The first trailer for the highly anticipated fifth season of the Netflix sci-fi anthology series black mirror is finally here, and it seems as sharp, darkly satirical and thought-provoking as ever.
(Mildest spoilers for previous seasons and bandersnatch below.)
For the uninitiated, black mirror is the creation of Charlie Brooker, co-showrunner with Annabel Jones. The series explores, shall we say, the dark side of technology and its impact on people’s lives in the near future, and it is in the spirit of classic anthology series such as the twilight zone† Brooker developed black mirror to shed light on topics related to humanity’s relationship to technology, creating stories that address “the way we live now — and the way we could be living in 10 minutes if we were clumsy.” The series debuted on UK Channel 4 in December 2011, followed by a second season. Given its popularity, Netflix acquired the series in 2015 and released extended seasons 3 and 4 in 2016 and 2017 respectively.
Last December, Netflix confirmed rumors of an experimental “choose your own adventure” feature on Netflix with the debut of a standalone one-off. black mirror “event”, dubbed Black Mirror: Bandersnatch† Located in 1984, bandersnatch follows the trials and tribulations of a young programmer named Stefan (Fionn Whitehead), who plans to create an interactive video game based on a fictional choose-your-own-adventure (CYOA) novel, bandersnatch, from a tragic writer named Jerome F. Davies. It’s a great period-specific pick, considering CYOA books were all the rage in the 1980s and 1990s. (Check out our spoiler-y Choose-Your-Own-Opinion review from earlier this year. I called it “a beguiling mix of fantasy and horror that doesn’t take its dark musings over the illusion of free will too seriously.”) [Editor’s note: or you could check out our CYOA “Tentacular, tentacular!” from 2011.]
That CYOA experiment was technically challenging enough to delay season 5 of the regular series. But now we have our first trailer featuring an impressive cast that includes Anthony Mackie, Miley Cyrus, Topher Grace, Damson Idris and Yahya Abdul-Mateen II. Season 5 consists of just three episodes, a return to British roots; personally, I’m in favor of fewer, better episodes on TV in general if that’s what storytelling requires.
The trailer is coy about what exactly each episode will be about, but the potentially sinister influence of an Alexa-esque doll on a lonely teenage girl is one scenario. We also get a glimpse of a married couple whose relationship is on the rocks – perhaps a throwback to the themes explored in S1’s “The Entire History of You”? — where the husband is seduced by the convenience of Tinder-like apps for finding marriageable young women. Miley Cyrus plays (of course) a hugely popular online pop star. We see a man with obvious emotional problems and a gun about to fire in a coffee shop full of people typing on their smartphones. And maybe we’ll get a virtual reality episode Deadly fight kind of game.
black mirror S5 arrives on Netflix on June 5, 2019.
Listing image by YouTube/Netflix