Black Mirror is a British anthology television series created by Charlie Brooker. Individual episodes explore a diversity of genres, but most are set in near-future dystopias with sci-fi technology a type of speculative fiction. The series is based on The Twilight Zone and uses technology to comment on contemporary social issues. Most episodes are written by Brooker with heavy involvement by the executive producer Annabel Jones. It was confirmed a sixth season of the show.
Each episode is standalone and can be watched in any order. The program is an instance of speculative fiction within science fiction: the majority of episodes are set in dystopian near-futures with novel technologies that exaggerate a trait from contemporary culture, often the internet. An example is “Crocodile”, where the Recaller device used to view a person’s memories is the main difference from the modern world.
Many such technologies involve altering the human body or consciousness, with little in-universe concern for the morality of these actions. They provide convenience or freedom to the user, but exacerbate problematic personality traits. Adrian Martin of Screen wrote that many episodes depict “basic human emotions and desires” that “intersect with, and get twisted by, a technological system that invariably spins out of control and into a catastrophe”. The settings are generally patriarchal and capitalist, and most episodes explore topics associated more with masculinity than femininity. Recurring themes throughout Black Mirror include data privacy and surveillance, virtual reality, individualism, and consumerism. Many episodes have plot twists.
Black Mirror has been met with critical acclaim. On Rotten Tomatoes, the first series received a 98% rating, the second received an 87% rating, and “White Christmas” received an 89% rating. Series three received an 86% rating on Rotten Tomatoes and a score of 82 on Metacritic, series four received an 85% rating on Rotten Tomatoes and a score of 72 on Metacritic, Bandersnatch holds a 73% rating on Rotten Tomatoes and a score of 61 on Metacritic, and series five holds a rating of 68% on Rotten Tomatoes and a score of 65 on Metacritic. According to Víctor Cerdán Martínez of Vivat Academia in 2018, Black Mirror was one of China’s five most-watched Western television series.