Black Mirror: The British Twilight Zone?

A bold statement but hopes seem high for this new 3 part mini series from the mind of Charlie Brooker who gave us the excellent Dead Set.

Black Mirror is a hybrid of The Twilight Zone and Tales of the Unexpected which taps into our contemporary unease about our modern world. The three stand-alone dramas will be sharp, suspenseful, satirical tales with a techno-paranoia bent – all audacious ‘what if’ stories: some comic, some shocking.

I loved and still do love The Twilight Zone, they were classics in the genre and still hold up today. Tales of the Unexpected always seemed to grown up for me at the time and I confess not having revisited it since then but this combination sounds spot on with the whole Zone and the very British Tales. Could this be the next great hope for British genre TV. Over the next few weeks we will be bringing you more news and pics so stay tuned.

Channel 4 explain what the series will focus on.

Over the last ten years, technology has transformed almost every aspect of our lives before we’ve had time to stop and question it. In every home; on every desk; in every palm – a plasma screen; a monitor; a smartphone – a black mirror of our 21st Century existence. Our grip on reality is shifting. We worship at the altars of Google and Apple. Facebook algorithims know us more intimately than our own parents. We have access to all the information in the world, but no brainspace left to absorb anything longer than a 140-character tweet.

Charlie Brooker

Brooker has hit on something here as technology is really starting to run NOT rule our lives these days. We can access anything anywhere now and surely that is a good thing, but hopefully this series will look at the dark possibilities of all of it.


Charlie Brooker says: ‘Growing up, I always loved The Twilight Zone and shows of that ilk. Black Mirror won’t be anything like those, but on the other hand, it’s closer to them than, say, Downton Abbey. It combines satire, technology, absurdity, and a pinch of surprise, and it all takes place in a world you almost – almost – totally recognise. It changes each week – like the weather, but hopefully about 2000 times more entertaining. If you don’t like it, you will be beaten about the face and neck by Channel 4 executives.’


So it seems that Channel 4 have a lot of faith with Brooker and this undertaking but why did they  agree?


Head of Comedy for Channel 4, Shane Allen says: ‘This is satirical drama for the social media generation all rooted in the world around us now. A thought-provoking and gripping reflection and extrapolation of current social, cultural and technology-inspired trends and fears. Charlie’s writing is imbued with a beautiful blend of emotion and intelligence that pulls you in to a thrilling projection of themes which surround our everyday. In a world where bloggers can communicate from beyond the grave and a world leader can watch an assassination in real time on the other side of the planet there is much to say about how we live and what values we share. Now, if I can just convince Charlie to introduce it all from a fireside chair we’re quids in.’


OK Now I am sold but what will the there episodes focus on?

Charlie has written two of the three films with the third written by Jesse Armstrong (Peep Show, The Thick of It, Four Lions)

The Episodes

A twisted parable for the Twitter age, The National Anthem looks at how life is very much harder for the rich and supposedly powerful now that information is disseminated so quickly and public opinion is so loud, powerful and quick to change. It’s a political thriller in which the Prime Minister faces a huge dilemma – and that’s all that can be revealed for now… The cast includes Rory Kinnear and Lindsay Duncan.


Set in a sarcastic version of a future reality, 15 Million Merits is a satire on entertainment shows and our insatiable thirst for distraction. In this world, everyone is confined to a life of strange physical drudgery. The only way to escape this life is to enter the ‘Hot Shot’ talent show and just pray you can impress the judges. The cast includes Julia Davis, Rupert Everett, Daniel Kaluuya and Jessica Brown-Findlay.

Daniel Kaluuya

In Memoriam (working title) (written by Peep Show’s Jesse Armstrong) is set in an alternate reality where everyone has access to a system which records everything they do, see or hear. You need never forget a face, a holiday or a night out again… but is that always good thing?


Sounds like a fun ride and a great cast as well. Another show not afraid to show it’s genre roots is alright in my books and I for one will be watching this when it arrives on our screens this month.


SOURCE: Channel 4

GS Reporter: Montoya

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