Black Mirror season 6 TV review: mirror, mirror on the wall: who’s the darkest of them all?

Beware, light spoilers ahead…

They say reality is often stranger than fiction, but the universe of Charlie Brooker’s scifi TV series Black Mirror seems hell-bent on disproving this axiom, and it usually succeeds. For the uninitiated, Netflix’s Black Mirror series is an anthology of techno-dystopian fairytales that often leaves viewers questioning their own reality. Now, hot on the heels of Apple’s newest hardware release, the uncannily-named “Apple Vision Pro” (which I’m pretty sure also describes a prehistoric creature that evolved to escape from predators), Black Mirror has returned with its sixth season. And we can’t help but speculate if Brooker’s series has grown so influential that it’s now shaping the technology of the very future it critiques.

So, what’s on the menu for this season? Five deliciously twisted episodes, each with a taste more bitter and satirical than the last, exploring themes from AI and automation to the seemingly innocuous world of nature documentaries.

Among these new twisted treats, we have the intriguing “Loch Henry” episode that appears to be an earnest swipe at our society’s true crime obsession. The story follows two young filmmakers, Davis and Pia, innocently trying to make a local nature documentary in a quaint Scottish town which, as it turns out, was once the stomping ground of a serial killer. You know, just your average small-town attractions!

Moving on to something a little more cosmic, we have “Beyond the Sea,” a deep-space mission narrative that seems eerily timed with recent billionaire space races. Our astronaut heroes, Cliff and David (brought to life by Aaron Paul and Josh Hartnett), undertake a six-year journey, pushing the boundaries of time, space, and just how much human psyche can handle before it demands a refund.

Then there’s “Demon 79,” a gritty horror narrative set in the year of Thatcher’s election. Our protagonist Nida, an Indian woman enduring the daily grind of overt racism in 70s northern England, finds herself accidentally summoning a demon known as Gaap. Apparently, ancient talismans do not come with user manuals, and now she must kill three people over three days to avert the apocalypse. The to-do list just keeps getting longer, doesn’t it?

Among these high-octane dramas, one episode particularly stands out for its subdued tale. “Joan Is Awful” follows Joan, an everyday woman juggling the mundanities of work, therapy, and an old flame. The crux? A company called Streamberry that may or may not be a doppelganger for a certain streaming giant we know. This episode lands amid the ongoing WGA strike, adding a touch of real-world spice to this techno-dystopian soup.

But we can’t forget “Mazey Day,” where we time-travel back to the early 2000s. We navigate the paparazzi’s disturbingly powerful influence over celebrities through the lens of Bo, an LA-based paparazzo. This darkly comic episode throws us back to the pre-smartphone era, where celebrities were less known for their Instagram stories and more for their notorious paparazzi shots.

Of course, it’s hard not to smirk at the coincidence of Apple’s latest tech launch, the Apple Vision Pro, just ahead of the Black Mirror release. This device, eerily resembling mutated ski goggles, apparently has the power to insulate you from reality for two hours. We can only imagine what Brooker must make of this real-world echo of his dystopian fables.

So, buckle up for another season of Black Mirror, where the boundary between fiction and reality seems to be eroding faster than Apple Vision Pro’s battery life. It’s a wild ride across decades and genres, an ever-illuminating reflection on our society’s ambitions, obsessions, and anxieties. As for whether Black Mirror has transcended from predictive to prescriptive, only time (or perhaps a future episode) will tell.


Colonel Frog is a long time science fiction and fantasy fan. He loves reading novels in the field, and he also enjoys watching movies (as well as reading lots of other genre books).

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