Black Mirror’s not-so-subtle inflexions about the ailments of the world today have made it one of the most enduring series of the modern era. So what happens when you are under pressure to deliver six episodes of scathing, on-the-nose social commentary reflecting the latest tech trends of today? You usually become part of the very thing you mock, that’s what.
Perhaps this is the reason why Season 6 feels very different from previous seasons, almost like this is a redefining moment for the Black Mirror series. This is all the more apparent in the first episode, Joan is Awful, which is essentially a not-so-subtle dig at Netflix and the algorithm-obsessed world of today. In some way, we can view it as the show trying to dodge the pitfalls of being part of that very system.
The second, Loch Henry, turns its eye onto us and our penchant for salacious stories and the true cost and repercussions of exposés. It matches the tone of the first episode and cleverly segues into a thriller sans the science bits. Beyond the Sea shakes it all up again as the most futuristic episode of the bunch, exploring the complexities of an Avatar-like future and space exploration.
Mazey Day instantly boots us back to the mid-2000s and into the great company of paparazzi and the dog-eat-dog relationship of the celebrity media circus, before ending in explosive fashion with Demon 79. The last episode is set in 1979 and is closer to fantasy and horror than it is to science fiction, and it zeroes in on a moral dilemma that Nida (Singaporean Laurence Olivier winner Anjana Vasana) must face.
Season 6 does a decent job of reinventing the series–it still fits the theme of dark stories that serve as a reflection of societal issues and vastly expands the canvas that once kept to the realm of science fiction. I’m sure fans will be torn between this and the other perspective that Black Mirror is diluting its identity. While the season turned out to be mostly highs, Mazey Day’s twist demonstrates how things can stray into Twilight Zone territory, and not in a satisfying way. After all, these are ultimately stories about the human condition, told in a different context. That said, despite a few rough edges, it augurs well for fans who want the series to continue; it’s not going anywhere without a fight.
- Black Mirror Season 6 - 7.5/107.5/10
Black Mirror Season 6
Black Mirror’s reinvention is subtle and may well be necessary for the longevity of the series. No classics here, but this season proves that the transition works and Season 7 might be worth waiting for.