Black Mirror: The Best TV Series You’ve Never Seen
Black Mirror Revolutionizes Speculative Fiction
Black Mirror is a British television anthology series created by English satirist and broadcaster Charlie Brooker. It features speculative fiction with dark and satirical themes that investigate contemporary society. It premiered on Channel 4 in the United Kingdom on December 4th, 2011.
There are several characteristics of Black Mirror that distinguish it from other television series. The first major trait is that it’s an anthology series. An anthology series is a radio or television series that presents a different story and a different set of characters in each episode or season. In Black Mirror, “each episode has a different cast, a different setting, even a different reality. But they’re all about the way we live now—and the way we might be living in 10 minutes’ time if we’re clumsy,” says Charlie Brooker.
The second major trait that distinguishes Black Mirror from other television series is that it focuses on speculative fiction. Speculative fiction is a category of narrative fiction that includes elements, settings, and characters created out of imagination rather than based on reality and everyday life. It pulls elements from science fiction, fantasy, and horror to create its stories.
As for the title of the series, Charlie Brooker says “The ‘black mirror’ of the title is the one 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.” By now, you’re probably wondering what Black Mirror’s episodes are like. The first season only contains three episodes. However, each one captures your fullest attention with suspense and intrigue.
In the first episode, “The National Anthem”, Princess Susannah (Lydia Wilson) is kidnapped. The ransom demand is that Prime Minister Michael Callow (Rory Kinnear) must have sexual intercourse with a pig on live national television. The second episode “Fifteen Million Merits” takes place in a future where everyone but the social elite class lives underground. Everyone else must cycle on exercise bikes in order to earn a currency called “Merit”. Protagonist Bingham “Bing” Madsen (Daniel Kaluuya) uses his entire fortune to get the person of his affections, Abi (Jessica Brown Findlay), an audition on a reality talent show.
In the third episode, “The Entire History of You”, almost everyone has an implant that allows them to replay everything they see or hear. Protagonist Liam Foxwell (Toby Kebbell) grows suspicious over his wife’s behavior around an old friend of hers, and using his implant he proves to her that her backstory about him is full of lies. If those episodes sound interesting, Black Mirror is currently available on Netflix. There’s only seven episodes at the moment, so it’s easy to binge watch this show. In September 2015, Netflix commissioned a fourth season consisting of twelve episodes. If you watch the series and like what you see, don’t worry: more awesome television is coming!