The British TV series, Black Mirror, lives in my top five all-time favs. It has also been a most divisive show and one I spend a lot of time defending. It’s also the only show I’ve ever had to devise a recommendation on how best to consume.
Here’s the deal. Now that the show is into it’s 4th season, and second on Netflix, the trick to Black Mirror – each episode is a stand alone story unrelated to any of the others – is better understood. Before the show appeared on Netflix, it was far more niche and unknown, so people would go into the show as you would with any serialized show: Start with episode one and go from there.
This is where many people unknowingly fell victim.
I’ve always assumed the show’s creator, Charlie Booker, did this on purpose but Season 1/Episode 1 – titled, “The National Anthem” is a story containing a rather shocking and disturbing plot line. While it’s clever in its own very macabre and “ick” way, it’s one that has turned many people off from watching any of the other episodes. I’ve always found that really disappointing because what is to come in future episodes – especially in Seasons 1 & 2 – is some of the very best television i’ve ever watched.
What makes Black Mirror great is the fact stories are set in a “near future” and the technology is presented in a manner that seems totally foreseeable in our lifetimes. Unlike most traditional sci-fi, Black Mirror is filled with stories that will freak you out, not because of scary monsters but because of the potential impact technology could have in our lives, and in many ways already does.
If you’ve yet to dive into the series, I wholly recommend you do. My advice is to watch The National Anthem last. Go consume the other 18 episodes first, and then end with it. Now, you may watch it and report back it was no big deal to you. Like me, you may find many of the other plots to be far more disturbing in their own way. But in an effort to help avoid friends and family missing out on what I think is high entertainment – this has been my long running recommendation.
All of the episodes are available on Netflix. If you chose to pass on my advice and do watch that episode first, only to scramble to turn it off, never to return to another Black Mirror episode again, don’t say I didn’t warn you.