Charlie Brooker returns with a new season of his dystopian anthology series, Black Mirror, in which we realise that sometimes the scariest things are right in front of us.
Reporter: Hannah Grafton | Sub-Editor: Alex Clement
20 seconds in to an episode of Charlie Brooker’s Black Mirror, it’s obvious that this will not be your usual Netflix binge watch material. Unnerving intro music and a title that shatters on to your screen, is the perfect opening for this collection of dystopian stories of technology and connectivity in the modern world.
After two successful three-episode seasons in 2011 and 2013, Brooker has created a third season, comprised of six episodes, which was released on Netflix on Friday (21st). Taking us on a journey through various realities, Brooker shows us his chilling predictions for the future of technology and how we as humans will change in the not-so-distant future. Each one of the six episodes stands alone, with a different director, cast and entire world created in each hour-long story.
Now with a significantly larger budget than previous seasons, Brooker has been able to dream bigger with his writing and cast of actors, which is evident in episode one, Nosedive, starring Bryce Dallas Howard. Taking place in a world where you rate everyone you meet via an app that is implanted into your eyes, it draws multiple parallels to our obsession with maintaining our own image online.
Episode two, Playtest, explores the future of the virtual reality phenomenon, boasting impressive special effects and more jump-scares than any of the other episodes.
Despite this ambitious start to season three, episode three harks back to the more gritty and lower budget episodes in previous seasons, and has become a clear fan favourite within the new season. With almost no special effects and relying on the acting of it’s two lead characters, Shut Up and Dance is fast-paced and delivers a twist ending that feels like nothing less than a punch to the gut.
What makes this season excel above previous seasons is the variety we are given. Brooker takes a departure from his usual sinister undertone and gives us a heartwarming love story (with a dystopian twist, of course) in the form of episode four, San Junipero and then hits us with another action-packed episode imagining the future of soldiers and the very real developments of augmented reality: Men Against Fire.
The final episode, Hated in the Nation, is the one that hits closest to home, dealing with a lot of world issues that we are currently facing, including online bullying, military drone usage and the bee shortage.
Brooker manages to add his signature humour here and there, something which has been working it’s way in more and more since the incredibly dark and shocking episodes of the first season. However, this does not make Black Mirror any less harrowing and thought-provoking.
If you’re looking for something to merrily binge watch on Netflix, Black Mirror is not for you. Each episode has a clear story arc and usually cannot be followed straight away by another without a moment of reflection. It’s not that the show is hard to watch, it’s just thrillingly intense and for many, including myself, scarily puts into perspective a lot of the technology that has now become the norm.
Worryingly, the premise of several Black Mirror episodes have since come true, the first ever episode actually predicting David Cameron’s Piggate. There’s no telling which of Brooker’s worlds will become reality next…
This is the future we are in right now. pic.twitter.com/KLr8VbViRG
— Black Mirror (@blackmirror) October 21, 2016
The six new episodes of Black Mirror are streaming on Netflix now.