In case you had forgotten that we live in a technology-riddled wasteland almost certainly bound for doom, Black Mirror is here to remind you. From the almost certainly misanthropic mind of Charlie Brooker, Black Mirror, which made waves on American soil a few years ago once the Channel 4 series found its way onto Netflix, has quickly become the 21st century’s answer to The Twilight Zone. But, to qualify it as such would be to shortchange the series, which swaps the original’s xenophobic fears of invasion for the newfound cult of misplaced hubris and updates the show’s technological anxieties for our modern world. Brooker has created a series that packs a serious wallop of immediacy and creeping paranoia.
Deriving its name from the screens that increasingly rule our world, the series mines its scares both from tech that we know: smart phones, social media; and tech that has yet to be invented, planting its feet in the future while grounding its more outlandish tech in gritty, human experience. Marked with a greyed future pallor and unflinchingly dark, Black Mirror certainly isn’t a “pick-me-up” sort of sci-fi series, but it is one of our most creepily prescient. With new, sunnier and Americanized episodes coming this week (which Adam Chitwood reviewed with highly positive feedback), it feels like a good time to rank the series’ seven prior episodes from its rip-roaring beginning to its labyrinthine Christmas special. Hold on, things are gonna get dark.
[NOTE: to discuss Black Mirror in depth really involves spoiling a few storylines, so if you wanted to preserve the show’s mysteries, get out of here, now!]