Black Mirror is a British science fiction television anthology series created by Charlie Brooker and centred around dark and satirical themes that examine modern society, particularly with regard to the unanticipated consequences of new technologies. Episodes are standalone works, usually set in an alternative present or the near future. The show was first broadcast on the British Channel 4, in 2011. In September 2015, Netflix commissioned a third season of 12 episodes. The commissioned episodes were later divided into two seasons of six episodes; the third season was released on Netflix worldwide on 21 October 2016, with filming of the fourth underway in June 2017.
Regarding the programme’s content and structure, Brooker noted, „each episode has a different cast, a different setting, even a different reality. But they’re all about the way we live now – and the way we might be living in 10 minutes’ time if we’re clumsy.“ The series has received critical acclaim and has seen an increase in interest internationally (particularly in the US) after being added to Netflix.
The first two series of the programme were produced by Zeppotron, for Endemol. An Endemol press release described the series as „a hybrid of The Twilight Zone and Tales of the Unexpected which taps into our contemporary unease about our modern world“, with the stories having a „techno-paranoia“ feel. Channel 4 describes the first episode as „a twisted parable for the Twitter age“. Black Mirror series 1 had a limited DVD release for PAL / Region 2 on 27 February 2012. This was followed by a DVD release of series 2, also PAL for region 2 only.
According to Brooker (speaking to SFX), the production team considered giving the series a linking theme or presenter, but ultimately it was decided not to do so: „There were discussions. Do we set them all in the same street? Do we have some characters who appear in each episode, a bit Three Colours: Blue/White/Red style? We did think about having a character who introduces them, Tales from the Crypt style, or like Rod Serling or Alfred Hitchcock or Roald Dahl, because most anthology shows did have that… but the more we thought about it, we thought it was a bit weird.“
Charlie Brooker explained the series’ title to The Guardian: „If technology is a drug – and it does feel like a drug – then what, precisely, are the side effects? This area – between delight and discomfort – is where Black Mirror, my new drama series, is set. The ‘black mirror’ of the title is the one you’ll find on every wall, on every desk, in the palm of every hand: the cold, shiny screen of a TV, a monitor, a smartphone.“