By Thomas Gillen
Arts & Entertainment Editor
Like “Arrested Development” and “Longmire,” Netflix has once again produced new episodes of a television series with the British show, “Black Mirror.” Unlike “Longmire” and “Arrested Development,” which were cancelled before Netflix picked them up, “Black Mirror” was simply in a break between seasons when Netflix purchased the rights to the show.
Created by Charlie Brooker, the series was originally broadcast on Channel 4 in the United Kingdom, but was then picked up by Netflix last September for a third season, the first to be produced in the United States, lasting 12 episodes. Those 12 episodes were then split into two seasons, with the first six released on Oct. 21, and the next six airing in 2017. Before being acquired by Netflix, the first seven episodes aired in England from 2011 to 2014, with three episodes over two seasons and a Christmas special.
“Black Mirror” is structured in an anthology format similar to “The Twilight Zone,” each episode acting as a different story with different characters. This show is for viewers who enjoy drama or suspense. Viewers should be warned that the show includes mature themes and some of the episodes can be very intense for all audiences.
Each episode of “Black Mirror” revolves around a piece of current or near-future technology and how that technology can take over people’s lives in positive and negative ways. While technology is usually portrayed in a positive light in the first half of an episode, the second half shows the darker side, as the characters become more and more enamored with its benefits or suffer from its drawbacks.
In the first two seasons, one of the more memorable episodes was called “The Entire History of You,” and revolved around a memory implant placed behind the character’s ears that recorded all aspects of their lives. The implant allowed the characters to replay their memories over their eyes or on a screen for other people to view.
After a man, played by Toby Kebbell, suspects his wife had an affair, the implant begins to take control over his life. The same quality that made the first two seasons so engrossing thankfully transferred over to the third season and resulted in some great episodes.
“Playtest,” starring Wyatt Russell, was one of the best episodes in season three as it tackled the topic of virtual reality. After Russell runs out of money taking a trip around the world, he volunteers in an experimental video game program in order to buy a ticket home.
Once in a horror game, he begins to lose control of his reality as his nightmares come to life. This episode was very relatable because virtual reality is becoming a popular way to produce video games now. Several systems, such as the Oculus Rift and the Samsung Gear VR are currently available in stores, with the PlayStation VR and the Microsoft Hololens releasing within the next year.
Despite only airing 13 episodes, many popular British actors and actresses have taken part in the series. The first two seasons included appearances by Toby Kebbell, Hayley Atwell, Rory Kinnear, and “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” actor Domhnall Gleeson. Jon Hamm even played one of the main characters in the episode “White Christmas,” which was the show’s first and only Christmas special. In season three, new cast members include Bryce Dallas Howard, Malachi Kirby, Alice Eve and Wyatt Russell.
All 13 episodes of “Black Mirror” are available to stream on Netflix. New episodes of will air on Netflix in 2017.