Recently, I just finished watching all episodes of Black Mirror on Netflix. It still seems weird to say it, but I think it’s the best television series I’ve watched in a long time, because it’s one of those series that this opinion didn’t really formulate until I had some time to think about and process the episodes, and then I realize that I’m spending an inordinate amount of time thinking about the show and coming to a slower realization that it really a god damn good show.
I think the best way to describe the show, other than the fact that every episode is pretty self-contained and nobody has to watch them in any particular order, but the stories told, the concepts used, and the twists in the plot, they stick with you. Seriously, the last time a show stuck with me so hard was Parks & Rec, which is a hilarious comparison to make, given the fact that Black Mirror is pretty much the polar opposite of Parks & Rec in almost every conceivable way. Yet I favor both shows tremendously, in spite of their dramatically differing places on the spectrum.
Black Mirror should come with a trigger warning however, because they certainly seem to hit notes on a regular basis that, at least for me, that manages to trigger a fear, anxiety or line of thinking that is part revelation, part discovery, and part oh shit. Regardless of that, I think that’s what makes the show such a unique program, in the fact that they so regularly manage to accomplish those kinds of emotional responses, which I think is ultimately what show creators should aspire to be getting.
If there was any criticism towards the show, I would say that it’s ultimately a kind of depressing show, made even more depressing that it’s based on the “what ifs” of current reality, and the concerns that these plots are all things that could realistically happen if society leaned a little too hard into particular directions. Also, the episode ordering is suspect, because most everyone I’ve ever gushed over the show about seem to say the same thing; that they watched the first episode, which is pretty controversial in its own right, was disgusted by it and swore it off. I must implore that despite agreeing that episode one is pretty morose, it gets tremendously better by episode two, and after the original three episodes, I’m part appalled, part depressed, definitely triggered, but entirely engrossed at how compelling of a show it all is.
The bottom line is that Black Mirror has been the best thing I’ve watched since Parks & Rec. The emotional responses to both couldn’t be more opposite extremes, but there’s no denying that when it came to it, I obsessively ran marathons of both shows, the plots and storytelling stuck with me, and when in social situations I want to do nothing but talk about the show to anyone who’s willing to listen. The one good thing about Black Mirror is, there’s apparently more of it coming, and I’m hoping to be sent back onto this roller coaster of emotions again in the future.