In this article that you're reading about Black Mirror, I'm going to tell you why it's incredibly important to not read any article about Black Mirror. Charlie Brooker's anthology series about society's relationship with technology is a riveting look at our near future that can spawn master theses about a number of topics with its brain-picking subject matter, but the real joy of watching the series comes from something else entirely.
Like The Twilight Zone, Tales from the Crypt and Amazing Stories before it, Black Mirror thrives on not knowing what to expect, telling its story and then being done. That's why it's best to go into each episode as blind as can be. That means don't thumb through Wikipedia looking for deets on who's starring in which episode. That means don't read the episode descriptions Netflix dangles in front of your face when you're browsing through the Black Mirror page. That means don't read extensive previews or reviews of the show before you've seen them all. Go on a Black Mirror blackout and just press Play. I've seen the upcoming Season 3 with as little info beforehand as possible, and it's been an incredible adventure.
All you do need to know is that the series, which started in 2011 on the U.K.'s Channel 4 for two seasons and one Jon Hamm-starring Christmas special (seven episodes total) before becoming a cult hit Stateside when Netflix imported it, is that it is exceptional with every respect to the production, it will challenge you and it will leave its mark on you so that you'll be thinking about it for days. The different stories warp you to a dangerously close future where technology we take for granted today — like the cloud, GPS or the simple ability to call, record or text someone with something that fits in our pocket — reaches the next level or implementation in its life. But it's not the technology that Black Mirror notes is the scary part, it's how we use it and how it becomes part of our lives that's frightening, or in the rare case of this predominantly dark series, uplifting and beautiful.
Friday morning at midnight PT, or whenever you have some free time after that, simply power up Netflix, fire up Season 3 of Black Mirror, get some snacks and settle in for some of the best television of the year. Be an anarchist and watch them in whatever order you choose, as each hourlong episode is entirely separate from the others. Binge them, take your time with them or fall somewhere in the middle — its independent structure of bite-sized narratives allow you to consume it differently from other shows. You can't watch it too fast or too slow. Just do not read episode descriptions or reviews, because you'll only be cheating yourself.
Look, I know we live in an age where a dozen new television shows are released each day and you don't have time to park your tush on the couch and watch them all, so researching ahead to protect your valuable personal time is part of your routine. But in Black Mirror, discovering what each episode is as you are watching becomes half the fun of experiencing it. You could find yourself watching a clever horror scenario or a moving love story. You could end up crying with laughter or sobbing hysterically because your heart just exploded. It's the mystery bag mentality of the incredibly diverse Black Mirror that makes it so exciting. And because Season 3 is so good, there's no worry that there are duds in there.
When the screen cracks at the end of the quick title sequence, the journey you're about to go on is up to the wonderful slate of directors, incredible preformers and Brooker's exquisite and varied storytelling. And where it takes you is somewhere special.
Season 3 of Black Mirror premieres Friday, Oct. 21 only on Netflix.