Netflix announced today that season 4 of Black Mirror will premiere on the service on December 29th, 2017, and it’s been slowly drip-feeding fans teasers for season 4 in anticipation. Charlie Brooker’s Twilight Zone-esque anthology series, which originated on Britain’s Channel 4, offers different tales of modern horror, told through the lens of technologies or societies gone wrong.
As of season 3, Netflix had taken over production, and has exclusive streaming access. Very little information has been released about each episode, though we now have all six episode teasers and a series trailer to dig through. Once again, all the new episodes revolve around some nightmare scenario. As Brooker himself put it at a preview event in October, that dynamic has ensured his fans are constantly feeding him story seeds: “I’m immediately alerted to any horrible development in the world. People email me and tweet me about it, saying ‘This is very Black Mirror!’ Oh, thank you so much!”
“Crocodile,” directed by The Road's John Hillcoat, takes place in Iceland, in a future where memories are no longer private. As Kiran Sonia Sawar notes, however, “memories can be subjective,” and they’re hardly a perfect record of events. The show has played with the idea of publicly displayed memories before, in the episode “The Entire History of You.” But “Crocodile” seems more interested in how they can be twisted.
“Arkangel” is parenting à la Black Mirror, wherein a kid wandering off a playground is clear proof that “the key to good parenting is control,” which means punching needles directly into children’s temples. Sure! Everything will be fine. Jodie Foster directed this episode, which stars La La Land’s Rosemarie DeWitt.
Hang the DJ
With “Hang the DJ,” Black Mirror is finally tackling the occasional nightmare that is online dating. In this episode’s futuristic world, a dating app (or “system,” as they call it) not only decides who you can date, but decides when your relationship will expire. Georgina Campbell (Broadchurch), Joe Cole (Peaky Blinders), and George Blagden (Versailles) star in the episode, which is directed by Tim Van Patten (Boardwalk Empire, Game of Thrones).
Clearly based around a Star Trek spoof, “USS Callister” stars How I Met Your Mother’s Cristin Milioti, adorned with big hair and trying her best to adjust to space life. The episode also features Jesse Plemons (Fargo, Breaking Bad), Michaela Coel (Chewing Gum), and Jimmi Simpson (Westworld). If Miloti’s eye-roll in the teaser is anything to go off of, there’s some campy self-awareness to go with the inevitable dark future of misused technology here.
“Metalhead,” the series’s first strictly black-and-white episode, is directed by David Slade of Breaking Bad and American Gods fame, and it sets up a sinister world plagued by “dogs,” clearly not of the Good Boy variety. Maxine Peake’s character appears to be running from a killer robot dog that’s more Boston Robotics than Aibo.
In the Black Museum, the owner and proprietor promises that “If [an object] did something bad, chances are, it’s in here. There’s a sad, sick story behind most everything here.” And obviously he’s going to tell some of those sick, sad stories. The episode, directed by Colm McCarthy, stars Douglas Hodge, Letitia Wright, and Babs Olusanmokun.
And the season trailer
Finally, here’s the full-season trailer, which combines footage from all six new episodes into a definitive statement about Black Mirror itself: happiness is fleeting, the world is scary, but everything happens for a reason. The reasons are usually just creepy ones that say a lot about humanity’s inherent failings.