Black Mirror is a British dystopian science fiction anthology television series created by Charlie Brooker. He and Annabel Jones are the programme's showrunners. It examines modern society, particularly with regard to the unanticipated consequences of new technologies. Episodes are standalone, usually set in an alternative present or the near future, often with a dark and satirical tone, although some are more experimental and lighter.
Black Mirror was inspired by older anthology series, such as The Twilight Zone, which Brooker felt were able to deal with controversial, contemporary topics with less fear of censorship than other more realistic programmes. Brooker developed Black Mirror to highlight topics related to humanity's relationship with technology, creating stories that feature "the way we live now – and the way we might be living in 10 minutes' time if we're clumsy."
The series premiered for two series on Channel 4 in December 2011 and February 2013. After its addition to the catalogue in December 2014, Netflix purchased the programme in September 2015. It commissioned a series of 12 episodes later divided into the third and fourth series, each comprising six episodes; the former was released on 21 October 2016 and the latter on 29 December 2017. A standalone interactive film titled Black Mirror: Bandersnatch was released on 28 December 2018. A fifth series, comprising three episodes, was released on 5 June 2019.
The series has garnered positive reception from critics, received many awards and nominations, and seen an increase in interest internationally after its addition to Netflix. The show has won eight Emmy Awards for "San Junipero", "USS Callister" and Bandersnatch, including three consecutive wins in the Outstanding Television Movie category.
The series was originally commissioned by Channel 4 in the United Kingdom and premiered in December 2011. A second series ran during February 2013. In September 2015, Netflix purchased the programme, commissioning a series of 12 episodes later divided into two series of six episodes. The first of these series was released on Netflix worldwide as the overall third series on 21 October 2016. The fourth series was released on 29 December 2017. A fifth series consisting of three episodes was released on 5 June 2019.
Conception and style
Charlie Brooker had completed production of Dead Set, a zombie-based drama series, and while working on Newswipe and other programmes, had decided that he wanted to make another drama series, in an anthology style like The Twilight Zone, Tales of the Unexpected, and Hammer House of Horror. Brooker recognised that Rod Serling had written episodes of The Twilight Zone using contemporary issues, often controversial ones such as racism, but placed them in fictional settings so as to get around television censors at the time. Brooker realised he could do similar commentary on modern issues, specifically focusing on mankind's dependency on technology, something he encountered while producing the series How TV Ruined Your Life. Brooker pulled the series' title from this approach:
Brooker wanted to keep the anthology approach, using new stories, settings, characters, and actors for each episode, as he felt this approach was a key element of enjoying series like The Twilight Zone; he said, "There was a signature tone to the stories, the same dark chocolate coating – but the filling was always a surprise." 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: "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."
While the production does not use linking elements, the series has included allusions and Easter eggs from previous episodes into later ones. For example, "Hated in the Nation" in the third series calls back to the events of both the first series episode "The National Anthem" and the second series episode "White Bear", while the final episode of the fourth series "Black Museum" includes references to each prior episode of the series. Some of these are for the ease of reusing a name developed in a prior episode; for example, they created the fictional "UKN" broadcast network for handling news reports that drive stories, while the pizza delivery company used in "USS Callister" was used again for a company running automated pizza trucks in "Crocodile". Other Easter eggs were added as they knew viewers would be intensely dissecting the episodes, and the team provided these as gags. However, over time the use of Easter eggs became more purposeful, as to establish a canon of the "dream universe" that the episodes take place in. Brooker noted that when they opted to reuse a cover of Irma Thomas' "Anyone Who Knows What Love Is", first introduced in "Fifteen Million Merits", for "White Christmas", as "it does sort of nest the whole thing together in some kind of artistic universe". In describing the nature of Easter eggs in the standalone film Black Mirror: Bandersnatch, Brooker alluded to dialogue said by character Colin Ritman that spoke towards alternate realities, and suggested that their use of Easter eggs to previous episodes helps to connect all these stories, but not necessarily within the same reality or timeline. However, Brooker asserted that the Easter eggs in Black Mirror are only there "as an extra bit of texture for fans of the show", and not meant to fully construct an atlas of Black Mirror episodes that becomes essential for understanding any episode.
Giles Harvey comments in a profile of Brooker for The New Yorker that each episode "establishes the background of normality against which a decisive tweak will stand out all the more starkly". Harvey notes that the series' diverse range of genres show that it is "manifestly the work of someone who has clocked up many hours of screen time". He further comments that Brooker is "scrupulous", as "the believability of each episode depends on maintaining the complex internal logic of its dystopic world". Brooker is involved during the filming and editing processes, pointing out any inconsistencies that arise, and is "determined to make the devices and screens and interfaces used in 'Black Mirror' seem authentic". As examples of Brooker's "meticulous attention to detail", Harvey reports that Brooker carefully considered whether a falling wine bottle would shatter in the nested virtual realities of "Playtest", and whether it would rain in the eponymous location in "San Junipero". An instance of realistic technology is the email system in "Be Right Back", which contrasts with "histrionic computers" found in Hollywood; an email is sent to the main character with the heading "Martha, people in your position bought the following", containing various books on the topic of grief-counseling. Knowing that fans of the series have dissected some of these details by watching the episodes frame-by-frame, Brooker and his team have included humorous jabs at these fans through printed messages on various props, such as a paragraph in a news article held up by a character directed to fans of the series on Reddit in "Crocodile".
The series' inception was in 2010. Charlie Brooker and Annabel Jones served as executive producers; the two had begun to work together on Charlie Brooker's Screenwipe, a television review programme which aired from 2006 to 2008. The first pitch, to the head of comedy at Channel 4, was for eight half-hour episodes written by different people. Technology was a lesser focus, and the worlds were larger and more detailed, which Jones said was not possible to execute properly in the short runtime. The series was then commissioned for three hour-long episodes. The first script was "Fifteen Million Merits", which was written by Brooker and his wife Konnie Huq. The second script was "Inbound", which episode was never produced; it was about war and contained concepts which were later repurposed for the series 3 episode "Men Against Fire". The following script pitched became "The National Anthem", the first episode to air. The third episode is "The Entire History of You".
The programme was produced by Brooker's production company Zeppotron, for Endemol. Joel Collins served as production designer, with his company Painting Practice working on visual effects. 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 described the first episode, "The National Anthem", 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.
In 2013, Robert Downey Jr. optioned the episode "The Entire History of You" (written by Jesse Armstrong) to potentially be made into a film by Warner Bros. and his own production company, Team Downey. The series was available in the US from November 2013 via DirecTV, where episodes aired on Audience and were also available online to subscribers. It was made available in the US on Netflix from late 2014 onwards.
In the early stages of Black Mirror, Jones was keen to avoid casting comedy actors, as Brooker was previously a comedy writer, and they wanted the series to not feel like comedy. "The National Anthem" stars Rory Kinnear as Prime Minister Michael Callow, with Lindsay Duncan playing Home Secretary Alex Cairns. "Fifteen Million Merits" features Daniel Kaluuya as Bing, Jessica Brown Findlay as Abi and Rupert Everett, Julia Davis, Ashley Thomas as Judges Hope, Charity, and Wraith. In "The Entire History of You", Toby Kebbell and Jodie Whittaker star as married couple Liam and Ffion.
The first series was popular and critically well received, although viewing figures decreased throughout the series. The series was expensive for Channel 4, as the anthology format meant there were no economies of scale, but it was commissioned for a second series.
Series 2 consists of three episodes. Brooker described it as "more epic in scale, but more intimate in scope". The episodes are more "understated" in their technologies. Brooker commented that the second series mirrors the first: the first series has topics of (in order) "warped political satire", "dystopian hellscape", and "relationship torn apart by technology", while the second series presents episodes of these forms in reverse. Each episode in the first series had a male protagonist, so Brooker deliberately wrote female protagonists for series 2 episodes "Be Right Back" and "White Bear".
A trailer for the second series was made by Moving Picture Company and featured three interspersed storylines: "a dream sequence, the repetitive factory setting and the huge dust cloud that sweeps through the street at the ad's climactic end." Aired from 22 January 2013, the advertisement was shown on Channel 4 and in cinemas.
"Be Right Back" stars Hayley Atwell as Martha and Domhnall Gleeson as Ash, both in human and robot form. In "White Bear", Lenora Crichlow plays Victoria Skillane and Michael Smiley and Tuppence Middleton play Baxter and Jem. "The Waldo Moment" features Daniel Rigby as Jamie Salter, Chloe Pirrie as Gwendolyn Harris and Jason Flemyng as Jack Napier.
According to Brooker, the series was still taking its budget from the comedy department of Channel 4, and there was discussion of whether it should fall under the drama department instead. Shane Allen, head of comedy for Channel 4 at the time, stated in 2018 that someone had been taken aback by the budget for Black Mirror, which was well above the standard for a comedy, and became involved in the editorial process. A new head of comedy had been hired, who did not have a relationship with Brooker and Jones.
Brooker reported in 2018 that Channel 4 agreed on a third series of four episodes, but requested detailed synopses of the episodes in advance. Brooker came up with an episode "Angel of the Morning", which would later become a story in "White Christmas". He also conceived of an episode based on the earlier script "Inbound" which would have been similar to a later series 3 episode, "Men Against Fire". Another episode was named "Crocodile", which overlapped in parts with the series 4 episode of the same name. After a lengthy wait, Brooker and Jones were told that the ideas "weren't very Black Mirror". Though Channel 4 may have suggested doing a one-off special, Jones said that "we felt there wasn't any clarity from the channel".
Jones and Brooker worked on other projects for the next year, such as the comedy procedural A Touch of Cloth. After bumping into a Channel 4 staff member, Brooker emailed the channel to ask about how to continue with Black Mirror. Channel 4 had the budget for an hour-long Christmas special, but Jones and Brooker pushed for a 90-minute episode.
"White Christmas" was a portmanteau of three stories, inspired by works such as the 1983 science fiction film Twilight Zone: The Movie. It starred Jon Hamm as Matt and Rafe Spall as Joe throughout. Actors in the individual stories include: Rasmus Hardiker as Harry, Natalia Tena as Jennifer, Oona Chaplin as Greta, Janet Montgomery as Beth, and Ken Drury as Beth's father. The episode aired on 16 December 2014.
Move to Netflix
On the day of the press screening for "White Christmas", Brooker and Jones had a meeting with Channel 4 executives, who told them that they wanted to continue the series but due to budget constraints, it would need to be a co-production. The pair had travelled to Los Angeles a few months prior to try to get co-production money but were unsuccessful. The channel also suggested that Brooker could write an episode of Electric Dreams, a 2017 adaptation of short stories by Philip K. Dick.
In December 2014, the first two series of the programme were released on Netflix in the United States after they bought exclusive streaming rights, leading to increased attention for the programme. In a bidding war between channels, which included several American networks, Netflix led with a commitment of two series of ten episodes each. Brooker and Jones reported in 2018 that although they and Netflix were both keen to have Channel 4 as equal partners, they could not get a meeting with Channel 4. They eventually got a meeting without discussion of a co-production with Netflix, where the channel suggested a renewal for three episodes. The channel later offered six episodes if full treatments could be given in advance, but Brooker and Jones were concerned due to past rejection of ideas. They had a limited time to reply to US offers and chose to make a deal with Netflix.
In September 2015, Netflix officially commissioned 12 episodes of Black Mirror. In March 2016, it outbid Channel 4 for the rights to distributing the third series in the UK, with a bid of US$40 million. Endemol released a statement saying that Channel 4 had "had the opportunity to recommission [Black Mirror] since 2013 and passed on this and subsequent co-production offers put to them. [...] Further efforts were made to try to reach a settlement regarding a U.K. window for Channel 4, but these were also sadly to no avail". In a press release, Channel 4 say that they "offered to recommission Black Mirror". This marked the first time that an online streaming service had gained the rights to a series when the original network had wished to renew it.
In developing the third series' stories, Brooker had looked back to the first two series and the Christmas special and recognised that all the stories were about characters becoming trapped in a situation from which they could not escape. Coupled with the anthology format that asked for viewers to get immersed within the stories to understand the nature of each, this created a sense of darkness and horror, which could make it difficult to watch successive episodes without becoming uncomfortable. With the third series, Brooker wanted to explore different formats, still having a few "trap" episodes but adding more conventional stories like a romance and police procedural, making the new series more digestible for the viewer. Producer Lucy Dyke commented that Netflix had an expectation that the series would become "bigger and better" and "more international", while production designer Joel Collins said that Netflix was happy to support ideas on the same scale or on a larger scale than previous episodes. The first episode that Brooker wrote for the series was "San Junipero", and it was an intentional departure from previous episodes as well as a "deliberate raspberry-blow" at fans who were concerned at the series' Americanisation.
The titles of the six episodes that make up series 3 were announced in July 2016, along with the release date. A trailer for the third series was released in October 2016. It was released on Netflix worldwide on 21 October 2016.
"Nosedive" is an episode about social media written by Michael Schur and Rashida Jones, and starring Bryce Dallas Howard as Lacie. "Playtest" is a horror story starring Wyatt Russell as Cooper. "Shut Up and Dance" is about a blackmailed teenager, starring Alex Lawther as Kenny and Jerome Flynn as Hector, and written by Brooker and William Bridges. "San Junipero" is a science fiction love story starring Gugu Mbatha-Raw as Kelly and Mackenzie Davis as Yorkie. "Men Against Fire" is an episode about war, starring Malachi Kirby as Stripe. "Hated in the Nation" is a police procedural with Kelly Macdonald as Karin Parke and Faye Marsay as Blue Coulson.
According to Brooker, the fourth series has even more variety in the episodes than in previous series. Brooker says that there is "some more hope" in the series, crediting this to the fact that writing began in July 2016 and continued throughout the 2016 United States presidential election, and "I genuinely thought, I don't know what state the world's going to be in by the time these [episodes] appear, and I don't know how much appetite there will be for nothing but bleak nihilism."
In May 2017, a Reddit post unofficially announced the names and directors of the six episodes in series 4 of Black Mirror. Filming for the fourth series concluded in June 2017. The first trailer for the series was released by Netflix on 25 August 2017, and contained the six episode titles. In September 2017, two photos from the fourth series were released. Beginning on 24 November 2017, Netflix published a series of posters and trailers for each episode in the fourth series of the program, referred to as the "13 Days of Black Mirror", concluding on 6 December 2017 with the announcement of the release date. All six episodes were released to Netflix on 29 December 2017.
"USS Callister" is a space epic starring Jesse Plemons as Robert Daly and Cristin Milioti as Nanette Cole. "Arkangel" is an episode about motherhood starring Rosemarie DeWitt as Marie and Brenna Harding as Sara. "Crocodile" is about the consequences of a hit-and-run, starring Andrea Riseborough as Mia. "Hang the DJ" is a love story between Amy, played by Georgina Campbell, and Frank, played by Joe Cole. "Metalhead" is a black-and-white apocalypse episode starring Maxine Peake as Bella and directed by David Slade. "Black Museum" is an anthology of three stories, one of which was written by magician Penn Jillette, starring Douglas Hodge as Rolo Haynes and Letitia Wright as Nish.
The first episode made for series 4 was "Arkangel", which was directed by Jodie Foster and filmed in Canada. The Netflix budget allowed them to set and film "Crocodile" in Iceland and make the special effects-intensive episode "Metalhead".
According to Engadget and Gizmodo, as a means of viral marketing Netflix sent private messages to users of the Turkish website Ekşi Sözlük. The messages were sent from the account "iamwaldo" and read, "We know what you're up to. Watch and see what we will do." Although the advertising was met with positive reception from some users, others were critical of distress that the messages may have caused.
The first Black Mirror full-length film Bandersnatch was released on Netflix on 28 December 2018, after being formally announced the day prior. Set in 1984, the film follows Stefan, portrayed by Fionn Whitehead, a young programmer who begins to question reality as he adapts a sprawling fantasy novel into a video game and soon faces a mind-mangling challenge. Bandersnatch is an interactive film, prompting the viewer at times to select one of two choices on screen that affect how the work is shown; there are over one trillion potential paths to view the work and five distinct endings. The film also features Will Poulter, Craig Parkinson, Alice Lowe, and Asim Chaudhry.
In December 2017, when Brooker and executive producer Annabel Jones were asked about possibly creating a fifth series of Black Mirror, they said, "We would love to do it." Netflix announced the fifth series via social media on 5 March 2018, although they did not announce its release date or episode count. On 20 March 2018, at the 2018 Royal Television Society Awards, Brooker confirmed that the fifth series had begun filming. The complexity of Bandersnatch, which Brooker had originally envisioned to be part of series 5, delayed remaining production of the fifth season, although Netflix still committed to release in 2019. On 15 May 2019, a trailer for the fifth series was released, indicating it would comprise 3 episodes. On 5 June 2019, all three episodes of the fifth season were released.
The fifth series cast includes Anthony Mackie, Miley Cyrus, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Topher Grace, Damson Idris, Andrew Scott, Nicole Beharie, Pom Klementieff, Angourie Rice, Madison Davenport, and Ludi Lin.
Future of the series
In October 2016, Brooker said that he had ideas of where sequels to both "White Bear" and "Be Right Back" would go, but it was unlikely that either would be made. Brooker also stated that there were some characters in the series 3 episode "Hated in the Nation" who could potentially recur. Previously, actors have appeared in multiple Black Mirror episodes but for unrelated roles, such as Hannah John-Kamen ("Fifteen Million Merits" and "Playtest"), Michaela Coel ("Nosedive" and "USS Callister"), and Daniel Lapaine ("The Entire History of You" and "Black Museum").
When asked in interviews, Brooker has repeatedly stated that there are no plans for a sequel episode to "San Junipero". He told Los Angeles Times that they "want to keep [Kelly and Yorkie] happy there". However, Brooker has said that the series "may be referring to San Junipero again" in Easter eggs, which the series has used before. Brooker has also raised the idea of doing a sequel to the episode in "a completely different form", such as a graphic novel or "an experience". Brooker has suggested that the Bandersnatch character Colin Ritman (portrayed by Will Poulter) could potentially show up in future Black Mirror episodes, given that the character, in certain paths, seems to just disappear but has awareness of alternate timelines and realities.
Around January 2020, Brooker and Jones announced their departure from House of Tomorrow, the show's production company with the Endemol Shine group which the two had led, during their negotiations with Netflix that had started mid-2019. 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 established Broke and Bones, a new production company with each having a 50% stake in it. Netflix had arranged a long-term contract for series and other production rights with the Broke and Bones company by July 2020, though rights for Black Mirror at this stage still remained with Endemol, leaving Brooker and Jones unable to produce additional seasons unless new agreements were put in place, according to Variety.
In a May 2020 interview with Radio Times, Brooker questioned whether the public mood would suit a sixth season of Black Mirror and said that he had been working on more comedic projects.
On Rotten Tomatoes, series 1 received a 98% rating, series 2 received an 87% rating, "White Christmas" received an 89% rating, series 3 received an 86% rating and a score of 82 on Metacritic, series 4 received an 85% rating on Rotten Tomatoes and a score of 72 on Metacritic, Bandersnatch holds a 73% rating on Rotten Tomatoes and a score of 61 on Metacritic, and series 5 holds a rating of 68% on Rotten Tomatoes and a score of 65 on Metacritic.
The first series has been praised as being creative and shocking with twists-in-the-tale reminiscent of The Twilight Zone. Michael Hogan of The Daily Telegraph described the first episode, "The National Anthem", as "a shocking but ballsy, blackly comic study of the modern media". He continued: "This was a dementedly brilliant idea. The satire was so audacious, it left me open-mouthed and squealing. Rather like that poor pig." The series was taken up across much of the world, including Australia, Israel, Sweden, Spain, Poland, Hungary and China. The series has become popular and been well received in China, becoming one of the most discussed series in early 2012. User ratings on Douban reached 9.3, higher than most popular American dramas. Many viewers and critics praised the depth of the series. A reporter from The Beijing News thought the programme was "an apocalypse of modern world", "desperate but profound". Another article from the same newspaper thought each story criticised television from different aspects.
In its second series, Black Mirror continued to receive praise. In his review of the episode "Be Right Back", Sameer Rahim of The Telegraph wrote, "The show touched on important ideas – the false way we sometimes present ourselves online, and our growing addiction to virtual lives – but it was also a touching exploration of grief. To my mind it's the best thing Brooker has done." Jane Simon of The Daily Mirror newspaper website said the second episode of the second series, "White Bear", lacked the "instant emotional tug" of the series opener, "Be Right Back". She continued: a third of the way through the second episode, she had lost hope of its concluding well, "the acting was unbelievable, the script was riddled with horror-film cliches, the violence was a bit over the top", but that by the end, "I turned out to be absolutely dead wrong on every single count." She ended the piece with: "It's another work of dark and twisted genius from Mr Brooker." The second series is popular in China. Wen Bai at Information Times thought the second series was still "cannily made", and "near perfection".
In December 2014, Stephen King noted his admiration for the series. The series' Christmas special that year, "White Christmas", received critical acclaim. Ben Beaumont-Thomas of The Guardian praised the comic satire of the episode and noted that "sentimentality is offset with wicked wit, and Brooker's brio and imagination paper over any gaps in logic." The Daily Telegraph reviewer Mark Monahan gave the episode 4/5 stars, noting that the drama was "thrilling stuff: escapist entertainment with a very real-world sting in its tail". Monahan equated the episode with the stronger of the previous Black Mirror episodes, stating that "it exaggerated present-day technology and obsessions to subtle but infernal effect, a nightmare-before-Christmas reminder that to revere our digital gizmos is to become their pathetic slave." In 2019, Black Mirror was ranked 23rd on The Guardian's list of the 100 best TV shows of the 21st century.
Journalists have reported that some of the concepts in Black Mirror have come true, in fashion, within the real world and have called the series a Magic 8-Ball for the future. The first episode, "The National Anthem", revolves around the British Prime Minister's being blackmailed into having sex with a pig; in September 2015, four years after the episode aired, allegations were published that David Cameron, who at the time was British Prime Minister, had placed a "private part" into the mouth of a dead pig as part of a university initiation rite. Brooker has called the event a "coincidence, albeit a quite bizarre one" and was perturbed when he first heard the allegations: "I did genuinely for a moment wonder if reality was a simulation, whether it exists only to trick me", he said in an interview. Several news reports compared Donald Trump's 2016 presidential campaign to "The Waldo Moment", a 2013 episode in the second series; later, in September 2016, Brooker also compared the Trump campaign to the episode and predicted Trump would win the 2016 election. The third series episode "Nosedive" presented a social rating-based system that several found mirrored by China's proposed Social Credit System. Brooker has been surprised to see how some of these events had come to pass. "It was quite trippy, though. I'm kind of getting used to it, because it seems like it's quite often that there are things that are in the stories that come true." Ten days after the release of series 4 episode "Crocodile" – which included a self-driving pizza delivery truck as a major plot device – Toyota and Pizza Hut announced the e-Palette, a driverless delivery vehicle, at the 2018 Consumer Electronics Show. The conceptual vehicle drew numerous comparisons with its fictional counterpart, and the official Twitter account for Black Mirror commented on the announcement, saying, "We know how this goes."
In November 2012, Black Mirror won Best TV Movie/Miniseries at the International Emmy Awards. Bryce Dallas Howard received a Screen Actors Guild Award nomination for her performance in the episode "Nosedive". At the 69th Primetime Emmy Awards, Black Mirror received three nominations with two wins, including Outstanding Television Movie for "San Junipero". "USS Callister" received three Emmy Awards, including Outstanding Television Movie, and four Emmy nominations in 2018. Bandersnatch won two Emmys in 2019, including Outstanding Television Movie, making it the third consecutive win for Black Mirror in that category.
A series of webisodes Czarne Lusterko (Polish for Little Black Mirror) was produced for Netflix Polska by Jacek Ambrosiewicz, in collaboration with Polish YouTubers. Released on 19 January 2018, the four shorts vary between eight and 21 minutes in length. "69.90" explores "loneliness and gaming" according to creators Huyen Pham and Marcin Nguyen, who discussed twenty different ideas for the episode before deciding upon an episode featuring a computer simulation which is indistinguishable from real life. "The Breakup" features Krzysztof Gonciarz and Kasia Mecinski; it used realism and ordinary technology, being filmed in part on a Panasonic Lumix DC-GH5 to emulate vlog aesthetics. "The Sum of Happiness" was posted on Martin Stankiewicz's YouTube channel and focuses on a neurological implant and a relationship app, which have been featured before in Black Mirror. "1%" is about a "fallible" and "ruthless" piece of obstetrics technology.
A second series of webisodes, initially announced as Little Black Mirror but eventually renamed Stories From Our Future, was directed for Netflix América Latina by American YouTuber Rudy Mancuso. Initially planned for release on Netflix América Latina's YouTube channel, as part of promotion for the programme's fifth series, the original trailer for the project was removed by Netflix. The shorts were later released on 10 June 2019 on channels of individuals who feature in them. "Cure for Loneliness" was released on Mancuso's channel; "Getting to Know You" was released on YouTuber Lele Pons' channel; "The Healthy Alternative" was released on vlogger Juanpa Zurita's channel. Also featured in the series is Australian actor Maia Mitchell.
In June 2018, Brooker announced that he, along with Annabel Jones and Jason Arnopp, have written an oral history companion to the series titled Inside Black Mirror. The book features sections on each of the 19 episodes in the first four series, containing conversational interviews from cast and crew and images from the episodes and behind the scenes. The book was released in the UK on 1 November 2018 and in the US on 20 November 2018 from Penguin Random House. Starburst rated the book ten out of ten stars, praising its "wonderfully-comprehensive format" and summarising it as "blunt, brittle, often killingly funny and lavishly-illustrated".
In June 2017, Brooker announced a series of novels based on Black Mirror that will offer "new, original, darkly satirical stories that tap into our collective unease about the modern world". Brooker will edit three volumes of novellas that will feature anthology short stories by different authors. The first instalment was scheduled to include stories written by Cory Doctorow, Claire North and Sylvain Neuvel. Initially scheduled for release in 2018 and 2019, the project was postponed indefinitely as Brooker and Jones could not dedicate enough time to it.
Based on the third series episode "Nosedive", the board game Nosedive was produced by Asmodee. Released on 25 November 2018, the game requires between three and six players and is designed to last for roughly 45 minutes.
Black Mirror Labyrinth
In mid-2019, Thorpe Park Resort in Chertsey, United Kingdom, announced that it was to open a walkthrough maze, the "Black Mirror Labyrinth". The maze was scheduled to open in March 2020, but this was delayed because of the COVID-19 pandemic in the United Kingdom. It is set to open in the second quarter of 2021.
- Nussbaum, Emily (January 2015). "Button-Pusher: The seductive dystopia of 'Black Mirror'". The New Yorker.