BLACK MIRROR Season Three
released OUT NOW! 2016 | 15 | sVOd Creator Charlie Brooker Cast Mackenzie davis, alex lawther, Bryce davies Howard, Charles Babaloia
netflix Fans might have felt trepidation at Charlie Brooker’s tech-nightmares show leaving spiritual home Channel 4 behind for the wider horizons of Netflix. Thankfully the results are a triumph. Season three feels like a faithful continuation of what came before, but also, thanks to slicker production values and a more high-profile roster of talent, a significant progression.
Satisfyingly, it sees Brooker exploring a greater variety of setting, format and tone. Sure, season three still has that darkly bitter Black Mirror tang, and an episode like “Shut Up & Dance” could slot seamlessly into any series. Others, however, feel like quite a departure. Retro romance “San Junipero” is genuinely heartwarming, to the point where you could argue it has a feelgood ending. The calamitous farce of social media dystopia “Nosedive” (surely inspired by app Peeple?) is as close to this series has come to out-and-out comedy. And if you charged people to watch feature-length police-procedural “Hated In The Nation” in cinemas, few would feel short-changed.
Adding these extra flavours was a smart move, because there are moments where you could just begin to feel that Black Mirror is retreading old ground. The themes of “Hated In The Nation” overlap with series one’s “The National Anthem”. And “Shut Up & Dance” shares its high concept with simply scores of DTV horrors.
But these are pretty petty gripes. Even a slightly less successful episode like VR-game tale “Playtest” – which promises a kick-out-the-jams horror romp it never quite delivers – is by turns intriguing, haunting and gross. There isn’t really a weak link to be found across these six instalments – and how many anthology shows can you say that about? Ian Berriman
Brooker says “Hated In The Nation” might get a follow-up: “I’ve sort of figured some characters from that could recur.”
“Wow, @ianberriman’s tweets are so funny.”