“Black Mirror”, on Netflix: Charlie Brooker’s techno-dystopia ventures into horror

Joan (Salma Hayek) in the “Black Mirror” series, created by Charlie Brooker and Annabel Jones.


The release of new episodes of black-mirror has been a small event since the broadcast of its first season in 2011. Born on Channel 4, the series developed by British journalist Charlie Brooker was bought by Netflix after two seasons. It has been flowing there for happy days, even if there will always be people to say that it was better before.

Read the review: “Black Mirror”, season 5, acidity, but without flavor

The series has in fact been uneven since its inception, mainly due to its anthological format, which favors one-off consumption rather than the “binge”. It is also so by its art of the surprising outcome, conducive to exegesis and interpretations, but not always up to what has been shown before.

This sixth season, made up of five parts whose length varies from single to double, is no exception, and it is possible that the regulars of black-mirror do not see any likely to dethrone San Junipero, a cult episode from the third season featuring a moving lesbian love story between life and death. This last salvo is nonetheless a good vintage, which moves away slightly from the techno-dystopian formula developed by its screenwriters to explore the possibilities of the horror story.

Cultural and social neuroses

The first episode, Joan is awfula very skilful mise en abyme led by the electric presence of Annie Murphy (Welcome to Schitt’s Creek, on Canal+), is not the most terrifying but it is undoubtedly the most successful. Under the pretext of denouncing the voyeurism of reality TV, it actually evokes the dispossession of self induced by technologies mimicking human appearance and thought.

This dispossession also underlies Loch Henry, second part of the season and morbid variation around the news item and its recovery by the entertainment industry. The two episodes have in common to summon Netflix in a parodic form, questioning in passing, with great irony, the cultural and social neuroses at work in our consumption of streaming programs.

Joan (Salma Hayek) in the “Black Mirror” series, created by Charlie Brooker and Annabel Jones.

The following episodes, more classic parables on the monstrosity (Mazey Day), the evil genius (Demon 79) and the loss of free will (My heart for life), navigate between the 1960s and 2000s. It is undoubtedly My heart for lifea long (and tedious) metaphorical tale about two astronauts whose robotic “replica” remained on Earth for the six years of their mission in space, which brings the closest black-mirror of The Twilight Zone, his main influence. More collected and more embodied, this episode could have been the best of the season.

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