Charlie Brooker’s Black Mirror first aired in 2011 and has been scaring us ever since. It’s depictions of the dangers of technology and potential future of society can be shockingly accurate. Even from the first episode. As the world has descended into chaos, the later seasons have actually had some episodes with a happy ending. The series has looked at everything from dating to politics but it’s main focus is on technology. It’s looked at things like VR gaming and China’s Social Credit System. And even had an interactive experiemntal episode about video games with Bandersnatch.
With the show taking some time off, now seems like a good time to revisit the series, and take a look at 5 of the best.
5. Fifteen Million Merits (1.02)
Taking a look at the future of talent shows and advertisements, this episode features a pre-Get Out Daniel Kaluuya, riding an exercise bike. Every few pedals of the bike earns the rider merits, which they can spend on food and drink as well as items for their digital avatars. The sleeping quarters are walls of screens with adult advertisements constantly intruding, and a paid fee to skip them, rather like paying for subscription services in real life. This is one episode that has proved rather timely as streaming and subscription services have come into our lives
4. Be Right Back (2.01)
Grief is something that everyone, unfortunately, goes through at some point, and everyone deals with it differently. The final and most important aspect of grief is accepting the loss. This episode shows one way of dealing with the loss of a loved one, use their internet history to make an android with their personality. This is one of the most human and relatable episodes of the series, and one of the most thought-provoking.
3. USS. Callister (4.01)
Riffing on both Star Trek and VR technology, this is one of the most imaginative episodes of the show. A lonely programmer lives out his space captain fantasy in VR, modding in his co-workers as his crewmates. The episode focuses on this power fantasy and spills into the real world, with allusions to Harvey Weinstein. It is one of the highest concept episodes, with Brooker describing it as “The Black Mirror version of a space epic”. This episode even won several awards, for its performances, cinematography, and sound design.
2. San Junipero (3.04)
The first episode conceived for season 3, this was written “as a conscious decision to change the series“. The episode is at its core, a love story between Yorkie and Kelly. It is also unique for being a period piece (with the exception of the interactive Bandersnatch). This episode is a great example of how the show can expand from its study of the dangers of technology and actually shows hope. This episode also garnered awards and topped a lot of “best episodes” lists.
1. White Christmas (2.04)
This festive special takes three different stories and connects them, unlike other episodes which just reference other stories. As the two characters share their life stories over Christmas dinner, the stories slowly connect. This episode is a soap opera, sci-fi and romance all in one. Although the individual stories are very short compared to regular episodes, the quality remains the same, and each of them could easily be fleshed out into full-length episodes.
Also Read: The Best Sci-Fi Films of the Decade