Episode 1: The story of how the Arab world erupted in revolution, as a new generation used the internet and social media to try to overthrow their hated leaders.
In the first of this two-part series, Mishal Husain charts events in Tunisia and Egypt by meeting those who led the revolts and showing the unique footage they shot.
Episode 2: The story of how the Arab world erupted in revolution, as a new generation used the internet and social media to try to overthrow their hated leaders.
In the last of this two part series, Mishal Husain meets those who spread the revolt to Libya and Bahrain, and those who are still fighting the Syrian regime.
Making notes and finding quotes...
What films can I get away with watching and pretending it's Media Studies Revision? (Remember, you'll need to be making notes and finding quotes…)
Films connected with Hyperreality / Simulation - what is real what isn't - Hollywood Hyperreality = Her, The Matrix, Inception, Avatar, The Truman Show, The Adjustment Bureau, Inglorious Basterds, Blade Runner, Being John Malcovich, Total Recall (either version though the first is better), Donnie Darko, Pleasantville, Brazil (or anything by Terry Gilliam), Dark City (I haven't seen it) and I Heart Huckabees has been suggested (I haven't seen this either) but also think about 50 First Dates or Groundhog Day or 500 Days of Summer, how are these postmodern in their portrayal of reality? Darker films like eXistenZ by David Cronenburg or Strange Days might also be worth a look though they are scary...
British Hyperreality = Searching for Eric, In This World, 24 Hour Party People, Cock and Bull Story…lots of films by Michael Winterbottom or Ken Loach in other words…a mix of social realism, documentary style, reality but not quite...
Films connected with the idea of 'the spectacle' - Fight Club (about the nature of reality as well), The Devil Wears Prada (yes, really) and then consider cinema as an example of the spectacle itself - think about shallow movies with great SFX - Avatar again? The Hobbit films? Transformers?
Films and narrative breakdown - Pulp Fiction is the classic but also The Usual Suspects, Memento, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Adaptation, Synecdoche: New York…Sin City plays with non-linear narratives but is so ugly in its misogyny that I don't want you to watch it…sorry. A great film that does this is Trainspotting, or interesting films that play with narratives are City of God and the Constant Gardener…then there's the use of metafiction in films like Atonement, Adaptation or Cock and Bull Story or hyperconsciousness in films like Kiss Kiss Bang Bang and The Wolf of Wall Street…
Parody, Pastiche, Intertextuality - well a lot of the films listed above do this but think about the Scream series, or Dead Men don't Wear Plaid, but also Austin Powers films, the Scary Movie series, lots of Pixar films borrow and parody other films but I'm not a child so I haven't seen them. Except for Shrek and Toy Story.
Series 1and 2: Charlie Brooker with two suspenseful, satirical three-part mini-series that tap into collective unease about our modern world.
Watch on 4oD…one hour each…
White Christmas - Series 3
Charlie Brooker's seasonal special is a mind-bending chiller of three interwoven stories brimming with near-future madness
15 Million Merits - Series 1
The second episode is a satire on entertainment shows and our insatiable thirst for distraction set in a sarcastic version of a future reality. In this world, everyone is confined to a life of strange physical drudgery. The only way to escape this life is to enter the 'Hot Shot' talent show and pray you can impress the judges.
The Entire History of You - Series 1
Last in the series of Charlie Brooker's dark dramas. In the near future, everyone has access to a memory implant that records everything they do, see and hear - a sort of Sky Plus for the brain. You need never forget a face again... but is that always a good thing?
Be Right Back - Series 2
When Steve Coogan is asked by The Observer to tour the country's finest restaurants, he envisions it as the perfect getaway with his beautiful girlfriend. But, when she backs out on him, he has no one to accompany him but his best friend and source of eternal aggravation, Rob Brydon. As the brilliant comic duo, freestyling with flair, drive each other mad with constant competition and showdowns of competing impressions (including dueling Michael Caines, Sean Connerys and Al Pacinos), the ultimate odd couple realize in the end a rich amount about not only good food, but the nature of fame, relationships and their own lives.
Remember, they are only pretending to be themselves…
Here's the website and iPlayer pages for the first series and the trailer for Series 2 in Italy…
Watch on 4oD:
Baffled human wreck Dan Ashcroft watches in horror as his world is over-run with 24 carat berks, led by a strutting, brainless cock-of-the-walk called Nathan Barley, who, distressingly, has designs on Dan's sister Claire.
Nathan Barley is 26. He is a Webmaster, guerrilla filmmaker, screenwriter, DJ and in his own words, a 'self-facilitating media node'. Dan Ashcroft writes searing columns for Sugar Ape. He's considered astonishingly cool, but only by those he despises.Claire Ashcroft, 27, is Dan's sister. She is furious that no one will fund her hard-hitting documentary about a choir of reformed junkies. Nathan, Dan and Claire work in the industrial conversions of Hosegate. They are about to become spliced together in a three-way split. A happy ending is not guaranteed...
Series 2, Episode 5
Watch on 4oD:
Surreal cult sitcom starring Simon Pegg and Jessica Stevenson - and more pop culture references than you can shake a light sabre at…
A night on the town for Tim and Daisy turns into a fight for survival as the dynamic duo come face to face with an old enemy (not to mention a few new ones).
Watch on 4oD
Bloody, sharp satire from Charlie Brooker. Zombies are rampaging throughout Britain. Blissfully unaware of gory events outside, the Big Brother housemates are in for the ultimate eviction night...
The first episode in this five-part zombie horror series set in a fictional Big Brother house. Written by Charlie Brooker, with a guest appearance from Davina McCall.