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Black Mirror - why is season six so different? | Review

Black Mirror season six has been a blessing to Netflix, one of the greatest British television anthology series to grace the internet. Black Mirror has a very distinct way of storytelling, concentrating on the impact of modern technology on society but this season takes a turn. Three out of the five episodes feel different, with a new tone of voice and a different agenda. Season six has surprised Black Mirror fans with something unlike anything the programme has given us before. Creator Charlie Brooker is a pure creative genius when it comes to modern storytelling and this season proves his talents has far more promise, to some viewers this drastic change is confusing but to me, I feel endless possibilities for the show in the future.

Episode 02 | 'Loch Henry'

Charlie Brooker has taken the opportunity to criticise the abundance of true crime documentaries which have grown in mass popularity. This episode is brilliantly meta, again, colliding society with cinema. Loch Henry is highly effective as an episode, truly intriguing with a strong narrative, the criticism of true crime is skilfully blended with an enjoyably ripe folk horror tale. Tackling the enduring popularity of true crime series, this episode is at its most compelling when focusing on the callous nature of making someone’s trauma a form of entertainment.

It should come as no surprise that watching endless true crime series’ is not particularly good for your soul, being engrossed in crime and not finding the imagery disturbing is a social boundary we have broken. Glorifying crime to the public and producing it for the masses is unethical on a number of levels. Brooker challenges this, spins it on its head and shows us the consequences in a magnificently meta way. I thoroughly enjoyed this episode and found it to be a stand-alone addition to the series, feeling more like a movie than a singular episode.

Episode 04 | 'Mazy Day'

Simple to say, this episode takes a turn from the usual Black Mirror tone of voice. As a dedicated viewer you may find episode four to be too reserved from the usual dystopian analysis of the modern condition. Mazy Day is opposite to the usual aesthetic, we see a supernatural approach to storytelling with an undertone of societal commentary. Although, to me the underlying narrative was strong, after reading a lot of reviews this episode has been deemed the weakest in the series.

Charlie Brooker has a vast appreciation for genre cinema –the hoarier the better– anything which has been overdone or overused is something he gravitates towards but always finds a way to give it his own twist. Mazy Day is no acceptation, the idea of the supernatural has been repeated in cinema many, many times but I think this decision was intentional. Mass production of the same, boring story is easy for production and lacks any originality, Brooker must be telling us that cinema is loosing its voice; along with the blatant inclusion of lacking privacy and sharing every detail of your life to the world.

What seems like a thinly drawn metaphor about fame has an underlying message about money, excess and the downfall of humanity. One of the only professions as loathsome as politics might be the paparazzi, Mazy Day displays this clear as day. Showing us a day in the life of the leeches which call themselves paparazzi. I found this episode to be truly refreshing, after the emotional rollercoaster of episode three I was pleasantly surprised by this twist of fait. Incorporating supernatural into Black Mirror was something I never thought id see but now I have, I think I loved it.

Don’t get me wrong, this wasn’t one of the stronger episodes of the season but it was incredibly enjoyable and intriguing. I had no idea where the story was going to go and by the end I was fully invested. An unusual take for Black Mirror? Yes. Nonetheless, Mazy Day was an enjoyable episode with a truly disturbing undertone and message.

Episode 05 | 'Demon 79'

Like “Mazey Day”, it is more nostalgic than the prophetic. Episode five dives into 1979 Britain, which strangely feels familiar to present day… with some truly light hearted and funny moments this episodes commentary is harder to place. Again, using the supernatural to house this story was unique for Brooker, Demon 79 is a fascinating example of what constitutes a Black Mirror episode? The limits are endless.

With some nods to classic horror and what could be interpreted as a happy ending? This episode marks the first “Red Mirror” production… could this be a glimpse for the future of Brooker’s content? Though this episode isn't a particularly innovative contribution, it is executed with undeniable care and professionalism, with strong characters and a truly hilariously disturbing story. Demon 79 felt like a soft ending for the season, nothing too heavy to say goodbye to season six.


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