Black Mirror is back for S5, but it might be running out of fresh ideas


Enlarge / Anthony Mackie is a husband and father who finds himself caught up in a virtual reality game in “Striking Vipers,” one of three new Black Mirror episodes. (credit: YouTube/Netflix)

Netflix debuted the much-anticipated fifth season of its sci-fi anthology series Black Mirror last week, and while the show remains inventive and thought provoking, it’s possible that, five seasons in, it might just be running out of fresh ideas.

(Some spoilers below.)

Black Mirror is the creation of Charlie Brooker, co-showrunner with Annabel Jones, and he writes almost every episode. The series explores the darker side of technology, and it’s very much in the spirit of classic anthology series like The Twilight Zone. Brooker developed Black Mirror to highlight topics related to humanity’s relationship with technology, creating stories that feature “the way we live now—and the way we might be living in 10 minutes’ time if we’re clumsy.” The series debuted on the British Channel 4 in December 2011, followed by a second season. Noting its popularity, Netflix took over production for seasons 3 and 4 in 2016 and 2017, respectively.

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