Black Mirror: Season 3 Review
Relaxed in my beanbag, hot cup of tea in hand and watching Nosedive, the first episode of Black Mirror’s Season 3. An hour later, and my mouth is as dry as a desert and wide open - my cuppa’ - cold and untouched. People have been wary of technology and gadget addiction for a long time, and the trope of tech running rampant has been seen plenty of times before in film and TV. Yet what makes Charlie Brooker’s tech-era “Twilight Zone” anthology, stand out, is the way it taps into our insecurities of the modern era and merges it with our fear of humanity.Black mirror is known for it’s interesting, self-contained episodes, each with a different cast, premise, tone, genre and world. But this season, Brooker has ramped up the intensity. Each episode feels more fleshed out with a much higher production quality than in previous seasons, thanks to the show being picked up by Netflix. In effect, we end up with six amazing short films, each with a very different tale to tell, and a different fear to invoke.
The main joy and pleasure from every Black Mirror episode comes through anticipation. When will the twist occur? What trail has Brooker laid for us enthusiasts to travel? I remember re-watching Fifteen Million Merits - The second episode from the first season, (and my favourite from that season) with my partner, and her smiling warmly, stating “Aww, he’s in love”. Then watching it melt away, as she realises that this is Black Mirror. We don’t always get happy endings, we get real ones. Which only gets creepier, when we see the reflections of the shows in reality, From the fiasco of “PigGate” and David Cameron following The National Anthem (SE1 Ep1), and now Donald Trump as President, of which many associate the Season 2 episode, The Waldo Moment. Either Brooker is a time traveller, or Black Mirror’s “close-futuristic” themes much closer than we first thought.
Renowned for its incredibly twisted stories of technophobia, and grim reflections of reality, Black Mirror still leaves us wanting more. Though this season does have it’s bleak moments (I won’t spoil anything, but let's just say I never thought the ‘Troll Face’ could be used as an image of retribution), It does have some refreshing moments, with one episode actually having a happy ending (until you dig deeper into the concept of euthanasia). This season is all about variety. Nosedive being a take on The Stepford Wives with an Instagram rating filter. Playtest: a fun horror with Virtual Reality. A teen’s life being hacked and controlled through text message orders in Shut Up and Dance. San Junipero being set in a seaside town in 1987 (So you already know something isn’t right). A look into a futuristic war in Men Against Fire. And my personal favourite of the season (and arguably my favourite story I’ve seen so far this year), Hated in the Nation mixes a detective story with the horrors of social media.
Overall, Season 3 of Black Mirror has smashed my expectations and looks to have happily found it’s new home on Netflix - though it seems only a matter of time until the series does an episode on binge-watching. Executive Producer Annabel Jones has already confirmed that we will be getting more episodes, and I for one can’t wait. Not only to enjoy Brooker’s impeccable storytelling, but for which public figure he’ll predict to rise, or fall to another topical controversy!