Charlie Brooker’s Black Mirror is as incisive a science fiction show as we’ve ever had. Using technology that’s just slightly ahead of where it is currently, Brooker examines humanity in the age of immediate gratification and social absurdity. He’s gone big since the series moved to Netflix, offering up episodes with a much more grandiose vision and point of view. His most recent one-off movie, “Bandersnatch,” played with the very format of interactive entertainment. But for season five, Black Mirror seems like it’s returning to basics.
The fifth season returns to its three-episode format from its two-season run on the UK’s Channel 4. Netflix recently released individual episode trailers which also point to much more personal stories.
First up is “Smithereens,” starring Sherlock and Fleabag‘s Andrew Scott as a driver who takes a passenger hostage. The passenger works for a tech conglomerate that is apparently taking over the world with its phones and things. Or maybe it’s just in the driver’s head.
Second is “Striking Vipers” which looks the most to me like early Black Mirror episodes like season one’s devastating “The Entire History of You.” In it we find Anthony Mackie feeling a bit removed in his decidedly unsexy marrige to Nicole Baharie. All signs in the trailer point to Mackie’s character heading toward an affair…but maybe it’s just an affair in his mind.
And finally there’s “Rachel, Jack, and Ashley Too,” starring Miley Cyrus. She’s a pop star who lends her voice and personality to a desk robot. It’s not entirely clear from the teaser what’s going on, but it seems like Ashley’s got some emotional and mental issues which may manifest in the robots. Fascinating.
We’re always excited for new Black Mirror. Each episode manages to capture the pulse of modernity in new and troubling ways. Returning to the O-G format has us even more excited.
Black Mirror season five hits Netflix on June 5.