With entertainment so fragmented across so many platforms, there aren’t many shows that still create genuine “water-cooler moments”. Alongside Game of Thrones and Squid Game, Black Mirror remains a TV series that gets people binge-watching, talking and debating.
Almost three years since season five had its premiere on Netflix, Variety has revealed that another season is in the works from show creators Charlie Brooker and Annabel Jones.
Click though the gallery above to see our ranking of every Black Mirror episode.
The dystopian drama, featuring episodes that are based around the way we interact with technology, started life on the UK’s Channel 4 in 2011, running for two seasons, before moving to Netflix. The term “black mirror” references the colour of phone screens when they’re switched off and we can see ourselves in them.
“Comedy, horror and sci-fi are such close bedfellows,” Brooker told The Guardian of the genres that come together to make a Black Mirror episode. He added that the plots were “extrapolations of whatever was already happening”.
New 'Black Mirror' episodes will be 'mini movies'
Details about the new season are being kept under wraps, but a production source told Variety episodes are being created as mini films, each with a running time of more than one hour.
It was also reported that the new season will have more episodes than season five, which had only three: Striking Vipers, starring Anthony Mackie and Yahya Abdul-Mateen II; Smithereens, featuring Sherlock and Fleabag star Andrew Scott; and the Miley Cyrus-starring Rachel, Jack and Ashley Too.
The show has won eight Emmy Awards and has featured Topher Grace, Jon Hamm, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Jesse Plemons, Bryce Dallas Howard and Jodie Whittaker, among other stars.
The last episode to air was Bandersnatch, which was released on December 28, 2018. Starring Will Poulter, the episode was interactive, with audiences able to choose the direction of the story using their remote control
“I find it hard enough managing one character arc and emotional continuity when you shoot out of sequence,” Poulter told Vulture. “But when you’re doing it across multiple timelines and various different realities, it’s really tough.”
The future of the show had been in doubt owing to issues surrounding the rights to Black Mirror. These occurred when Brooker and Jones left their production company to start another, but the rights remained with their previous company.
Brooker himself also revealed that the pandemic had left him wondering if audiences wanted to be confronted with the kind of tales the show is famous for.
“At the moment, I don’t know what stomach there would be for stories about societies falling apart, so I’m not working away on one of those," he told the Radio Times. "I’m sort of keen to revisit my comic skill set, so I’ve been writing scripts aimed at making myself laugh.”
While you wait for season six to arrive, here are five of the best Black Mirror episodes to re-watch…
The episode created a terrifyingly realistic world in which every person’s interaction, facial expression and word is rated by other people to either raise their social status or turn them into pariahs.
A look at a social media user’s desperate clamour for validation via likes, the episode was co-written by The Office’s Rashida Jones and Michael Schur. It starred Bryce Dallas Howard as Lacie, a young woman whose life spirals out of control when she allows herself to experience human emotions.
If you thought the cop in Terminator 2 was relentless, the killer robot dogs in Metalhead leave him standing.
Shot in black and white, which adds to the bleakness of the landscape, the shortest episode of Black Mirror is a fast-paced, post-apocalyptic journey, with an ending that offers zero respite or comfort.
Oscar-nominee Jesse Plemons stars in this episode, which melds Star Trek nostalgia with modern gaming and the sexist culture that surrounds it.
By day, Plemons is Robert Daly, a gaming company head honcho disliked by his co-workers. By night, plugged into his gaming console at home, he is Captain Daly, commanding a starship on which he has replicated and trapped his co-workers using their DNA, forcing them to bend to his will while embarking on B-grade intergalactic adventures.
Before she was Shuri in Black Panther, Letitia Wright earned an Emmy nomination for her role as Nish in the Black Museum episode.
When Nish stops by a remote, roadside museum, it appears that she’s just killing time, wandering around the crime-related exhibits. But when the museum owner introduces her to an interactive exhibit in which she can electrocute a hologrammatic prisoner over and over again, it becomes clear Nish isn’t there by chance.
“Everywhere you look, people are hooked on the things!” yells Andrew Scott’s Chris Gillhaney, in a searing anti-mobile phone tirade.
In a bid to get to the bottom of a friend’s teenage daughter’s suicide, Gillhaney takes an employee of social media company Smithereen hostage, and demands to speak to the chief executive, Billy Bauer (Topher Grace).
In his attempt to extract from Bauer an admission that Smithereen is harmful and addictive, Gillhaney becomes the very thing he is railing against — he goes viral.