Why Fans Were Disappointed After ‘Black Mirror’ Season 5
Despite the irony of The Twilight Zone—and its revival–being a direct influence on Black Mirror, the latter has become a far more relevant show for our times. While no one can deny TTZ is still important and always will be, Black Mirror deliberately provokes us giving haunting, spoon-fed warnings about abusing technology.
Speaking of being spoon-fed, the fifth season of Black Mirror this summer seemed to bring some strange changes on its own. Maybe that was their own approach to going meta. It involved airing only three episodes, something not unusual to the series if you remember the first and second seasons.
Fans were still oddly disappointed, outside one major narrative innovation only the British could concoct.
Short seasons are arguably better, when there’s substance
The process of creating truncated seasons on television has proven to be one of the best things to happen to cable TV. Most of this happened because the streaming world has made sure you get top-tier quality in each episode, yet with fewer episode orders.
Not that the standard hasn’t usually been around 12 episodes for streaming shows. Black Mirror already went against norms when it offered only three episodes in its first two series/seasons.
Nobody minded, because each episode was a major mind-blow in the issues it broached about digital technology evolution. With its layered writing delving into other issues beyond just technology, it was as if Rod Serling was alive and thriving all over again.
Those who’ve stuck with it have seen some sort of odd change occur with this fifth season. What’s irked so many even more is it took so long for these three new episodes to release on Netflix.
Snitching from the ‘Bandersnatch’
If you need a good excuse as to why Black Mirror had only three episodes, it’s because of the now groundbreaking, multiple-ending/interactive Bandersnatch episode. We say only the British could reinvent TV like this while American TV producers jaw-drop and likely copy from it soon.
America is already known for pillaging from British TV shows. As awestruck as many were at this innovative form of television, it was considered a multi-episode concept, essentially why it took so long to produce and release. For some, the innovation was bigger than the script execution.
More than a few critics are starting to find too many cliches in the show’s writing this year. Or maybe the show is giving us its own warning that could end up bouncing back and hitting us over the head like an intellectual boomerang.
Bringing in familiar faces might have masked some weaker writing
Charlie Brooker, Black Mirror’s producer and writer, has been busy with a lot of other projects lately, making us wonder if he just became too overwhelmed to focus on Season Five.
Bringing in superstar names like Miley Cyrus for the Rachel, Jack and Ashley Too episode might have been a desperate attempt to capture a younger demographic for sake of ratings.
Then again, let’s stop and ponder whether a show as smart as this once was would bring its own meta warning in the show itself. Has the show made us look at ourselves even more as we continually look to streaming entertainment to offer up intellectually robust tales?
Digging too deep into ‘Black Mirror’
A show as astute as this perhaps wants to twist our minds just a little bit more. Most fans probably wouldn’t conceive of such a curveball, but what if this season wanted to tell us to not find all the answers to our problems through streaming services like Netflix?
Perhaps these were surface level entertainments as a subtle reminder to stop our streaming binges and go out to solve our problems if we’re going to tackle the issues Black Mirror continually warns about.