“San Junipero” cracked me open. The fourth episode of Black Mirror’s third season, a period piece set in 1987, ticked nearly every box on my checklist for what makes a work of art personally moving—rich purple hues dotted with vibrant splashes of neon, an ethereal score from Clint Mansell, stunningly angst-ridden lovers, and ocean views. I adored the episode, and while I was elated to encounter a happy ending after watching the bleak love story “Be Right Back,” I couldn’t help but lament the lack of a San Junipero of my very own. Would I pass over? Dear God, immediately. I’d spend forever in Tucker’s 2002 without question. Though I do have so many questions! Was the bartender a non-playable character? Was Greg simply a tutorial that allowed tourists to slowly become acclimated to the city? Were there other cities that appealed to residents of different regions and members of various subcultures? After all, San Junipero was decidedly white and Californian. What did the Quagmire of 1980 look like? 1996? 2002? Why were so many people single? Did anyone work? If a San Juniperan wrote a song or designed a building, who would own it? TCKR Systems? Next of kin? Did individuals have to pay to own a digital plot as they do in Second Life? Did rich consumers have access to better digital content—luxury cars and beach houses? A sobering thought—did poor individuals elect to work for eternity in San Junipero to obtain cloud access? After all, every party town needs diligent workers to run efficiently.
I suppose the answers to many of the above questions will be solved via fanfiction, but I still think the premise for “San Junipero” would make for an excellent romantic series akin to The Love Boat or Fantasy Island. Then again, the musical budget alone would keep such a series from ever getting off the ground!