Last year, I was in a pitch meeting when the conversation turned to Black Mirror. At one point, the executive I was pitching revealed two of his favorite episodes and my (internalized) reaction was “Really?!”. I mean, they weren’t bad, but of all the episodes to choose from, why those two? And then, just last week, someone tweeted out their Top 5 Black Mirror episodes and I was again completely stunned. Again, not bad episodes, but Top 5?
So I got to thinking. Maybe an individual’s taste in Black Mirror episodes reveals deep-rooted psychological issues. I recall that, during that pitch meeting, the executive asked me to reveal my favorites. When I did, he nodded knowingly as if he’d figured me out and remarked: “You like a certain type of story.” I do? Yes, I suppose I do. But what does that say about me?
You tell me. Here, for your psychoanalyzing pleasure, is my Black Mirror Top 5!
#5. White Christmas
Two men find themselves trapped in a cabin, forced to weather a furious snowstorm. But as they wait and open up, secrets are revealed and we realize…all is not as it seems. The series has drawn comparisons to The Twilight Zone, and nowhere are the parallels more evident than in this twisty-turn installment.
#4. San Junipero
A love story set in 1980’s southern California. Or is it? A great set-up with a terrific sci-fi pay-off that offers up one of the sweetest, most uplifting episodes of the entire series. Or so I assumed until my writing partner pointed out that my assumed happy ending was anything but.
#3. USS Callister
An episode at turns humorous, horrifying, suspenseful, and utterly delightful, this one focuses on a nerd fanboy who exacts revenge on his co-workers by trapping them in a simulation remarkably similar to Star Trek: The Original Series.
#2. Be Right Back
A woman, mourning the loss of her husband, is seemingly offered the opportunity to recapture what she had in the form of a duplicate AI, its personality constructed from her late hubby’s aggregated internet activity. A touching and powerful story where the clever technology is as important to the narrative engine as the emotions driving our protagonist.
#1. The Entire History of You
We are presented with a near future where every individual’s memories are recorded for convenient playback – and sharing! – at a later time. When a husband begins to suspect his wife of infidelity, their review of recent history sets them off an a harrowing descent into their unexplored pasts.
List your favorites so I can judge you as well!
13 thoughts on “My Black Mirror Top 5!”
Our lists are similar. Here’s mine in no particular order:
Hang the DJ
Sorry, no favs. I had to search what Black Mirror was, never knew of it. I read it’s similar to The Twilight Zone.
Unsure if I can get it on my tv.
I think your list is a damned good one, but I’ve liked every episode of Black Mirror I’ve seen. Yes, some much more than others, but I always found something in the story that I liked. I guess I have all the psychological issues. Does that mean I win?
Have you seen the latest season?
I should probably watch that show at some point…
pretty much same top five really for me, White Christmas definitely top though!
pretty much same top five for me, just different order….White Christmas…well dead heat really between that and USS Callister
last season of 3 eps, was good, always is…..but can’t help feeling a little underwhelmed tbh, considering what has come before…guess bandersnatch took it out of them!
I didn’t know they were stand alone episodes. I’ll Black Mirror a go. Thanks!
I don’t care for horror / Black Mirror….More of a NCIS guy.
I watched half of the very first episode and felt ill, so I stopped watching. I did however watch San Junipero. I was told it was the best episode. I loved it and thought, if that was the best one, I needn’t watch anymore. So I haven’t.
My Black Mirror top 5.
If your top 5 actually does paint a psychological picture of you, you’d really have to think twice about putting Shut Up and Dance on your list. First off, let me say that while there is a wide range between the episodes I liked and didn’t like but I almost always found every episode interesting and worth the time. There are 3 I didn’t like at all and they might surprise you. In each case, getting the concept to work felt contrived to make a point that seemed too obvious. Some made me angry when the big turn undermined a great premise and otherwise solid episode. Others just didn’t live up to the promise. But as a whole, it is an incredibly well written, directed and produced series. Making good TV is HARD. Making a consistently good anthology series is WAY harder! You’re literally starting from scratch every time. I chose these top 5 because they are episodes that have stuck with me to this day.
Be Right Back. Taps into the most basic and emotional human experience – grief and asks how can (and will) technology change it? It is sad, riveting, and creepy all at once. You know, like death.
Fifteen Million Merits. Like all BM eps it had a high concept that still rang true. This one was a little higher than others but still managed to pull it off. It was painful and emotional and watching the explosive arrival of a talented actor like Daniel Kaluuya is always a spectacle to behold. Maybe he had been in other things but this was the first time I noticed him and all I could think was wow.
San Junipero – Like many eps this one felt like a movie. The premise keeps you thinking for days after and onward. Would I if I could? And oh, that play list. 48 iconic pop songs sets the era and tone almost to a point of Come on, now you’re just showing off!
The Entire History of You. Like many others I often point to this one as the quintessential example of BM at its best. What is so admirable about this show is the way the technology looks and feels. Designing and making great looking sci-fi tech for tv is incredibly difficult. Companies take years to design this stuff. There’s only one Apple. BM seems to do it every episode reinventing the wheel with tech that bends seamlessly into the world like it had been slaved over, honed and perfected for decades. Also the story was pretty damn good. How many times have I wished I could play back a moment in time … and then thought twice about giving other people that power?
The National Anthem. Fictional TV rarely surprises me. I admire it when it’s good but I still see how the tricks are being done and usually see the turns coming. When I don’t, it’s usually because they aren’t honest or earned. In this case, I was side-swiped by a powerful, meaningful force from the beginning. My palms were clenched and sweaty. I squirmed in my seat. It had been some time since I had that sort of visceral reaction to an episode of TV and I don’t think I’ve had one like it since. Whenever some tells me they haven’t seen Black Mirror yet, I smile at the thought of this being their first taste.
These are four of my absolute faves, tho I’d put San Junipero and McCallister at a tie for first, and White Bear second because that twist is gut wrenching. Andrew Scott’s meltdown rant about interns in Smithereens is just a delight. Based on this list I’d say you like tight plotting, smart twists and earned endings, and to see underdogs triumph.