On Oct. 25, Netflix released the newest season of “Black Mirror,” an anthology series focusing on the darker aspects of modern society and new technology. Originally a British television show, with Seasons 1 and 2 airing from 2011 to 2014, Netflix decided to commission twelve new episodes, splitting them into two separate seasons, with Season 3’s six new episodes now available for streaming online.
One of my favorite qualities about “Black Mirror” is that each episode is completely separate from the last, meaning you can watch any episode in any order that you like. Although the settings and characters (as well as the entire cast) change for each story, the show manages to stick to the central themes of critiquing our current societal values and expressing the anxieties and possible dangers to come out of new technology.
For those unfamiliar with the show, I would recommend starting with the first two seasons as a way to get acquainted with the ideas being explored and the overall tone of the series. Both seasons have absolutely amazing episodes, such as Season 1’s “The Entire History of You,” in which the majority of society has an implant in their brain that allows them to store, revisit, rewind and zoom in on old memories; Season 2’s “Be Right Back,” which explores an eerie technology that allows lonely, grieving people to stay in touch with their deceased loved ones; and Season 2’s Christmas Special, “White Christmas,” which involves a multitude of intermingling storylines that play with ideas like artificial intelligence, slave labor, high-tech pick-up artists, social pariahs, murder and punishment. Many of the episodes in Seasons 1 and 2 explore how technology can make previously difficult processes easier to manage, but with, oftentimes, unexpected and disturbing consequences. This concept is further explored in the newest season.
Season 3 of “Black Mirror” tackles some heavy topics, such as our society’s obsession with social media, the military’s dehumanization of its enemies, and the dangers of internet trolls, computer hackers and virtual reality gaming, to name a few. However, one of the best episodes of the newest season, “San Junipero,” has a surprisingly positive tone and happier ending than any other “Black Mirror” episode that came before it. To avoid giving anything away, here is Netflix’s plot summary of the episode: “In a seaside town in 1987, a shy young woman and an outgoing party girl strike up a powerful bond that seems to defy the laws of space and time.”
If you are a fan of science fiction, satire or dark and twisted stories, then I would definitely recommend checking out this show.