Black Mirror is back for its long-awaited fifth season with three new stories about “a future we should have seen coming”. The latest instalment of the sci-fi anthology series will air on June 5th and become available to viewers via its exclusive home, Netflix. Miley Cyrus, Topher Grace, and Andrew Scott will star alongside others.
Continuing to tap into our collective unease with this rapidly modernizing world, each episode promises a sharp standalone tale. Each will explore one aspect of the tenuous connection between technology and society, and lead viewers to a poignant, likely unsettling, conclusion.
Black Mirror episodes are connected by their examination of technology, but innovation hasn’t stopped there. The show has also harnessed technology. The latest episode to air, Bandersnatch was an interactive episode that unfolded like a ‘choose your own adventure’ tale. It was made available on Netflix on December 28 last year and stands among the first shows to pioneer interactive features with Netflix. Some loved it, others hated it, but none can deny the effort and attention to detail that went into creating the immersive experience.
Why are episodes delayed?
Series five has been delayed due to the unparalleled level of work required to complete Bandersnatch.
“Doing Bandersnatch was like doing several episodes at once,” creator Charlie Brooker told media. Those who clicked their way through the many permutations of Bandersnatch’s outcomes will understand why.
For those that haven’t, here’s a visual representation to show some of the many choices that created different outcomes, each of which required new scenes:
Bandersnatch was such a grand undertaking that executives eventually decided to release it independently of series five.
Six months later, we finally have what we’ve been patiently waiting for.
Who is in the cast?
While Black Mirror has a reputation for finding relatively unknown talent and nurturing standout performances, series 5 brings some star names into the fold.
After rumours circulated with no one confirming nor denying, we now know that Miley Cyrus will feature in one episode. The trailer also indicates that Cyrus’ character will have a pop-star persona. The real-life pop artist has appeared on screen as Hannah Montana and starred in a rom-com called The Last Song. Cyrus has appeared on TV as a performer in various series such as HBO’s Girls. We will soon find out how she holds up in a show like Black Mirror.
That 70s Show star Topher Grace appears in the trailer with long hair pulled back and downcast eyes. It’s hard to make out anything about his character other than that he bears an exquisite sadness.
The Sherlock and Fleabag star features heavily in the trailer. He sits in the driver’s seat of a car with a loaded gun. Around him, a team of fast-acting cops tries to prevent him from harming himself or someone else.
Mackie changes gears from his role as Falcon in Avengers: Infinity War, Ant-Man, and the Captain America movies. He will also continue working small screen projects as Takeshi Kovacs in the follow-up series of Altered Carbon.
Yahya Abdul-Mateen II
The Aquaman actor has kept himself busy in addition to this show. He will have an upcoming role in Jordan Peele’s Candyman sequel and HBO’s small-screen adaptation of Watchmen.
Other talent to watch out for in Black Mirror series 5 include Damson Idris, Angourie Rice, Madison Davenport, Nicole Beharie, Pom Klementieff, and Ludi Lin.
What will happen in series five?
A synopsis for the upcoming episodes has not yet been released. However, we do have titles for the first two: Striking Vipers and Smithereens. While these titles make little sense now, chances are the connection will be clear upon watching.
We can collect fragments of information from the trailer. A symphony of alert tones, a vibrating phone, the click of a gun, and shaking hands adequately set the tone.
Miley Cyrus’ episode will feature a pop star and a troubled young girl without any friends. The same episode involves a robot-doll that exists to restore people’s self-esteem — but may turn out to be “poison”.
Andrew Scott’s episode centres around a man who is fed up with the direction the world has gone in. Cops find him on the verge of destruction whilst passers-by record the incident on their phones.
Anthony Mackie’s episode seems to focus on his unraveling marriage. The trailer shows a scene of his character and a friend ogling images of other women on social media. The episode will likely explore how technology threatens relationships and family life. Another possible theme involves the dangers of making comparisons between real life and social media. A virtual reality fighting game ala Street Fighter will also play into this storyline.
In addition to love, privacy, connection, sex, family, work, and afterlife — themes that flash before our eyes as the trailer hits its climax — Black Mirror series 5 may also explore themes of loneliness. The trailer’s opening song includes lyrics about a “lonely feeling”. These words may reflect how the series’ disparate characters share a common feeling of loneliness despite living in a hyper-connected world.
Here is the official Black Mirror series 5 trailer so you can see what’s in store for yourself:
**MAY 22 UPDATE**
Episode Titles Released
We now have titles and descriptions for the three upcoming episodes, along with official photos. Take a look!
RACHEL, JACK AND ASHLEY, TOO
Synopsis: A lonely teenager yearns to connect with her favorite pop star – whose charmed existence isn’t quite as rosy it appears…
Cast: Miley Cyrus, Angourie Rice, Madison Davenport.
Synopsis: Two estranged college friends reunite in later life, triggering a series of events that could alter their lives forever.
Cast: Anthony Mackie, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Nicole Beharie, Pom Klementieff, Ludi Lin.
Synopsis: A cab driver with an agenda becomes the centre of attention on a day that rapidly spirals out of control.
Cast: Andrew Scott, Damson Idris, Topher Grace.