As far as anthology series go, Black Mirror is one of the few and, of those few, it’s one of the best. Over the first three seasons, the show established itself as smart, haunting, and relevant. It did exactly what the genre of science fiction is supposed to do: By using what might seem to be impossibly futuristic or fantastical plot devices, Black Mirror examined real elements of modern culture and society and created a commentary on those elements. It raised questions about life as we know it and what the future might have in store for us. Most importantly, though, it was just a fun show to watch. You didn’t have to be a rabid consumer of sci-fi content to enjoy it, either. The first three seasons presented engaging stories about interesting characters, steeped in drama and mystery. Each episode made for a unique experience that I honestly believe could hook in just about anyone with a pulse.
Season Four As A Whole
So, does the new season live up to its predecessors? The short answer: Yes. The long answer is that season four is very good and definitely on par with those that came before. However, while the mood and tone is generally consistent with past seasons, the current round also contains some of the funniest entries in the series to date. It’s a little more ‘tongue-in-cheek’, which works well and adds texture to what had previously been a relatively smooth sheen of self-seriousness. That’s not to say that there aren’t a couple of episodes that don’t have an ounce of lightheartedness to spare. In fact, the humor of this season is complimented by some the darkest stories in the entire compilation as well.
Black Mirror‘s major themes are spectacle and surveillance, which are presented through varying methods, or seen from different angles, in each subsequent season. In season four, there is a strong focus on the sentient experiences of things that were themselves meant to be experienced through entertainment, spectatorship or social function. There’s a very apparent sense of concern for the perception of the spectacle itself, now questioning not just how cameras and computers might one day change our lives, or our perspectives, but how life and perspective might evolve from within the camera, within the computer. It’s difficult to elaborate without giving too much away and I use that metaphor as a very broad generalization of season four, not to say that every episode subscribes to that formula. Frankly, one of my favorite plots has almost nothing to do with the aforementioned concept at all.
That said, and given that each episode ultimately has its own plot and themes (all crafted by a different director, cast and crew) it’s hard to thoroughly review season four of Black Mirror without breaking down each episode individually. If you enjoyed the first three seasons, you will very likely enjoy the fourth. If you’re looking for something new and interesting to binge on and you haven’t seen Black Mirror yet, I’d recommend catching up on the previous episodes and then checking out the new ones. It’s definitely worth your time.
Rating – 9/10
Black Mirror – Season 4 is now streaming on Netflix.
Stay tuned for a more in-depth review of season four of Black Mirror, with spoilers and detailed analyses for each episode.