Clickbait on Netflix is an Australian series of 8 episodes relevant to our Internet-infused lives. It is a binge-worthy show in the thriller-crime genre. The twists and turns in the plot are intriguing. The end is engaging and packs in quite a surprise element. Clickbait is also a commentary on the complex nature of relationships, work, and individual psychology.
For instance, Detective Amiri – we see a bit about his personal life, but we also glimpse how his insecurities affect his professional demeanor and work relationship. He feels overlooked because of his religion. In reality, as a lone wolf, he lacks the skill to work in a team. Amiri is ambitious, with personal and professional ethics mostly in the right place. On the other side of the spectrum, we have the journalists. They hound the victim for news bites and employ objectionable methods to capture information and the coveted prime time slot. These and other incidents provide ample food for thought on complex work dynamics in various professional arenas.
Pia, as one of the leads, has a visibly volatile temperament. She is determined to solve the mystery involving her brother, Nick. We witness an empathetic side of her as she fights for her family. As the shadow of an Internet-based crime hangs low over the Brewer family, skeletons drop out of the closet, including extramarital relationships.
Characters that do not fill in the entire space of the series but feature in dedicated episodes have a lot of depth. Tech-savvy teenagers, who do not understand the impact of technology, put themselves and the lives of others at risk. From GPS-tracking devices, memes, and trends, to meeting strangers on the Internet, youngsters pride themselves on being connected. How many of them are mature enough to understand the consequences of using technology, even if well-intended? Why blame the children, when even the adults plonked in front of screens, take part in a make-believe world? The series brings out the horrors of convoluted identities and an even-more complex web of lies on the world wide web.
A content moderator sits through 10, 000 images a day, sieving out the trash from the Internet. Trudging through his boring life, he probably does not realize how the violent and inappropriate content he is perusing every day has subconsciously affected him. His wild side breaks out after he cannot save his sister from being deceived on a dating site. Then, there is the compulsive liar, the insurance agent, who is so good at weaving stories out of thin air that maybe her mind stops processing the thin line between fantasy and facts. I found her character to be quite impactful.
At the end of it all, there is one underlying theme. The pursuit for the remedy of loneliness through the Internet. When we are alone, anxious, perturbed, even bored, we turn to devices to consume mindless information, entertain ourselves, fix dates, and make friends. As the clock ticks, filling in the stark hours, we throw caution to the wind. We are entangled. We are callous. We are still lonely and afraid. Trust is a beautiful thing, but it shatters bit by bit, rather, click by click, as we bite the bait and hope for beautiful and extraordinary things to emerge from the Internet. It is all a lie!
Clickbait, as a series, has garnered mixed viewer responses. I found it watchable and impressive enough to feature on my blog. Beyond the crime drama and investigation, the psychological aspects are worth pondering. Clickbait is a tale of complex mind-games and a reflection of our society. It projects the mental health condition of the seemingly normal-life leading individuals and how it hides behind glossy screens and digital spaces. The more these people need to get help, the more reclusive and secretive we become. It carries a message of caution not just about what you click but also how well you know the people in your life.