Within the three years since Black Mirror’s earlier (and considerably disappointing) season, we have lived by means of a world pandemic, watched a US president set off a mob assault on the Capitol, and AI has gone mainstream. We’re barreling in direction of the long run quicker than ever, however loneliness stays a key challenge in fashionable life. What higher time for Charlie Brooker to convey again his feel-bad sequence for an additional season?
In 2019, I argued that Brooker was operating out of issues to say with the present, regardless of his deft potential to foretell our tech-infused dystopia with Black Mirror’s first few seasons. One thing was misplaced along with his transition to Netflix, which led to greater budgets and extra notable stars, however much less of the sharp perception that made the present so memorable. (At the least we acquired “San Junipero,” although.) Fortunately, just a few years away from the undertaking appears to have helped. Season six of Black Mirror, which hit Netflix on June fifteenth, is the sequence at its greatest: Surprising, incisive and sometimes hilarious. It additionally finds new life by trying again into the previous steadily, in addition to exploring horror extra instantly than earlier than.
Minor spoilers forward of Black Mirror season six.
“Joan is Terrible” is the right option to kick off the brand new season – it is essentially the most stereotypical Black Mirror setup. A disaffected massive tech HR employee is shocked to discover a present on Streamberry (an apparent Netflix stand-in) that recounts her day by day life. That features the cringeworthy layoff of a colleague (and supposed pal), and a therapist appointment the place she reveals she’s dissatisfied together with her fiance.
It is a relatable Millennial malaise setup, the kind of factor Charlie Brooker captured so properly early on within the sequence. Joan, performed by Schitt’s Creek star Annie Murphy, says she would not really feel like a important character in her personal life, so she coasts by means of the whole lot on autopilot, nearly all the time taking the best and fewer confrontational choice. You’d suppose that it will be unlawful for a community to simply recount her life for all of its subscribers — seems, she ought to have learn the Phrases of Service extra carefully.
I will not spoil the place, precisely, that episode goes, or the acquainted faces you find yourself seeing. However because the twists revealed themselves and it reached its inevitable bonkers conclusion, I could not assist however smile. It was like Charlie Brooker shouting at me by means of the display screen, “Black Mirror is again, child!”
What’s really stunning, although, is that this season of the sequence additionally feels refreshing within the methods it veers away from what we anticipate. “Loch Henry” is an enchanting exploration of our obsession with true crime dramas, and the affect they’ll have on the individuals affected by these tales. However other than the presence of Streamberry as a service thirsty for true crime narratives, the story is extra cultural than know-how criticism.
Positive, we have now extra instruments than ever to make true crime documentaries – there is a drone getting used to make sweeping aerial pictures, and the digital cameras are completely suited to taking pictures in dimly lit basements – however the need to inform and eat these tales is solely human. And in terms of macabre drama we will not assist ourselves.
Black Mirror additionally positive factors some recent perspective by exploring the previous — or no less than, timelines with out smartphones and ubiquitous quick mobile web. “Past the Sea” is a sublime but brutal story set in 1969, specializing in two astronauts on a deep house mission who additionally wirelessly management mechanical our bodies again on Earth. The episode is much less inquisitive about how any of that tech works — simply settle for the thriller, of us — and extra about the way it impacts these astronauts, their households and society as a complete.