In the second episode – Fifteen Million Merits – Bingham (Daniel Kaluuya) is living in a future dystopia where workers ride exercise bikes all day to generate a power source for society. The cyclists are paid in merit points, which they then spend on food and other digitized possessions. Their points are also spent to avoid digital advertising which they are subjected to throughout the day. Reality television shows like Hot Shots – a futuristic X-Factor – prevail as an unending source of “entertainment” for the workers.
For fifteen million merits, a worker can audition for Hot Shots, earning a chance at stardom. Bing discovers a coworker singing one morning, Abi (Jessica Brown Findlay). Smitten by Abi's talent, Bing insists that he pay for her to audition.
His words are a haunting dose of what is perhaps to come if our society completely surrenders to this “fake fodder.” The episode's conclusion is even more terrifying – no spoilers here – and certainly worth a watch. But the real gem is Daniel Kaluuya’s brilliant portrayal of a hauntingly familiar everyman in this terrifyingly dystopian society.