28 December 2020 02:34

Annabel Jones: People have said they thought this year felt like an episode of Black Mirror.

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Broncos game balls and gassers: Jerry Jeudy drops five passes, special teams make numerous blunders in loss to Chargers

Reed had five total tackles and a strip-sack of quarterback Justin Herbert late in the second quarter that kept the Chargers from padding their lead heading into the half. Broncos special teams — Brandon McManus' short opening kickoff led to a big return by Nasir Adderley to set the Chargers up for an easy opening drive field goal. Sunday's 19-16, final-minute loss to the Los Angeles Chargers showed guts, plenty of character and a dash of defensive wizardry with so many starters not in uniform for the visiting Broncos. Lock said this past week he thinks he is "the guy" moving forward, and his work in the fourth quarter Sunday was evidence in his favor, but he can't be "the guy" until he stops turning the ball over. It's exactly the kind of throw the second-year player has said--over and over again--he has to quit making.

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Lock has been given the like-what-we-see vote of confidence from Broncos general manager John Elway and coach Vic Fangio, but the words "needs more consistency" usually follow closely. Lock's first quarter interception was a bad decision, one that likely left a touchdown on the table in what became a grind-it-out three-point loss, rolling out without his feet squared up to throw with a sidearm delivery. What happened in the just over three quarters of football that followed Sunday were some additional bright spots for Lock, to go with far too many dropped balls by his receivers, particularly Jerry Jeudy, and a run game stifled by the scoreboard. Jeudy has been targeted plenty this season--13 more than any other Broncos player heading into Sunday's game--and he was the leader in targets again against the Chargers. Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert broke Mayfield's regular season mark for touchdown passes, finding the end zone for the 28th time on Sunday against the Broncos.

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He's been named Rookie of the Week eight times already, and has had seven 300-yard passing games this season prior to Sunday's game. Charlie Brooker and Annabel Jones tackle the "nonsense and chaos and horribleness" of 2020 with a star-studded mockumentary filmed under pandemic-era protocols. "We hope to give people a sort of cathartic exorcism of the year that was 2020," Jones tells The Hollywood Reporter. Speaking virtually alongside Charlie Brooker, the Black Mirror creators tell The Hollywood Reporter that this year wasn't a good fit for another potentially harrowing season of their Emmy-winning anthology series. Death to 2020, which released on Netflix Dec. 27, is a different kind of end-of-year special.

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Al Campbell and Alice Mathais directed the cast in the U.K. and U.S., respectively, as Brooker and Jones ran the sets remotely via Zoom. The 70-minute standalone special — which, to be clear, does not exist in the Black Mirror universe — tackles the global pandemic, the sweeping Black Lives Matter movement and the U.S. election, while also touching on moments like the rise of TikTok, Parasite's historic Oscars win and #Megxit. I don't know that a special like this would have been commissioned if it wasn't for the pandemic," says Brooker. Jones adds, "I hope what Death to 2020 does is give people a sort of cathartic exorcism of the year that was 2020." Below, in a chat with THR, Brooker and Jones detail what it was like to make Death to 2020 in an unprecedented year amid "huge leaps of progress" in production, discuss their approach to Trump's role in the special and all of those Netflix mentions ("The crew were almost in reverence to her like she was the Queen," says Jones of Ullman's The Crown-worthy performance), and muse about how 2020 might change how they tell stories in the near future. At what moment did you two decide that more Black Mirror wasn't right for 2020, and that you wanted to do a topical year-end comedy special instead?


Let's do this." In Britain, we've done a lot of comedy specials — and often topical comedy — which is probably news to a lot of Americans who only know us through Black Mirror. So doing something that mocks all of the high-end documentaries that you see on Netflix, and also talking about the year in a comic way, seemed like a good fit. Annabel Jones: People have said they thought this year felt like an episode of Black Mirror. Obviously, it's a very unsettling and chaotic year, and I'm not sure that we personally had the appetite to be making a Black Mirror whilst all of this was unfolding. Unlike a Black Mirror, this was done much more like a topical thing that we've done in the past, where there are lots of writers.

Brooker: It feels like the same story we're all stuck in: Groundhog Day. The thing about 2020 is that it's obviously been an incredibly hectic and grueling year for everyone, but it's been dominated quite globally by the pandemic, by Black Lives Matter and by the U.S. election, which is a huge international story. Even if there was a big story, people would just be like, "Yeah [shrug]." I think our prime minister Boris Johnson is doing a press conference at the moment and it's like, "Yeah, he did one the day before. Brooker: We got 1,000 pounds every time we mention a Netflix production! I don't know that a special like this would have been commissioned if it wasn't for the pandemic. Brooker: It's a good question and I don't really know how to answer it because, in a way, he is just one of the characters of the year. Jones: I think it's back to that point of wanting to do something that's funny; wanting a light relief.

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