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Black Mirror: Season 6 Official Teaser

Black Mirror: Season 6 Official Teaser

Black Mirror is a British anthology television series created by Charlie Brooker. Individual episodes explore a diversity of genres, but most are set in near-future dystopias with sci-fi technology—a type of speculative fiction. The series is based on The Twilight Zone and uses technology to comment on contemporary social issues. Most episodes are written by Brooker with heavy involvement by the executive producer Annabel Jones.

There are 27 episodes across five series and one special, in addition to the interactive film Black Mirror: Bandersnatch (2018). The first two series aired on the British network Channel 4 in 2011 and 2013, as did the 2014 special "White Christmas". The program then moved to Netflix, where three further series aired in 2016, 2017, 2019 and 2023. A sixth series on Netflix has been greenlit and is in active production as of July 2022. Two related webisode series were produced by Netflix, and a companion book to the first four series, Inside Black Mirror, was published in 2018. Soundtracks to many episodes have been released as albums.

The series has received critical acclaim and is considered by many reviewers to be one of the best television series of the 2010s. The program won the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Television Movie three times consecutively for "San Junipero", "USS Callister" and Bandersnatch. However, some critics consider the morality of the series obvious or cite declining quality over time. Black Mirror, along with American Horror Story, has been credited with re-popularizing the anthology television format, and a number of episodes have been seen by reviewers as prescient.

As Black Mirror is an anthology series, each episode is standalone and can be watched in any order. The program is an instance of speculative fiction within science fiction: the majority of episodes are set in dystopian near-futures with novel technologies that exaggerate a trait from contemporary culture, often the internet. An example is "Crocodile", where the Recaller device used to view a person's memories is the main difference from the modern world. Many such technologies involve altering the human body or consciousness, with little in-universe concern for the morality of these actions. They provide convenience or freedom to the user, but exacerbate problematic personality traits. Adrian Martin of Screen wrote that many episodes depict "basic human emotions and desires" that "intersect with, and get twisted by, a technological system that invariably spins out of control and into catastrophe". The settings are generally patriarchal and capitalist. Recurring themes throughout Black Mirror include data privacy and surveillance, virtual reality, individualism and consumerism. Many episodes have plot twists.

However, individual episodes explore varying genres. Crime fiction episodes include the police procedurals "Hated in the Nation" and "Smithereens" and the Nordic noir "Crocodile". Horror and psychological horror are features of "Black Museum" and "Playtest", respectively. The first episode, "The National Anthem", contains black comedy and political satire. Some episodes employ features of lighter-hearted genres, such as romance in "San Junipero" and "Striking Vipers", romantic comedy in "Hang the DJ", or space opera in "USS Callister". Other genres include drama ("Fifteen Million Merits"), psychological thriller (Black Mirror: Bandersnatch), post-apocalyptic fiction ("Metalhead"), and war film ("Men Against Fire").

Black Mirror can be seen to demonstrate a negative view of unending pursuit of scientific and technological advancement. The majority of episodes end unhappily. However, characters who carefully consider the risks of technology with which they engage are met with happy endings, as in "San Junipero". Juliana Lopes of Via Panorâmica argued that the dystopian settings resemble the French Marxist Guy Debord's concept of the spectacle, wherein mass media create alienation and an unattainable utopia for individuals to pursue. For instance, in "Nosedive", the protagonist Lacie strives for a utopian life through superficiality and performativity, in a society where social media success contributes to high socioeconomic status. Academics writing in Quarterly Review of Film and Video found that Black Mirror episodes fall into a genre of "mind-game films", wherein protagonists are disoriented and narratives are non-linear or fragmented. Films in this genre include Inception (2010) and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004), and these works often show the unreliability of the state, technology or family.

The series was created by Brooker, who was previously known as a comedy writer. He wrote video game reviews for PC Zone in the late 1990s and began writing television reviews for The Guardian and making television in the 2000s. Brooker had completed production of Dead Set (2008), a zombie-based drama series, and while working on Newswipe (2009–2010) and other programs, decided to make an anthology drama series. It was modelled in the style of The Twilight Zone (1959–1964), Tales of the Unexpected (1979–1988) and Hammer House of Horror (1980).

Brooker recognized that Rod Serling had based The Twilight Zone on contemporary issues, often controversial ones such as racism, but placed them in fictional settings to get around television censors at the time. Brooker realized he could commentate similarly on modern issues, specifically focusing on technology, a topic he explored in producing the series How TV Ruined Your Life (2011). He aimed to explore "the way we might be living in 10 minutes' time".

Brooker wanted to keep the anthology approach, using new stories, settings, characters, and actors for each episode, as he felt this was a key element of enjoying series like The Twilight Zone. This approach would allow Black Mirror to contrast with current dramas and serials that had a standard recurring cast. According to Brooker, the production team considered giving the series a linking theme or presenter, but ultimately decided not to.

Around January 2020, Brooker and Jones announced their departure from House of Tomorrow. Variety reported that intellectual property issues were at the center of this change, with the series' rights held by Endemol. By February 2020, Brooker and Jones had established Broke and Bones, a new production company. Netflix had arranged a long-term contract for series and other production rights with the Broke and Bones company by July 2020, although rights for Black Mirror still remained with Endemol. According to Variety, this left Brooker and Jones unable to produce additional series unless new agreements were put in place. In a May 2020 interview with Radio Times, Brooker questioned whether the public mood would suit a sixth series of Black Mirror and said that he had been working on more comedic projects.

A sixth series was announced by Netflix in May 2022. The series will be produced by Broke and Bones, rather than House of Tomorrow. However, House of Tomorrow's new owners Banijay retain ownership of the program (Banijay bought the Endemol Shine Group in 2020). It is planned to have more than three episodes. According to Variety, cast for the first three episodes includes Zazie Beetz, Paapa Essiedu, Josh Hartnett, Aaron Paul, Kate Mara, Danny Ramirez, Clara Rugaard, Auden Thornton and Anjana Vasan. In August and September 2022, Deadline reported that Rory Culkin and Rob Delaney had been cast in the series. Zazie Beetz said that her episode was filmed in June 2022. Variety reported that the series was in production as of July 2022. By August 2022, Annie Murphy and Salma Hayek were in talks to join the new series. The first teaser trailer was released on April 26, 2023 announcing a June 2023 release date.

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