Black Mirror is returning to Netflix with six new episodes of speculative fiction spookiness this Friday, October 21st. Named to evoke a turned-off screen, the anthology series basically took the mantle from The Twilight Zone for thought-provoking thrills after its 2011 Season 1 premiere on BBC 4. Now it has a rabid following stateside after being released on Netflix — a fanbase giddy with anticipation for the new season. With a roomier budget courtesy the streaming service and a double order of episodes, the suspense is almost unbearable.
Not a Black Mirror fan yet? What better time than the Halloween season to scare yourself silly with these disturbing, yet weirdly inspiring hour-long dramas? You have five days to binge them, and we've ranked them in order of least-to-most necessary viewing below!
7. "The Waldo Moment" Season 2, Episode 6. Directed by Bryn Higgins and starring Daniel Rigby, this one features a comedian voicing a satirical cartoon bear named Waldo. When Waldo runs for public office as a publicity stunt he starts unexpectedly gaining traction with disaffected voters, and a sinister faction steps in to try and propel his rise to power. Unfortunately this election season is so much stranger than fiction that "The Waldo Moment" actually doesn't seem outrageous enough.
6. "The Entire History of You" Season 1, Episode 3 Here's a world where every experience is recorded as though your eye were a camera, which allows one paranoid husband to go back and replay the interactions between his wife and a mutual male friend at a dinner party. This provocative premise was optioned into a film by Robert Downey Jr.'s production company in 2013, and is by far the soapiest of the Black Mirror series.
5. "National Anthem" Season 1, Episode 1
The very first episode goes from black comedy to straight-up disturbing when the fictitious Prime Minister of England is blackmailed by terrorists who are holding a member of the royal family captive...and attempt to force him to making love with a pig live on national television. Warning: this one can't be unseen!
4. "White Christmas" (Special)
The 90-minute Christmas Special that was released after Season 2 stars Black Mirror super fan Jon Hamm who asked to be involved with the series. He does a stunning job as an alcoholic pick-up artist seemingly trapped in a snowy cabin looking back on a life misspent in tech. If you're looking for feel-good holiday cheer, steer clear.
3. "White Bear" Season 2, Episode 5
This one stars Lenora Crichlow as a woman who wakes up in a small village with no memory of her former life. Everyone she encounters there tries to either kill her or record her with their phones. We can't say more without spoiling it, but this is one chilling roller coaster that makes the most of Black Mirror's central premise: our screens can become a gateway to our darkest urges.
2. "Fifteen Million Merits" Season 1, Episode 2
Daniel Kaluuya stars as a good-hearted hunk trapped in a future dystopia where workers pedal stationary bikes to earn merits and are surrounded 24 hours by non-stop entertainment. When he falls in love with the beautiful voice of his co-worker, he starts saving up merits for an entry fee to a televised singing competition...but little does he realize the true cost of her performance. This is both great sci-fi and a poignant, heart-breaking love story.
The opening episode of the second season cannot be watched without a box of Kleenex. Hayley Atwell is a young widow who signs up for a service that provides a digital consciousness of her husband that she can instant message and text with after processing their old emails and messages. Not only is this one absolutely devastating, it inspired a real-life scientist to make a "digital monument" of her own lost friend, and seems like the most eerily prescient episode out of the whole.
Are you excited about Black Mirror? How would you rank the series' episodes?
Black Mirror Season 3 begins streaming Friday, Oct. 21st on Netflix.