It took me more time than it should have, but I finally caught up with Black Mirror last week, so I decided to go ahead and do something which will certainly span disagreement. I carefully listed all Black Mirror episodes, and within a couple of minutes, I managed to put them in order from favourite to least favourite. After a bit of shuffling around, I was happy with the top 10, so today I will present you half of it. Oh, and Bandersnatch is not here because I decided not to include it altogether – since it’s quite a different beast of its own.
10. Hang the DJ (Season 4)
This was the upbeat episode of Season 4, and it stood out particularly due to how the vision behind the technology unfolded and developed from a moral standpoint. It is centred alongside a dating programme which puts apparently random expiration dates for relationships, and once one ends, another haphazard pairing commences. It’s an unusual episode if anything else, it borrows bits and pieces from several other similar projects, but still ends up being its own thing.
Keywords: Something much better than Tinder.
9. Smithereens (Season 5)
This was, at least for me, the one saving grace from Season 5. A cab driver takes a multinational’s employee prisoner, and while holding him at gunpoint, requests to speak with the CEO. The episode plays its cards early, and then engages in a smart waiting game which, bit by bit, builds layers of wider meaning. It’s important to pay attention to every little detail, as the entire essence of the episode is encapsulated in such a short and transient scene, that it could easily be missed.
Keywords: We are all zombies by choice.
8. The National Anthem (Season 1)
Well, here’s the episode with which it all started, and still nobody thought to put something similar in practice. Princess Susannah of the United Kingdom is taken prisoner, and the kidnappers demand that the Prime Minister obeys a gruesome request in order to ensure her safe release. Who the PM or the Princess are is less important – what matters most here is what the regular people who are watching this event unfold want.
Keywords: The Internet always wants to see blood.
7. The Entire History of You (Season 1)
Well, this one might soon become reality. The episode is centred around a memory implant that records absolutely everything – names, dates, alongside everything that a person has ever heard or seen. The implications are endless, and it does not take much for all this content to become information overload, and lead to very negative outcomes.
Keywords: Browsing history gone waaay too far.
6. Be Right Back (Season 2)
This episode does not rely on the oldest trick in the book when it comes to an untimely death – bringing the person back to life. Instead, it centres around ‘building’ an artificial intelligence that can access the personal data of the recently deceased in order to mould itself into his or her appearance. However, is the final result a solace for the person’s friends and family, or does it go beyond a line that should not be crossed?
Keywords: Dating a dead AI is complicated.