Season (er, series?) 5 of Black Mirror is out on Netflix, with three brand new episodes focusing on what the show does best: terrifying, existential questions revolving around our relationship to technology.
The British anthology series, created and largely written by showrunner Charlie Brooker, is infamous for telling stories of near-future dystopias as disturbing as they are thought-provoking.
Depicting everything from a society where social media ratings determine your lot in life to a vindictive fanboy who torments copies of hated coworkers in a virtual world, all of Black Mirror’s roughly hour-long episodes are independent from each other (unless you believe certain tinfoil hat theories), and each tries to say something about the direction we may be heading as a species.
Even with a depressingly short 3-hour season, made all the more painful by the fact that Black Mirror frequently takes two years or more to produce, Season 5 has gotten a big reaction. Twitter, as can be expected with any blockbuster streaming drop, is all over this.
Thank you, Black Mirror, for giving me this new pick up line: pic.twitter.com/W82dZdvj2g
— Sean Logan (@seanloganec) June 5, 2019
— 𝒥🦋 (@lbabyjl) June 5, 2019
People are especially shook up about the twist of episode 1, called Striking Vipers, which stars Anthony Mackie of MCU fame.
— DAN (@quincycoIdwater) June 5, 2019
Episode 3, meanwhile, is called Rachel, Jack and Ashley Too and stars none other than Miley Cyrus, whose fans have come out in force to praise and support her emotional performance as exploited pop star Ashley O.
— Art For Smilers™ (@artforsmilers) June 5, 2019
— Netflix (@netflix) June 5, 2019
And Miley’s own Twitter has reached out to comment on all the hard work that went into the role.
Season 5 isn’t the first time the show put big names in lead roles. The Season 1 episode Fifteen Million Merits starred a pre-Get Out Daniel Kaluuya, and subsequent seasons have given us performances from the likes of Bryce Dallas Howard, Jon Hamm, and Hayley Atwell. Even minor stars like Game of Thrones’ Jerome Flynn make appearances.
Reviews from audiences are strong this season. NPR says “originality and uncertainty still reign” and highlights Miley’s performance in particular. IGN calls season 5 “one of the series’ best” that delivers “great storytelling, interesting characters, and fascinating technologies.” Fans, too, love every minute of it (even as they point out the irony of using Twitter to talk about a show that criticizes social media).
Black mirror clowning us with smithereens and proving their point by making us all check twitter after watching pic.twitter.com/Uitc8qytR5
— ⟭⟬borahae nj⁷⟭⟬ (@joon_hatesbacon) June 5, 2019
Not everyone is a fan, though; Vulture.com has some particularly negative takes on all three episodes, but it mostly makes the same underlying point: Charlie Brooker has a lot of interesting ideas, they argue, but doesn’t do much with them other than say “smart phones bad” over and over. This isn’t the first time Black Mirror has been accused of being a tad lazy with its themes, and whether or not you agree, the writers might want to think about freshening things up more when Season 6 inevitably drops.
What did you think of the fifth season of Black Mirror? Which moments left a mark on you? Let us know in the comments!