Black Mirror (TV series)
|Created by||Charlie Brooker|
|Country of origin||United Kingdom|
|No. of seasons||2|
|No. of episodes||6 (List of episodes)|
|Original channel||Channel 4|
|Picture format||1080i (HDTV)|
|Audio format||Dolby Digital 5.1|
|Original run||4 December 2011– present|
|Related shows||Dead Set
Black Mirror is a British television anthology series created by Charlie Brooker that shows the dark side of life and technology. The series is produced by Zeppotron for Endemol. Regarding the programme's content and structure, Brooker noted, "each episode has a different cast, a different setting, even a different reality. But they're all about the way we live now – and the way we might be living in 10 minutes' time if we're clumsy."
An Endemol press release describes the series as "a hybrid of The Twilight Zone and Tales of the Unexpected which taps into our contemporary unease about our modern world", with the stories having a "techno-paranoia" feel. Channel 4 describes the first episode as "a twisted parable for the Twitter age". Black Mirror Series 1 was released on DVD on 27 February 2012.
Announced on 12 July 2012, the second season began broadcasting on 11 February 2013. Like the first season, it is made up of three episodes with unconnected narratives.
On 9 January 2014, Charlie Brooker announced the third series of the show, confirming at least two more episodes.
Charlie Brooker explained the series' title to The Guardian, noting: "If technology is a drug – and it does feel like a drug – then what, precisely, are the side-effects? This area – between delight and discomfort – is where Black Mirror, my new drama series, is set. The 'black mirror' of the title is the one you'll find on every wall, on every desk, in the palm of every hand: the cold, shiny screen of a TV, a monitor, a smartphone."
According to Brooker (speaking to SFX) the production team considered giving the series some kind of linking theme or presenter, but ultimately it was decided not to do so. "There were discussions. Do we set them all in the same street? Do we have some characters who appear in each episode, a bit Three Colours: Blue/White/Red style? We did think about having a character who introduces them, Tales from the Crypt style, or like Rod Serling or Alfred Hitchcock or Roald Dahl, because most anthology shows did have that ... But the more we thought about it we thought it was a bit weird." 
Black Mirror generated positive reviews, having been credited as being innovative and shocking with twists-in-the-tale reminiscent of The Twilight Zone. Michael Hogan of The Daily Telegraph described the first episode, "The National Anthem," as "a shocking but ballsy, blackly comic study of the modern media." He went on to say that "This was a dementedly brilliant idea. The satire was so audacious, it left me open-mouthed and squealing. Rather like that poor pig."
The series was taken up across much of the world, including Australia, Israel, Sweden, Spain, Poland, Hungary, and China.
The series has become popular and been well received in China, becoming one of the most discussed series in early 2012. User ratings on Douban reach 9.3, higher than most popular American dramas. Many viewers and critics praised the depth of the series. A reporter from The Beijing News thought the programme was "an apocalypse of modern world," "desperate but profound." Another article from the same newspaper thought each story criticised television from different aspects. Xu Wen at The Epoch Times thought the stories reveal modernity's moral turpitude.
Jane Simon of The Daily Mirror newspaper website, mirror.co.uk, said that the second episode of the second series, "White Bear", lacked the "instant emotional tug" of the series opener, "Be Right Back". She went on to say that, a third of the way through the second episode, she had lost hope of it concluding well, "[...] the acting was unbelievable, the script was riddled with horror-film cliches, the violence was a bit over the top [...]", but that by the end "I turned out to be absolutely dead wrong on every single count." She ended the piece with "It’s another work of dark and twisted genius from Mr Brooker."
Martin Saunders in Christianity magazine reported, "These visions of the future really felt like dark but possible realities", and "This is the genius of Black Mirror as a whole – like the great satirists, Brooker isn’t just poking fun at culture but making a deadly serious point."
In August 2014, it was announced that a 80 minute Black Mirror special would appear during the Christmas holidays. The special is set to star Jon Hamm, Oona Chaplin and Rafe Spall, and is promised to be “the most mind-bending episode yet, showcasing three interwoven stories of Yuletide techno-paranoia”. Hamm later elaborated that he "had been a fan of Black Mirror, and Charlie Brooker, because I have a strange predilection for offbeat British things, and this was no exception. It came about in this very odd way, with me asking my agent if I could meet Mr Brooker. I didn't know he was even working on a third series or a Christmas special or anything, it was simply that I really liked his work and really wanted to meet the guy." Hamm will star in three mini-stories, which make up the 90-minute special. One of the stories will explore the concept of 'blocking' people in real life in the same way that you can on social media, while another will delve into a "nightmarish" world of 'smart' technology. The special will be entitled 'White Christmas', and will air on 16 December on Channel 4.
A full synopsis was released by Channel 4: "In a mysterious and remote snowy outpost, Matt (Jon Hamm) and Potter (Rafe Spall), share a Christmas meal together and swap creepy tales of their earlier lives in the outside world. Matt is a charismatic American trying to bring the reserved, secretive Potter out of his shell. Are both men who they appear to be? Along the way we see Jon Hamm offering an unusual form of romantic guidance to an inexperienced young man, watch Oona Chaplin thrust headlong into a nightmarish world of 'smart' gadgetry, and explore what might happen if you could 'block' people in real life, just as you can on Facebook or Twitter. All three stories are bound together into a suitably unsettling whole. Fans of eerie Christmas stories are in for a treat...".
The series won an International Emmy in 2012 for Best TV Mini-Series. International Emmys are for TV shows "produced and initially aired outside the US."
- "Charlie Brooker: the dark side of our gadget addiction". guardian.co.uk (London). 1 December 2011. Retrieved 17 December 2011.
- "Black Mirror - A new drama from Charlie Brooker". Endemol UK. 2011-05-11. Retrieved 2011-11-15.
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- "Chortle: The UK Comedy Guide - Black Mirror will be back... Eventually". Retrieved 17 January 2014.
- Child, Ben (12 February 2013). "Robert Downey Jr to turn episode of Charlie Brooker's Black Mirror into film". The Guardian (London).
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- Michael Hogan (4 December 2011). "Black Mirror: The National Anthem, Channel 4, review". Telegraph Media Group Limited.
- Elsa Keslassy (29 March 2012). "'Black Mirror' sold to 21 territories: Satirical drama premiered on U.K.'s Channel 4". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 17 March 2013.
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- Jane Simon (18 February 2013). "Charlie Brooker's second Black Mirror drama 'White Bear' is another work of dark and twisted genius". MGN Ltd. Retrieved 17 March 2013.
- Martin Saunders (16 March 2013). "Is the future broken?". Christianity. Retrieved 16 March 2013.
- 文白 (2013-03-11). "续集也可如此美好". 信息时报. Retrieved 2013-03-17.
- Dowell, Ben (20 August 2014). "Charlie Brooker's Black Mirror to return for a Christmas special on Channel 4". Radio Times. Retrieved 22 August 2014.
- "Mad Men's Jon Hamm to star in Black Mirror Christmas Special". The Guardian. 29 September 2014. Retrieved 30 October 2014.
- "When is Jon Hamm's Christmas Black Mirror airing". Digital Spy. 26 November 2014. Retrieved 2 November 2014.
- "Jon Hamm in Charlie Brooker's Black Mirror special - first pictures". Digital Spy. 24 November 2014. Retrieved 24 November 2014.
- Matthew Hemley (20 November 2012). "Black Mirror wins at the International Emmy Awards". The Stage Media Company Limited. Retrieved 17 March 2013.
- Black Mirror microsite at Channel 4
- Black Mirror press release from Channel 4
- Black Mirror at the Internet Movie Database