Yesterday, Variety reported that Netflix, everyone’s favorite way to waste time, ordered 12 new episodes of the British series “Black Mirror.” This is EXCELLENT news, not just because it means that there will be something new to get overly invested in on Netflix (or “the ‘flix,” as I have decided I’m now going to call it) but also because “Black Mirror” is straight-up AMAZING.
The anthology series, created in 2011 by Charlie Brooker and executive produced by Annabel Jones (both of whom Variety reports will continue to lead the series on Netflix), plays like a “Twilight Zone” for our new, technology-reliant age. Each of the seven episodes that aired in its original run on the U.K. network Channel 4 (six of which are available to watch on Netflix now) focused on worlds not too separate from ours where people have taken the technologies that we all know and love and pushed them to the greatest extremes.
Each episode plays as a story and a world separate from the others, with an ever-changing cast of stars from both the big and small screens including “Agent Carter” star Hayley Atwell and Domhnall Gleeson of “Ex Machina” and the upcoming “Star Wars: Episode VII.” Even everyone’s favorite recent Emmy-winner, Jon Hamm, pops up in last year’s “Black Mirror” Christmas special. Sadly, that particular episode isn’t up on Netflix to enjoy, but I heard from a friend (that friend being me) that it can be easily found on YouTube.
While the series only made its way to American soil last year, it had already developed a significant amount of buzz overseas, where it won an International Emmy in 2012 for Best TV Movie/Mini-Series. In 2015 the series also won a Peabody Award, cementing its status as a valid commentary on modern culture. This view of the show was amplified even more after it was recently reported that a certain British Prime Minister may or may not have done some unsavory things with a pig, a detail that was eerily similar to the plot of one of the seemingly more outlandish “Black Mirror” episodes. Even Hollywood has come a-calling, with reports in 2013 that Robert Downey, Jr.’s production team had acquired the rights to a season one episode with the hopes of developing it into a feature film.
About a minute into my first viewing of “Black Mirror” late last year I knew I was hooked. It’s smart and biting and very, very dark. It’s also full of excellent, mind-boggling plot twists and moments that you couldn’t possibly have seen coming. I live for that kind of stuff.
The show certainly has its fair share of unsettling content (so much so that I would warn my more timid readers to stay away) but the uneasy feeling it will give you is important. The show speaks a lot to the way that we as a people have come to let technology play a way too significant role in our daily lives. “Black Mirror” addresses that and provides countless cautionary tales of where our world could end up if we go too far in the technology-reliant direction. It’s also just really really really good.
Netflix doesn’t have a premiere date for the new “Black Mirror” episodes yet, so that gives you plenty of time to dive into the original seven. Let me know what you think, and also let me know what your favorite episodes are. I’m partial to “Fifteen Million Merits,” “The Entire History of You” and “White Bear.”
Now, go on, and get OBSESSED.