‘Black Mirror’ announces Season 5
Get ready for more dystopian nightmares.
Black Mirror, the extremely popular series about the weird raw edge of technology, debuted its fourth season in late 2017. It’s doubtful that creator Charlie Brooker was conspiring with robotics company Boston Dynamics, but it wasn’t long after the show’s robotic killer dog episode ‘Metalhead’ that Boston Dynamics unveiled their own freaky, door-opening robotic pet. Not to be so quickly outpaced by reality, Black Mirror has already announced a fifth season.
Between the previous season of Black Mirror and now, Venmo suspended someone’s payment because it mistook a Cuban sandwich as a breach of US sanctions. The University of Illinois began training artificial intelligence to behave like sea slugs. Users in a virtual reality chatroom watched helplessly as one player had a stroke, their real body convulsing somewhere in the world while their cartoon avatar slumped on the digital floor. And Elon Musk sent a car into space as a promotional stunt which might become a biohazard.
It bears repeating, but the real world’s rapidly evolving tech and all its pitfalls presents increasing challenges for Black Mirror to come up with bizarre, dystopian narratives. In its previous season, Black Mirror covered helicopter parenting apps in ‘Arcangel;’ the privacy rights of your own memories in ‘Crocodile,’ and, in its most celebrated episode ‘USS Callister,’ how VR will inevitably make us even worse trolls.
“The future will be brighter than ever,” tweeted Black Mirror’s account, shortly after news of a fifth season was confirmed. The show, originally on BBC’s Channel 4, has been a Netflix production since its third season, and quickly became one of the biggest hits on the streaming platform. Brooker has stated that he doesn’t want to retread subjects, but it’s not like there’s any shortage of inspiration from the ongoing real-world nightmare.