The deeply unsettling dystopian drama Black Mirror began haunting our dreams in late 2011 with its (seemingly not so) farfetched tales of pig-shagging, memory-wiping and the perils of reality TV. Fast forward five years and we're gearing up for another season of its harrowing depictions of how technology is shaping and destroying our lives.
And, with the literal shit show 2016 has been so far, Brooker must have a lot of material banked — especially considering the last episode "White Christmas" aired over 18 months ago!
Let's take a look at everything we know about the upcoming series:
When & Where Can I Watch It?
Black Mirror is to return for a 12 episode season with six installments hitting Netflix on Friday October 21, and a following six presumably landing early next year. It's an interesting move for the anthology show to move to the hallowed streaming site as all episodes will be released at once; but it'll be splendid for a hungover Saturday binge (and inevitable Sunday meltdown due to the impending state of humanity).
However, according to Digital Spy, the straight-to-Netflix approach could be for US viewers only, since in the UK, Channel 4 still has "first-look rights to new episodes." Though with creator Charlie Brooker being a Brit himself, that would be a surefire way to piss off many of his original and die-hard fans. Plus, back when the Netflix deal was announced, he said:
"It's all very exciting - a whole new bunch of Black Mirror episodes on the most fitting platform imaginable. Netflix connects us with a global audience so that we can create bigger, stranger, more international and diverse stories than before, whilst maintaining that Black Mirror feel."
So somehow I doubt that will be a thing, but we'll see.
Unfortunately, due to the nature of the show — with each episode addressing new topics with an entirely different cast — Mr. Hammaconda shan't be returning for Season 3, but fear not! The replacement gang is just as awesome.
The stars studding this upcoming season include Jurassic Park’s Bryce Dallas Howard, Star Trek Into Darkness’s Alice Eve, 22 Jump Street’s Wyatt Russell, The Martian’s Mackenzie Davis and Concussion's Gugu Mbatha-Raw. And, as if that wasn't enough, creator Charlie Brooker has roped in some pretty cool names to co-write episodes too, such as Parks and Rec and The Office US alumni Rashida Jones and Mike Schur, for example, and 10 Cloverfield Lane’s Dan Trachtenberg!
In a series of recently released images courtesy of Netflix, you can check out some of the cast in action:
1. Davis & Mbatha-Raw in an '80s themed episode titled “San Junipero”
2. Davis stands alone in an alleyway
3. Howard clutches a cellphone in an episode titled "Nosedive"
4. Howard amongst other phone-clutchers
What Topics Can We Expect?
As always, Black Mirror will satirize the current situation we find ourselves in (or unwittingly predict the unearthing of dirty Etonian secrets — David Cameron putting his dick in a pig, anyone?) — and luckily for Brooker, 2016 seems to have provided a wealth of inspiration. At the Television Critics Association’s press tour in July, he revealed:
“This year is free publicity for our show. People are always coming up to me and saying ‘That’s a bit Black Mirror’,’ [with] the situation we’re finding ourselves in across the globe. I don’t think there’s anything where we thought we should’ve gone further.”
While I can think of multiple disturbing examples from the last six months alone — the Russian's carrying out a full head transplant, for example, or micro-chipping humans, which by the look of the trailer up top could be a factor anyway — that would be prime Black Mirror fodder, executive producer Annabel Jones shed a little light on what we can expect:
“I think within this series of six, there are a few stories that are maybe much more playful. Challenging, but playful or sarcastic. They're not retribution pieces. I think we're trying to dramatize very contemporary concerns. In our current climate, and with the technological advancement in the last few decades, we're in a sort of place that feels very new and alien, and we're evolving as a species, and we don't quite know how or what the ramifications are yet. So a lot of the stories have that at their heart, a general unease that we haven't yet explored or come to terms with.”
It's already confirmed that Dan Trachtenberg has penned a game-themed episode, however — although this would be brilliant and I suppose not completely unlike the S2E2 "White Bear" — it probably won't be based on Pokémon Go, for Brooker has already said “I didn’t see Pokemon Go coming.”
That said though, if the game continues to take over lives and cause obsessed (and stupid, tbh) players to walk around blindly — stumbling out into the middle of roads and crashing cars into schools, for example, it would make a great addition to next year's six-month installment.
One thing's for sure though: That uneasy, too-close-to-home, wtf, can I leave this planet now please thanks bye feeling will definitely remain.
What matters would you love to see addressed in Black Mirror Season 3?