Black Mirror (TV series)
|Created by||Charlie Brooker|
|Country of origin||United Kingdom|
|No. of series||3|
|No. of episodes||7 (List of episodes)|
|Running time||60 minutes (inc. adverts)|
|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." The series has received critical acclaim, and has seen an increase in interest internationally (particularly in the United States) after being added to Netflix. Stephen King, in particular has noted his interest in the series.
In 2013, Robert Downey, Jr. optioned the episode "The Entire History of You" (written by Jesse Armstrong) to potentially be made into a film by Warner Bros. and his own production company, Team Downey.
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."
Conception and development
An Endemol press release described 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.
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."
Announced on 12 July 2012, the second series began broadcasting on 11 February 2013. Like the first series, it is made up of three episodes with unconnected narratives.
On 9 January 2014, Charlie Brooker announced that a third series of the show would be produced, albeit with a slight delay. A 90 minute Christmas special entitled "White Christmas" starring Jon Hamm, Oona Chaplin and Rafe Spall aired on 16 December 2014 on Channel 4.
|Series||Title||Written by||Directed by||Original air date||U.K. viewers
|1||The National Anthem||Charlie Brooker||Otto Bathurst||4 December 2011||2.07|
|1||Fifteen Million Merits||Charlie Brooker & Konnie Huq||Euros Lyn||11 December 2011||1.52|
|1||The Entire History of You||Jesse Armstrong||Brian Welsh||18 December 2011||0.87|
|2||Be Right Back||Charlie Brooker||Owen Harris||11 February 2013||2.01|
|2||White Bear||Charlie Brooker||Carl Tibbetts||18 February 2013||1.69|
|2||The Waldo Moment||Charlie Brooker||Bryn Higgins||25 February 2013||1.28|
|3||White Christmas||Charlie Brooker||Carl Tibbetts||16 December 2014||1.01|
Black Mirror has received critical acclaim from television critics.
The first series has been acclaimed 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.
In its second series, Black Mirror continued to receive acclaim. In his review of the episode "Be Right Back", Sameer Rahim of The Telegraph said "The show touched on important ideas – the false way we sometimes present ourselves online, and our growing addiction to virtual lives – but it was also a touching exploration of grief. To my mind it’s the best thing Brooker has done". Jane Simon of The Daily Mirror newspaper website, 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." The second series is popular in China. Wen Bai at Information Times thought the second series was still "cannily made", and "near perfection".
The Christmas special, White Christmas, received critical acclaim. Ben Beaumont-Thomas of The Guardian praised the comic satire of the episode and noted that "sentimentality is offset with wicked wit, and Brooker’s brio and imagination paper over any gaps in logic". The Daily Telegraph reviewer Mark Monahan gave the episode 4/5 stars noted that the drama was "thrilling stuff: escapist entertainment with a very real-world sting in its tail." Monahan equated the episode with the stronger of the previous Black Mirror episodes, stating that "it exaggerated present-day technology and obsessions to subtle but infernal effect, a nightmare-before-Christmas reminder that to revere our digital gizmos is to become their pathetic slave".
Awards and nominations
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."
- Wortham, Jenna (30 January 2015). "‘Black Mirror’ and the Horrors and Delights of Technology". New York Times. Retrieved 30 January 2015.
- "Charlie Brooker: the dark side of our gadget addiction". guardian.co.uk (London). 1 December 2011. Retrieved 17 December 2011.
- "Black Mirror: Charlie Brooker, Jon Hamm on the dark side of Yuletide". Digital Spy. 14 December 2014. Retrieved 14 December 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 (11 March 2013). "续集也可如此美好". 信息时报. Retrieved 17 March 2013.
- "Black Mirror: White Christmas review – sentimentality offset with wicked wit". The Guardian. 12 December 2014. Retrieved 17 December 2014.
- "Black Mirror: White Christmas, review: 'Be careful what you wish for...'". The Daily Telegraph. 17 December 2014. Retrieved 17 December 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 and Pratchett film win International Emmys". BBC News. 20 November 2012.
- Emily Nussbaum (January 2015). "Button-Pusher: The seductive dystopia of "Black Mirror"". The New Yorker.
- Black Mirror microsite at Channel 4
- Black Mirror press release from Channel 4
- Black Mirror at the Internet Movie Database