Black Mirror: It’s Only Getting Darker
For the uninitiated, Black Mirror is a British TV series unlike any other being shown right now, earning itself the kind of cult status you see with other big typically American series like Game of Thrones or Breaking Bad. Currently on Season 3 which aired in October exclusively on Netflix after Channel 4, who had previously shown Seasons 1 and 2, was outbid. Netflix won the contract for 12 more episodes, and with Season 3 containing six, a guaranteed six more are on their way in 2017.
The overarching theme of the series is an exaggerated Sci-Fi commentary on our society, especially our relationship with technology. The title references the shiny black screens of our phones, laptops, TVs etc. that seem to increasingly dominate our lives. Each episode takes an aspect of technology, maybe one known to us now like aspects of Social Media or an inflated version set in a dystopian future, and creates a story that enforces the concept of our reliance on this technology for good or for bad.
Each episode is distinct, each season even more so. While Season 1 and 2 push some of the boundaries of what you could call “comfortable viewing”, Season 3 is definitely where Brooker decided to unleash all his darker ideas. The themes explored in each of the episodes are bleaker, more twisted and, while still fictional, some storylines are very topical given what has been happening in real life lately. It wouldn’t take much stretch of the imagination to see how the technologies explored in every one of these six episodes could come to life in the not too distant future.
Even though each episode and season are individual and many will probably say that they do not need to be watched in order, I would beg to differ. While there aren’t overarching plot lines or extended character development to be aware of throughout, I would argue that by Season 3, Brooker has assumed you can handle what he’s throwing at you so he’s definitely not holding back. I certainly wouldn’t want to come in cold to an episode like Shut Up and Dance without a safe prior knowledge of just how intense these shows can get.
It is nail biting, it is squirming-in-your-seat uncomfortable and you will laugh and cry about some of the poignant commentary made on our modern society. San Junipero had me crying most of the way through it, which was a total first for Black Mirror, just like the episode’s throwback 80’s vibe. If you’re a fan like me, I’m sure you are also eager for Netflix to release Season 4 as soon as possible in 2017 to start the rollercoaster all over again.