Black Mirror is a science fiction TV series of British origin. It follows an anthology format and was created by Charlie Brooker. It focuses on modern society and the consequences new technologies can have.
Each episode is standalone and is either set in an alternative present or the near future. Most of them have a dark, satirical feel, but others are more experimental. It was inspired by older series such as The Twilight Zone. Brooker created stories that show ‘the way we live now – and the way we might be living in 10 minutes’ time if we’re clumsy.’
Black Mirror makes use of new stories, settings, actors and characters for each episode. Brooker wanted the series to stand out compared with dramas and serials which feature a recurring cast.
The first season uses bigger worlds with more detail and less of a focus on technology. The second one only has three episodes – Be Right Back, White Bear and The Waldo Moment. After White Christmas, it moved from Channel 4 to Netflix.
Cast and characters
Episodes feature different characters for the individual stories, but some actors and parts of note include:
- Prime Minister Michael Callow – Rory Kinnear
- Home Secretary Alex Cairns – Lindsay Duncan
- Bing – Daniel Kaluuya
- Abi – Jessica Brown Findlay
- Judge Hope – Rupert Everett
- Judge Charity – Julia Davis
- Judge Wraith – Ashley Thomas
- Liam – Toby Kebbell
- Ffion – Jodie Whittaker
- Martha – Hayley Atwell
- Ash – Domhnall Gleeson
- Victoria Skillane – Lenora Crichlow
- Baxter – Michael Smiley
- Jem – Tuppence Middleton
Episode One – The National Anthem
A member of the British royal family called Princess Susannah has been kidnapped, and the kidnapper demands the Prime Minister, Michael Callow, has sexual intercourse with a pig on live television in order to get her back. Although Callow refuses to be blackmailed, public opinion begins to turn against him. He eventually agrees, and the British public gathers to watch the broadcast – unaware that the kidnapper released the princess thirty minutes before the sex act began.
Episode Two – Fifteen Million Merits
Bing feels stuck living in a society where his home is an enclosed space and he must ride a bike to generate power. He gets merits in return which can be used for essential items or entertainment. He hears a girl called Abi singing and decides to give her fifteen million merits so she can go on a talent show. When she goes, she is given a special drink which affects her thinking. The judges suggest she is better suited for pornography, and her clouded judgement means she accepts.
Episode Three – The Entire History of You
Many people in society have a ‘grain’ implanted behind their ear, so everything they see and hear is recorded. A remote can be used to perform a ‘re-do’, where memories can be played directly through their eye or onto a video monitor. Liam is suspicious of his wife Ffion’s behaviour with a man, Jonas, at a dinner party. Ffion admits she used to be with him, and Liam notices an encounter which took place after he began dating her when he sees Jonas’ memories of sexual intercourse with her.
Episode One – Be Right Back
Martha’s boyfriend Ash dies in a traffic accident, and she finds out she’s pregnant a few days later. She decides to make use of new technology which simulates Ash’s voice and personality using his social media profile and other material available. When she accidentally drops her phone and panics, the artificial Ash tells her about an experimental service where the replica is transferred into a synthetic body. Martha is initially overjoyed but becomes frustrated by its inability to replicate small details in his behaviour.
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