Humanity’s fear of machines has plagued us since the invention of technology, and now with a society dependent on their cell phones, the foreboding feeling we may be trapped is more prevalent than ever. The TV series, “Black Mirror,” capitalizes on and explores that grim possibility of technology influencing our future in the darkest way possible. Each episode takes place in a different dystopia with various unsettling stories, some in the distant future and others that are set in our very own insane reality. The name of the show itself, “Black Mirror,” comes from the reflection you see on a computer screen when it is off – a reference to how technology can reflect on us, which in the case of “Black Mirror,” it is usually not a good thing.
Black Mirror originated on the BBC, but was picked up by your friendly neighborhood streaming provider Netflix last year for its third and longest season. Netflix gave the series much more room to expand. In an article from “The Verge,” the show’s creator, Charlie Brooker, stated, “Netflix connects us with a global audience so that we can create bigger, stranger, more international and diverse stories than before, whilst maintaining that ‘Black Mirror’ feel.”
Brooker was correct; the show did maintain that “Black Mirror” feel as the newest season was met with rave reviews. Episodes like “Nosedive,” which stars Bryce Dallas Howard, “Jurassic World,” written in part by Rashida Jones, “Parks & Rec,” and directed by academy award-nominated Joe Wright, deals with social media presence and how in this not-so-far-away future,“likes” determine your status in the world. We watch as Howard tries to work her way to the top and how it chips away at her sanity trying to be perfect.
However, their best episodes are not all jammed into the new season. They already had two seasons that contain some amazing episodes, like season one’s “Fifteen Million Merits,” which takes place in an enclosed, avatar-led society where the division of haves and have-nots is extremely clear. Starring Daniel Kaluuya from “Get Out,” this episode deals with the people who perform on talent shows, like “American Idol,” and are exploited or mocked by the judges and the show’s virtual yet live audience.
My personal favorite episode and my introduction to the series was an episode called “White Christmas,” which stars Don Draper himself, Jon Hamm and Rafe Spall, “Prometheus.” This one I consider to be the most mind-blowing of all the episodes released so far. This episode follows two men who are in a remote cabin during a blizzard, discussing the events that brought them there. The episode unfolds beautifully and the pacing is spot-on. By the end of the episode, all you can think is,“Oh my f–k, that must be hell.” The episodes are supposed to be disturbing. In 2015, Charlie Brooker said in an interview with HuffPost, “I want to actively unsettle people.”
What actively unsettles a lot of people about the show is how close the satire can come to the truth. Episodes like “Nosedive” come painfully close to what people can be like now, with our shallow view of the world through our tiny screens. Yes, it is exaggerated to a degree, but with the way the world is rotating these days, it is not as far-fetched as once thought. It is not so much of a warning of what technology will do to us, but what we do with technology and how our continued misuse of it can lead to this dreary world depicted in the series.
Season four will be coming out sometime this year, but there is no confirmed release date as of yet. A few articles from the internet speculate that it will be released sometime in December. The new season will feature a new spectrum of areas, places and a whole new cast. Brooker stated in an article written by the Telegraph, “There is one shooting in Iceland that hasn’t been announced yet.” Many of the episodes for season three were shot in South Africa, so this season will see a scenic change. There is also an episode that is teased in the new trailer for the series with Jesse Plemons, playing what looks like a Starfleet captain, leading an enterprise-like spaceship going where no “Black Mirror” episode has gone before. Actress/director Jodie Foster will also be directing an episode.
The new season looks like it will be one wild ride with some amazing new stories that will make us more afraid of our laptops than ever.