Black Mirror has firmly established itself as The Twilight Zone of the digital age. Creator Charlie Brooker’s anthology series captures all of the fears and anxieties of living in a technologically-dependent world. Over the course of four seasons the series has covered everything from love to death through a post-social media lens. Each episode tells a standalone story that either holds up a mirror at society’s relationship with technology right now, or where the current growing dependence on technology and social media could take us as a society. Most of the stories (but not all) are dark, cautionary tales.
The first trailer for Black Mirror Season 5 was released yesterday. With the current let down of The Twilight Zone‘s reboot still a fresh wound, the trailer was a welcome surprise for fans of genre-leaning social satire everywhere. The original Twilight Zone created the model. Black Mirror works where the new Twilight Zone does not because Black Mirror, like the original Rod Sterling-hosted Twilight Zone, tell stories that capture the zeitgeist of the present and a warning to our possible future.
Charlie Brooker (and co-show runner Annabel Jones) have reduced the number of episodes in season 5 back to 3. This is a great move as it not only brings Black Mirror back to its British roots where series generally have far less episodes than a season of television in the U.S. It also forces each episode to be outstanding. When Netflix picked up the series for American audiences in 2015, the third and fourth seasons upped the number of episodes and the show suffered ever so slightly.
As Black Mirror has grown in popularity and stature so have the names attached. In season 5’s three new episodes, the cast boasts such big names as singer Miley Cyrus, Topher Grace (That 70’s Show), Anthony Mackie (Half Nelson, Marvel’s Avengers) and Yahya Abdul-Mateen II (Aquaman). The season 5 trailer doesn’t give too much away about Black Mirror‘s actual content. There’s footage of an evil looking Alexa doll, a man with a gun about to snap from the overuse of cell phones, and Miley Cyrus as some sort of Internet pop star.
In an age where privacy has been traded away for a gross form of instant celebrity and interpersonal communications forever altered by tools that were supposedly designed to make it easier for us to communicate, Black Mirror is needed. People need to be able to look at this all-too-fast moving world and take a chance to reflect about the way in which they are living their own lives and be provided warnings for possible terrifying futures that await further down the technological-addled path. Black Mirror is exactly what the title says it is: a series that holds up a dark reflection of the times in which we live in…and thank Brooker for that.
Black Mirror Season 5 will be streaming on Netflix June 5, 2019.