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Black Mirror season 6: exploring Netflix’s sci-fi anthology, one episode at a time

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After a hiatus of a few years — season 5 premiered back in 2019 — Black Mirror is back, with a five-episode season that’s streaming now on Netflix. As always, this season is an anthology, with each episode exploring different ways technology could impact our lives (usually for the worse). Or, you know, exactly the kind of thing The Verge staff is really into. Because each episode stands on its own, we’ll be exploring them individually, with different writers tackling different stories. There are five episodes in total — “Joan Is Awful,” “Loch Henry,” “Beyond the Sea,” “Mazey Day,” and “Demon 79” — and you can keep up with all of our coverage right here.

  • Netflix might have missed the point when it created a Streamberry experience online.

    In the latest season of Black Mirror the show pointedly goes after streaming services for their growth at all costs approach to entertainment with the creation of the Netflix parody, Streamberry. Now Netflix, which produces Black Mirror, has created a Streamberry website full of weird riffs on Black Mirror episodes.

    If its anything like the Black Mirror version of Streamberry I wouldn’t suggest uploading an picture of your face until you check those Terms of Service.



  • Black Mirror’s ‘Joan is Awful’ shits all over the future of streaming

    A white woman, with her hair in pigtails, looking haggard, sits on a couch in sweats and the top of a cheerleader uniform.
    Annie Murphy gets a little filthy and very funny as she fights for a better future for streaming.
    Photo by Nick Wall / Netflix

    Right now in Hollywood, the screenwriters of the Writers Guild of America are on strike. And one reason they’re on strike is the fear that AI will take their jobs, churning out mediocre content quickly and cheaply that helps streamers’ bottom lines even if it doesn’t contribute much culturally speaking. (Disclosure: The Verge’s editorial staff is represented by the Writers Guild of America East.) Actors have also announced an intent to strike, and one reason is their desire to preserve the rights to their own likenesses, so streamers can’t build digital facsimiles that do all the work with none of the pay. Directors are voting on their own contract, with some, like The Matrix’s Lilly Wachowski and SpartacusSteven DeKnight, vocally expressing concern over the contract’s language concerning AI.

    They all are worried that in Hollywood’s bid to provide cheap infinite content to snap up all our subscription dollars, they’ll be replaced by computers and see their own industries devastated. And in the sixth season of Black Mirror, creator Charlie Booker envisions a world where it’s not just actors, writers, and directors that get wrecked by AI — but the people watching at home, too.

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  • Black Mirror’s ‘Mazey Day’ is a brisk, bloody bite of celebrity crisis

    A still photo of Zazie Beetz in Black Mirror.
    Image: Netflix

    As Black Mirror episodes have continued to balloon to the size of full-blown movies, season 6’s “Mazey Day” is almost refreshing: it’s a compact 40 minutes that rushes by in a fit of flashing lights. It’s a story about celebrities and their unhealthy and often dangerous relationship to the press — the paparazzi, in particular. It’s fun but, because it moves so quickly, its premise ultimately isn’t explored with much nuance.

    “Mazey Day,” from director Uta Briesewitz, is about two characters living in parallel who inevitably clash. To start, there’s Bo (Zazie Beetz), a paparazzi living in LA who is starting to question her place among her seedy and often desperate colleagues, wondering if a more honest living is the better route. Meanwhile, starlet Mazey Day (Clara Rugaard) is shooting a film in Europe but struggling with substance abuse and an I Know What You Did Last Summer type of situation. When Day abruptly returns to Hollywood, she goes into hiding — making her photo a very valuable commodity.

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  • Black Mirror’s ‘Loch Henry’ can’t decide whether to indulge in true crime or critique it

    Davis (Samuel Blenkin) and Pia (Myha’la Herrold) standing on a beach using a drone.
    Davis (Samuel Blenkin) and Pia (Myha’la Herrold) in “Loch Henry.”
    Image: Netflix

    Black Mirror is known as a series about the dangers of technology, but it’s often more specifically about the corrupting influence of entertainment. Spectatorship makes us cruel, the show suggests over and over, turning other humans’ real pain into fodder for our own amusement. The sixth season episode “Loch Henry” fits into this dynamic but in a way that feels surprisingly anemic, neither exploring the potential ugliness of its premise nor developing characters who transcend it.

    At the beginning of “Loch Henry,” Davis (Samuel Blenkin) is a film student returning home with his girlfriend Pia (Myha’la Herrold). It’s supposed to be a brief stopover; they’re planning, to the bemusement of everyone but Davis, a documentary about a man who guards eggs from poachers. Then Pia discovers the nigh-deserted town was the home of a serial killer named Iain Adair. It’s an opportunity to make a film people will actually watch, perhaps on the lucrative video platform Streamberry, known for its wealth of true crime shows. And Adair’s crimes were indirectly uncovered by Davis’ father, a local police officer — so there’s a personal angle to sell.

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  • Black Mirror’s ‘Beyond the Sea’ is a slow-motion tragedy in the depths of space

    An image of actor Aaron Paul at a board of 1960s spaceship controls.
    Aaron Paul as Cliff in “Beyond the Sea.”
    Image: Nick Wall / Netflix

    “Beyond the Sea” is the rarest breed of Black Mirror episode: the kind driven by empathy. Carried by a cast that includes Aaron Paul, Josh Hartnett, and Kate Mara, it’s equal parts character study and Twilight Zone creeping horror — a story focused less on the series’ typical social commentary than on three people whose impossible situation leads to an inevitably tragic end.

    The episode is set in an alternate 1969 where two astronauts are midway through a six-year mission. Although their bodies are stuck in a cramped spacecraft, they spend most of their time inhabiting a pair of lifelike telepresence “replicas” on Earth. David (Hartnett) maintains an idyllic life with his wife and two children, taking his Neil Armstrong-esque celebrity graciously. Cliff (Paul) has a far more brittle relationship with his taciturn son and his lonely wife Lana (Mara), who he’s uprooted to live in a remote farmhouse. The mission proceeds smoothly until a horrific tragedy destroys David’s family and his replica. And to keep him from despair, Cliff lets David begin taking short jaunts in his body back home.

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  • Black Mirror’s ‘Demon 79’ is a stressful slice of supernatural horror

    A still photo of Anjana Vasan in Black Mirror.
    Image: Netflix

    While Black Mirror started out as a series exploring the myriad terrifying ways technology could impact our lives, it has since grown into a more general genre anthology. It’s nice when episodes have that techno focus, but it’s no longer a necessity. Case in point: “Demon 79,” a season 6 story that’s pure classic horror homage. Its premise wouldn’t be out of place in a collection like Tales From the Crypt or Cabinet of Curiosities. But don’t let the lack of Black Mirror-ness dissuade you — this episode is a blast of Hitchcockian scares with just the right kind of twist.

    “Demon 79” — which was directed by Toby Haynes and written by Ms. Marvel’s Bisha K. Ali and Black Mirror creator Charlie Brooker — is centered on Nida (Anjana Vasan), a woman living a quiet, boring life in a small town in 1970s northern England. She works as a clerk at a shoe shop, doesn’t drink or ever really go out, and is constantly subjected to overt racism from her co-workers: a boss asking her to eat lunch somewhere else because of the smell or a fellow clerk openly reading anti-immigration pamphlets at work. She never speaks up for herself, just meekly goes about her day. But she has sharp, violent fantasies about murdering those who wrong her, including a local creep who’s become infamous for strangling his wife.

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  • ChatGPT wrote a Black Mirror episode.

    The results, according to creator and showrunner Charlie Booker, were “shit”. The product it spit out amounted to a mashup of previous Black Mirror synopses, Booker tells Empire, though it did help him spot some of the clichés in his previous work.

    South Park actually did a ChatGPT-cowritten episode in its most recent season, FWIW. It was pretty funny, but “shit” would also be an appropriate term.

  • Emma Roth

    May 31

    Emma Roth

    Black Mirror’s sixth season hits Netflix on June 15th

    Black Mirror’s sixth season will land on Netflix on June 15th. The streamer revealed the release date in a new trailer on Wednesday, which gives us a more detailed look at what to expect from the mind-bending series, as opposed to the teaser we saw last month.

    The upcoming installment will consist of five new episodes, including one where a woman realizes that a streaming platform that looks — and sounds — a lot like Netflix created an adaptation based on her life. This particular story is called “Joan Is Awful” and stars Schitt’s Creek’s Annie Murphy as well as Michael Cera and Salma Hayek.

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  • Netflix’s sixth season of Black Mirror will be out in June, and here’s the first teaser

    We knew a sixth season of Netflix’s Black Mirror was on the way, but now, we know a lot more about it: a new teaser trailer shared Wednesday reveals that the season will be out in June and features big actors like Aaron Paul, Kate Mara, and Salma Hayek.

    In a blog post, Netflix is promising that the season will be the show’s “most unpredictable” yet. The company isn’t saying why that is just yet, but a quote from Charlie Brooker, the show’s creator, sheds a bit of light on what you can look forward to.

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  • Black Mirror’s coming back for a sixth series

    Will Poulter as Colin Ritman.
    Will Poulter as Colin Ritman.
    Image: Netflix

    No matter how much time passes between Black Mirror’s seasons, the series always manages to feel just as unsettlingly prescient as when it first began airing. It isn’t exactly surprising that Netflix is working on yet another installment of the tech-focused dystopian series, but it seems as if our next taste of Black Mirror’s going to be a little different than what we’ve seen before.

    Variety reports that Netflix has greenlit Black Mirror and is currently in pre-production for its sixth series — the details for which are largely being kept quiet. Unlike the interactive Black Mirror: Bandersnatch and fifth series that came before it, Black Mirror’s anthological sixth series is reported to consist of more episodes and be more “cinematic in scope,” which is likely a sign of the show taking even bigger swings. There’s currently no word on when Black Mirror’s sixth season is set to begin production.

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