Binge-Worthy Nightmares: Unraveling the Genius of ‘Black Mirror’

What if you realized your reality was nothing beyond the tech you use in your life? Black Mirror makes you ask that question for yourself in it's 6 season anthology format.

How would you feel when you opened Netflix one day and saw your life as a fictional show, with you and the people in your life being portrayed by famous actors? How would you feel when your spouse dies and they’re replaced by an extremely humanoid robot? What if your Uber driver was a homicidal maniac? How would you feel when you realize reality is nothing more than a game of Pac-Man? How would you feel if Miley Cyrus gifted you an emotional support robot? Charles Brooker and Black Mirror asks you those questions while simultaneously putting you in positions where you are forced to confront your own reality and the technologies that surround us and despite being put in those uncomfortable positions, our eyes remain stuck to the black mirrors of our phones, tablets and television screens.


Black Mirror is an anthology show with every episode being a new satire of the dark side of technology that premiered first in 2011 and since then, has shocked audiences worldwide in every season with its immense realism and accuracy to predict much of the technology that we now use in day to day life. Whether it’s swiping left and right on people on a dating app, participating in reality television life or death games, rigged elections through Twitter, COVID or the eventual rise of artificial intelligence, Black Mirror and Charlie Brooker’s imagination are now called prophetic. Black Mirror also released an experimental film called Black Mirror: Bandersnatch in 2018 which was completely interactive and the story would progress based on the viewer’s choices. This form of interactive film was entirely new in the entertainment medium and shocked audiences worldwide when they realized that it had 5 different endings as well as a secret ending and hundreds of combinations to reach this.

One of the most famous episodes of Black Mirror appeared in Season 3 called “Shut up and Dance”. The episode entailed a man who was being blackmailed by hackers and was forced to do their bidding and participate in dangerous tasks given to him by the hackers and throughout the entire episode viewers weren’t exactly sure what he was being blackmailed for while sympathizing for him until they reached the end, and learning that the blackmail material were truly disgusting acts that he had done. The sudden subversion of perceptions have made Black Mirror an absolute beast of a show in a world where shows have become saturated with comedies and superhero fiction.


However like every good piece of fiction, there always comes a time when it feels like even perfection has flaws, which was true for Season 5, as many people felt that Season 5 was a huge drop of quality for Black Mirror’s standards. This lead most audiences to believe that Black Mirror was falling off the track and that most probably would be cancelled as viewership had decreased and Netflix (home for Black Mirror) was consecutively axing shows from 2019 onwards. Black Mirror soon went on a 4 year long hiatus with no one hearing any news about Black Mirror for 4 years.


It was not until a teaser trailer was released in 2023 for Season 6 that people realized that Black Mirror was still alive and kicking. The hype for Black Mirror reignited once again in people’s hearts. The hype was well rewarded when Season 6 premiered 5 episodes instead of the usual 3 that Black Mirror premieres (with the exception of season 3 and season 4) with each episode an answer to the people who claimed that Black Mirror had “fallen off”. Season 6 confirmed that Black Mirror hadn’t fallen off the track but simply had a stumble.

Like in previous seasons, Black Mirror “revels in its twists” and continues its self-contained themes of satirical horror mixed with technology set in various periods of time. However many viewers also noticed a little change of genres as some episodes felt more supernatural horror rather than the usual satirical sci-fi most viewers had come to expect. This change left many wondering where Black Mirror’s new priorities lie and whether the speed at which technology was advancing had broke the loop of Black Mirror’s prophetic visions of a dystopian future.

Maybe we are already in a dystopia and Black Mirror knows it. Maybe Black Mirror is afraid. And through its fear it has chosen to refuse to show the truth in ourselves through the black screens of our devices and rather just play it safe. Nonetheless, Black Mirror is back, Season 6 is streaming and our futures are about to be much more interesting.