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Time to reflect: Five top Black Mirror episodes

tv show netflix

After a surprise teaser promises a new season CONSTANTINOS PSILLIDES looks back on the best so far

Netflix fans were greeted with a most fantastic surprise this week, as the celebrated and massively successful series Black Mirror dropped an unexpected teaser, promising a June release! Four years after the end of season 5, the British anthology series created by Charlie Booker is set to return with the most explosive season yet. There’s no lack of star power, as Aaron Paul, Salma Hayek, Josh Hartnett, Kate Mara, Rob Delaney, Rory Culkin and Zazie Beetz are just a few of the stars of season 6.

In an interview, Booker said this season was “the most unpredictable one yet”, teasing that the show will “reinvent itself”. Black Mirror – the name comes from the black screen of your mobile – is a dark, bleak, tech-themed sci-fi series mostly taking place in the very near future, with each episode examining how a specific technology shapes people’s lives.

With the acclaimed series creeping back into our lives, we thought that a rewatch would be a must! Here are our suggestions for the five best episodes in the series! If you want to see all the episodes (and you should), you can stream them on Netflix.

The National Anthem (Pilot)
British Prime Minister Michael Callow is facing an uphill battle: his ratings are sliding, and he is faced with the prospect of losing his re-election bid. Everything changes when a royal family member is kidnapped, as the kidnapper agrees to let his victim go only if Callow performs a grotesque, heinous act on live TV. In the beginning, the prime minister is against it. But, as time passes and pressure mounts, he will face an impossible dilemma.
How far will politicians go to gain popularity and the people’s adoration? Is there a limit to the depravity of television? A pilot sets the tone for the series, and it is usually a slap in the face when it comes to controversial ones. National Anthem is a round-house kick in the head delivered by a young Jeanne Claude Van Damme on enough steroids to kill a horse. If you make it through the pilot, you know this series is for you!

White Christmas
Jon Hamm and Rafe Spall are stationed in a remote outpost with only each other for company. The two men discuss how they got there and how a technology allowing people to ‘block’ certain people from seeing them led them there. The story is told through a series of interconnected plot lines leading to a heart-breaking, bleak finale.
White Christmas is one of the best Black Mirror episodes and is definitely worth the watch! How does isolation affect people? How long is anyone willing to go for family?

Nosedive
Bryce Dallas Howard stars in the first episode of the third season, one that, more than any other Black Mirror episode, comes closer to becoming real life.

Lacie lives in a world where everyone has a social rating; the higher you are, the more benefits you receive. Each person’s rating depends on those given by others, creating an artificial, phoney world where everyone is courteous not because they mean it but because they don’t want to be downgraded. The episode highlights the potential consequences of allowing our self-worth to be defined by others and how social media can amplify our most profound insecurities.
How important is our self-image? How do we function in a society where our social media presence defines our very existence? And, more importantly, how do we stop this from becoming a reality?

Crocodile

A pair of friends accidentally commit a crime when they are young but avoid jail by hiding the evidence. Fifteen years later, one of them decides to come clean, burdened by a guilty conscience, which doesn’t go down well with the other friend. It doesn’t go down well at all. Crocodile is an episode that plays somewhat differently than all the others, mostly resembling a police procedural. This one delivers blow, after blow, after blow, leaving viewers in shock.
How far are you willing to go to keep your past hidden? How much are you ready to sacrifice? And are you willing to do the unthinkable?

San Junipero

Initially set in the 1980s, San Junipero tells the story of two women who fall in love over decades in a world that is much, much more than it looks. This episode explores consciousness, the afterlife, AI and whether or not love can transcend time. It is incredibly heart warming, thought provoking and unlike every other episode in this black tar pit of a series, it has a happy ending!


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