On May 15, Netflix surprised the world by releasing a trailer for the fifth season of its hit sci-fi drama, “Black Mirror.” Following tradition, the teaser is incredibly cryptic but it does reveal key details about the forthcoming three-episode sequence. Notably, the new installments look to introduce new concepts and revisit old ones. Also, the program will make its hotly anticipated return on June 15.
New Episode Details
First off, the new “Black Mirror” trailer reveals the forthcoming season will be star-studded. The new season will feature performances from Anthony Mackie (“Avengers: Endgame”), Andrew Scott (“Sherlock”), Angourie Rice (“Spider-Man: Homecoming”), Topher Grace (“BlacKKKlansman”), and pop star Miley Cyrus.
The teaser’s second interesting facet is what it reveals about the new season.
One story will feature Mackie as a bored family man who contemplates cheating on his wife. His character also seems to use the Grain. It’s a digital memory recall device that was featured in a season one episode of the series called “The Entire History of You.”
While the program has long hinted that all of its anthology stories take place in the same universe, the Mackie-led episode will be the show’s first direct follow up.
Another tale will focus on a deranged man played by Scott. Apparently, the character he plays kidnaps someone after being driven insane by the omnipresence of smartphones. Thematically, that story resembles prior anti-technology fables like “Nosedive” and “Metalhead.”
The trailer also showcases material that doesn’t fit together in a linear fashion. According to Variety, Cyrus will play “a performer with thousands of fans who appears to have undergone a transformation in order to rise to a higher level of fame.” That plotline seemingly connects with a story about a shy schoolgirl (Rice ) who gains confidence thanks to an artificial intelligence (AI) enabled doll.
“Black Mirror” has covered the perils of fame (“Fifteen Million Merits,” “The Waldo Moment”) and the future advancement of AI (“White Christmas,” “Hang the DJ”) in prior seasons.
The new season will also feature what is sure to be a sinister a virtual reality re-creation of “Street Fighter.”
Why Is the New Season So Short?
In its early years, “Black Mirror” aired on a British network called Channel 4 and had three episodes per season. However, things changed with its third season as the program moved to Netflix and began producing six episodes per sequence.
While the new season’s shortened episode count may disappoint fans, it makes sense following the release of “Bandersnatch.” The feature-length installment premiered in December of last year and had an interactive Choose Your Own Adventure-style dynamic. While the average “Bandersnatch” playthrough ran around 90 minutes, the episode actually featured 150 minutes of accessible footage. As such, it’s around double the length of a typical “Black Mirror” installment.
Creator Charlie Brooker also revealed making “Bandersnatch” was like producing four episodes of the series at once. Given the financial and creative resources that went into the interactive feature, the new season’s shortened length is understandable. Plus, with a show as rich as “Black Mirror,” a rushed production schedule would’ve meant a weak final product.
All three episodes of “Black Mirror” season 5 will be available to stream on June 15.