Human World

Media we love: Black Mirror, a dystopian sci-fi TV series

Season 6 trailer for Black Mirror.

Lia De La Cruz recommends Black Mirror

In the latest season of Black Mirror, released on June 15, 2023, creator Charlie Brooker returns with a renewed sense of creativity and a fresh perspective on our potentially dystopian future. Indeed, each episode feels like a movie outright, with different characters and a new storyline, similar to The Twilight Zone. And while technology plays a supporting role, the series is all about human behavior. It explores the various ways we’re likely to respond to our changing environment.

Aptly named Black Mirror, viewers are encouraged to see themselves on the screen and look inward. In my personal opinion, it’s a most palatable sense of horror that everyone should treat their eyes to witness.

A familiar take on fresh ideas

The season opener, “Joan is Awful,” follows a disenchanted corporate employee. She discovers a show on a streaming platform that recounts her daily life. It’s a classic Black Mirror stage, exploring themes of identity, surveillance and the consequences of technology. This episode harks back to the show’s earlier successes, even treating fans to Easter eggs, such as the song “Anyone Who Knows What Love Is” from season one.

But what sets this season apart is its willingness to explore different genres and time periods. In episode two, “Loch Henry,” screenwriters use VHS tapes to dive into society’s obsession with true crime dramas, examining their impact on the people involved.

Brooker also ventures into the past with “Beyond the Sea,” set in 1969. This episode follows two astronauts on a deep space mission who remotely control artificial clones on Earth. It effectively delves into societal norms, gender dynamics and the human experience. Overall, it highlights the show’s ability to tell thought-provoking stories without relying solely on futuristic technology.

“Mazey Day,” the season’s fourth episode, takes the audience through the life of a young paparazzi photographer. This episode skillfully captures the technological advancements of the time while incorporating an old-school flair. It suggests that our exploitative nature has persisted since the conception of cameras.

Surprisingly, this season of Black Mirror also embraces pure horror with the finale, “Demon 79.” Without heavy technological elements, it pays homage to ’70s horror films. Brooker calls it the “Red Mirror,” suggesting viewers should direct their eyes from screens and find their reflection in a metaphorical pool of blood instead.

Life imitates art

Brooker and the show writers have succeeded in delivering a shocking, canny and perhaps prophetic collection of episodes. The episodes capture the essence of what made the show so captivating in its early seasons. Black Mirror remains an outstanding example of how life imitates art, and is a treasure – or a cautionary tale – for anyone who watches it today.

Media we love! EarthSky Editors share their favorite Earth- and space-based books, TV shows, movies, games, podcasts, YouTube videos and more.

Bottom line: In this installment of Media We Love, EarthSky writer Lia De La Cruz recommends Black Mirror, a TV series that taps into the collective unease about the modern world.

June 22, 2023
Human World

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