Black Mirror is a British show that began airing on Channel 4 on December 4th, 2011. Created by Charlie Booker, it’s a sci-fi anthology series that features the many ways that we as humans interact with technology, and the way it affects our lives. According to the creator, he wanted to explore “if technology is a drug – and it does feel like a drug – then what, precisely, are the side effects?” The title refers to what “you’ll find on every wall, on every desk, in the palm of every hand: the cold, shiny screen of a TV, a monitor, a smartphone.” There are two seasons so far, three episodes per season, running about one hour long, and one Christmas special.
Black Mirror gets right what a lot of thriller/sci-fi anthology television shows have gotten wrong in the past. Shows like American Horror Story, the newest Twilight Zone revival, and the little-remembered Fear Itself all try too hard to shock. They build up to disappointing climaxes, underutilize their monsters, or, in American Horror Story‘s case, stuff too much into a season and end up confusing. What makes a horror anthology series watchable is the ability to tell unique stories that are all engaging and frightening, and have them stand on their own. Each of the aforementioned shows have good episodes or seasons, but most are tired and uninteresting.
Each episode of Black Mirror, however, is distinct. They are paced well, and each story manages to capture your attention and leave a feeling of dread in the pit of your stomach. Not to mention the plots! Want to watch what would happen if you could IM with a lost loved one? They’ve covered it. How about if an animated character ran for office? Check. Have you ever wanted to know what would happen if a princess was kidnapped and the only way to save her from being killed was for the Prime Minister of the country to have sexual relations with a barnyard animal on national television? Yes, that is the actual plot of the first episode.
If you liked the original Twilight Zone or watched Goosebumps when you were a kid, you’ll like this show. The first two seasons of Black Mirror are on Netflix right now, and if you don’t have Netflix you can get both complete seasons on Amazon. You’ll probably burn through them fairly quickly, but don’t fret! It has been renewed for a third season by its network, although they haven’t announced a date for when the new season will air. For all our sakes’, I hope it’s soon.