Charlie Brooker’s Black Mirror returns to screens for its third series on October 21, 2016. Now on Netflix, rather than Channel 4, the third series will have six episodes, and will presumably continue to focus on the dark, dystopian consequences of various technologies and societal issues. But what if the series focussed on stuff that actually happened in 2016? Here’s a few ideas for how Brooker could spin real-world events into the show…
1. Naked Attraction
What happened: A dating show launched on Channel 4 this week (July 25), in which the completely naked contestants are judged on the strength of their privates – until the final round, when they get to speak. Complaints poured in after 300 shots of penises were shown in the first episode of a show that is literally called Naked Attraction.
What would happen next in Black Mirror: Brooker wouldn’t just stop at having people being selected for their beach bod. He’d set his dating show in a health-obsessed future society where the contestant could see a rundown of each prospective partner’s medical history. Their selections wouldn’t just be based on them having a good peen: it’d also be about their fertility, the tarriness of their lungs, and the likelihood of them carrying a congenital disorder. And if you got knocked out several times, you’d probably be euthanised, because resources are precious in this dystopia, and medical insurance is expensive.
What happened: 52% of people voted Leave, a vote 54% of those people believed they would not win. Every politician involved with the Leave campaign scarpered: Cameron resigned, Boris Johnson refused to run for PM after being stabbed in the back by Michael Gove, who also dropped out. Opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn faces a poorly timed coup attempt. And Theresa May – who once voted against the repeal of section 28 and wants the UK to withdraw from the European convention on human rights – is now in charge of the country. But still, one month on from the referendum result, we have fuck-all idea of what is actually going to happen.
What would happen next in Black Mirror: Chaos! Riots! Uprising, organised through some futuristic version of Whatsapp. And, because it’s Theresa May (an advocate of the snooper’s charter) police would be able to effectively disrupt those protests with mass surveillance. But, like, futuristic surveillance.
3. Pokémon Go
What happened: Millennials and kids alike became obsessed with a computer game that dared to take them outside into the real world. Like a mix of that paper toss game and Google Maps. Then it turned out the company behind the app was able to access all your emails, Google Drive documents and other data – although the company insisted it wasn’t using that information.
What would happen next in Black Mirror:
As a result of their data-gathering, they would use smart placement of Pokémon spawn points to lure you – under the guise of a cute Pikachu – to places you were more likely to spend money, raking in a share of the profits from commercial partners. The game would also seek to instigate addiction in its players and punish them both psychologically and financially for not playing regularly. Let’s make this more menacing: maybe the game would also create or awaken sleeper agents, or something. Yeah.
4. The ‘kidnapping’ of Marina Joyce
What happened: YouTuber Marina Joyce made a slightly weird advertorial video on July 22, in which it appeared she had bruises on her arms. Fans then discovered clips where guns were in the background of camera shots, zoomed in on the reflection of her eyes to see if a hooded figure was standing in front of her, and investigated medication they saw on her bedside table. Some of these fans – assuming she must have been kidnapped and was being forced to make videos against her will, or to invite fans to an east London location to be mass-murdered by ISIS, they called the police. Of course, nothing of the sort had happened: she was at home with her mum the whole time.
What would happen next in Black Mirror: The fan community would grow more and more concerned. Joyce’s continued assertion that she is ok would only feed their curiosity, until they came to ‘free’ Joyce themselves to make sure that she was indeed fine. The result would be a bit like Stephen King’s Misery, just with the added stalk-factor of the internet, and with way more conspiracy theories.
5. The nomination of Donald Trump
What happened: Terrifyingly, this charlatan is one of the two candidates who can be named President of the United States of America later this year.
What would happen next in Black Mirror: He would attempt to build his wall, he would continue to be a racist, and the whole of North America would tear itself apart as The Trumpettes continue singing their song. This episode would be a bit longer and more explosive than most.