Warning: This post contains spoilers for episodes of “Black Mirror.”
“Black Mirror” won the Emmy for Outstanding Television Movie over the weekend for the second year in a row, this time for “USS Callister.” Last year, “San Junipero” took the prize.
The “Twilight Zone”-inspired sci-fi anthology series is a dark reflection of our closer-than-ever future. It’s haunting, but that’s what draws audiences to it.
With a mix of sci-fi horror and dark comedy, creator Charlie Brooker’s “Black Mirror” is funny at times because of the absurdity of it all, but just as scary when we realize that the show is a cautionary tale.
The series, in which every episode tells a different story about technology run amok, originally aired on British television’s Channel 4 before being acquired by Netflix. Since then, the streaming service has completed two seasons of six episodes each.
In all, there are 19 episodes of “Black Mirror” (all of which are streaming on Netflix) and like with any show, there are disappointments and standouts. Business Insider has ranked all 19 from worst to best.
Below is every “Black Mirror” episode, ranked:
19. “Men Against Fire” (Season 3, Episode 5)
“Black Mirror” is at its best when it is a cautionary tale without shoving the episode’s larger themes down our throats. The best “Black Mirror” episodes are nuanced, or let the viewer draw their own conclusions. “Men Against Fire” is about a solider who uncovers a conspiracy when he discovers that the zombie-like creatures he’s been ordered to hunt are actually human, masked by technology that wipes a soldiers’ memories and controls what they see. It’s a show-and-tell presentation with much more telling than showing, and the climax of the episode is an explosion of exposition.
18. “Arkangel” (Season 4, Episode 2)
“Arkangel,” directed by Jodie Foster, is terribly basic. It only scratches the surface of what the episode could have explored in terms of parenting. A mom uses a device that tells her daughter’s location and records what she sees, which could naturally have horrific ramifications for a mother-daughter relationship — and it does. The predictable conclusion of the episode could have been satisfying if the stakes were higher, but the episode plays it safe, and only cares to examine the most cliche aspects of a teenager’s life.
17. “Fifteen Million Merits” (Season 1, Episode 2)
Before “Get Out” and “Black Panther,” Daniel Kaluuya starred in a weak “Black Mirror” episode, but he gives a strong performance. The episode follows Kaluuya’s character Bing in a society where people ride power-generating stationary bikes in exchange for merits. He falls for a woman who can sing beautifully, and he convinces her to enter a contest in which he uses all of his millions of merits to gift her an entry ticket. Things naturally collapse from there. The episode is a fine commentary on greed and commercialism, but doesn’t rise above better episodes.
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