Charlie Brooker's Netflix dystopia is back soon
In terms of on-the-nose cultural commentary and doomy messages about our crippling addiction to technology, nothing comes close to Black Mirror. Each episode is a mortifying glimpse into our collective future, and some seemingly outlandish concepts have even come true (David Cameron, we’re looking at you…) The Charlie Brooker creation has an uncanny ability to predict the years ahead. So if you’re looking for a cheat-guide glimpse into 2021, 3021, or a time when we all live on Mars because we had to escape robotic killer bees, you’ll be pleased to know Black Mirror’s coming back very soon for series four.
When is Black Mirror released?
An official date hasn’t been announced yet, but Black Mirror fans are on tenterhooks. Six episodes have been promised, and strong rumours suggest they’ll land in late 2017 or early 2018.
Is there a trailer?
Black Mirror’s return seems imminent thanks to this teaser, aired by Netflix back in August 2017. It reveals titles for each of the six episodes, as well the shortest-possible clips from every future-dystopian nightmare.
What happens in the new episodes?
These are the titles of Black Mirror’s new episodes:
- Hang the DJ
- USS Callister
- Black Museum
In a revealing interview with The Independent, Emmy-winning producer Annabel Jones dropped a few hints about what Black Mirror fans can expect from each episode.
The series opens with a story based in Iceland, taking place in the near future. Jones describes it as a “beautiful, more personal study.” Its plot bears some resemblance to series one episode ‘The Entire History of You’. In both nightmarish tales, old memories can be stored and restored – “dredged up”, in Jones’ words. “We follow Andrea Riseborough, a woman trying to solve a dilemma…,” she says, cryptically.
Jodie Foster (Silence of the Lambs, Panic Room) directs episode two, which takes place in American suburbia. It tackles a modern-day dilemma – how do parents teach their kids to deal with technology responsibly? “I always hope that whatever we tackle, it’s never on the nose and just more in the background but this episode asks how do you be a responsible mother in a world in which you can be all-powerful and omnipresent,” Jones says. She calls the episode a “very human story.”
- Hang the DJ
Although episode three doesn’t directly tackle the world of Tinder and Grindr, Jones admits it’s “pertinent to the contemporary dating scene.” Expect “quite a lot of sex,” a lot more humour than the previous episodes, and a slightly smaller dose of apocalyptic tech gloom. “People will enjoy this one with a little smile,” she says.
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- USS Callister
Fans have been treated to a Star Trek-nodding teaser image (see: top photo) for USS Callister, which already looks like being season four’s most ambitious episode. Jones describes it as a “space opera”, full of CGI, cultural nods and big budget thrills. “It is a romp,” she astutely claims.
We don’t know a great deal about episode five, expect that it’s a Black Mirror first. Metalhead will be the show’s first black-and-white episode. “[…] it feels the creative decision was earned by the world we’re portraying,” Jones says.
- Black Museum
90 minutes long, Black Museum is set to combine three stories into one episode. An epic finale, Jones calls episode six “absolute popcorn,” and an “unrelenting” display of horror. “It was the last we did in terms of shooting,” she adds.
Who stars in the new season?
The cast for Black Mirror season four has been confirmed.
Lead names include Cristin Milioti (The Wolf of Wall Street), Maxine Peake (Three Girls), Georgina Campbell (Broadchurch), Joe Cole (Peaky Blinders) and Owen Teague (Bloodline). Michaela Coel, star of Chewing Gum, appears on USS Callister.
Who is directing the new episodes?
As mentioned above, Jodie Foster takes on directing duties for Arkangel.
John Hillcoat, director of Cormac McCarthy adaptation The Road, is also involved – he directs opening episode Crocodile.
Colm McCarthy has directed six Peaky Blinders episodes, plus episodes of Sherlock and Spooks. He’s directing episode six, Black Museum.
For the sex-fuelled Hang the DJ, legendary director Tim Van Patten is in the chair. He’s previously been behind the lens for The Sopranos and Boardwalk Empire.
British director David Slade has worked on American Gods, Breaking Bad and Hannibal. He’s set to direct Metalhead.
And Toby Haynes gets the season’s biggest job, the space age USS Callister episode. He has experience with outlandish, futuristic concepts, having directed five Doctor Who episodes.
What else can we expect?
The unexpected. Referencing the standout ‘San Junipero’ episode from series three, Charlie Brooker (pictured above with wife Konnie Huq in a pair of fetching Halloween costumes), told a panel at Paley Fest: “I saw someone online complaining that we’d Americanise it now that we’d gone to Netflix, and I thought, ‘OK, fuck you.’ I gave them a happy ending. I was nervous about writing that episode, because it was a different tone. But I realise that that keeps it interesting.”
Producer Annabel Jones, speaking to The Independent, said each episode takes on completely new ground. “I think – and I’m sure Charlie would agree – if we ever got to point where we didn’t feel like we were telling new stories, we’d have to stop.”
Brooker called season four “quite far out,” speaking to Radio Times, noting just how accurate some episodes have been in picturing the future. “Weirdly there was one news story I read the other day that I thought ‘Oh, how does that reflect on an episode we’ve already finished shooting?’” he said. “There was some new discovery made. Hopefully not, but then when writing them I never think any of these are going to come true, and then it seems like some of them do. “
He added: “For this coming season they’re quite far out there so I don’t envisage that being a problem. Although if that does happen the world is really fucked… well, the world is really fucked”, so we’ll see.”
What we do we know about the Black Mirror book?
Season four will be accompanied by the first ever Black Mirror anthology.
Edited by Brooker, the first collection will be released in February 2018 via Penguin Random House.
New York Times bestseller Cory Doctorow, Carnegie-nominated Claire North and Sylvain Neuvel, the author of Sleeping Giants, will pen the first three stories.
Speaking about the upcoming collection, Brooker said: “All-new Black Mirror stories from exciting authors – that’s a joyous prospect. And they’re appearing in a high-tech new format known as a ‘book’.
“Apparently you just have to glance at some sort of ‘ink code’ printed on paper and images and sounds magically appear in your head, enacting the story. Sounds far-fetched to me, but we’ll see.”