For fans of the sci-fi anthology series, Black Mirror’s 5th Season might not have been the most satisfying to watch. Still, with 22 hour-long episodes in the entire series, it might be hard to pick which to watch – which is why we’ve come up with a list of our favourites.
Here’s a disclaimer, though! The episodes mentioned here lean towards the less twisted end of the Black Mirror spectrum, in order to make it easy for first-time watchers to catch on. If you’re looking for episodes with stories that might ruin your day, give the most infamous ones a go – White Bear, Shut Up and Dance, Playtest and The National Anthem.
1. S3E01 – Nosedive
Season 3 of Black Mirror delivers some of the best episodes throughout the series, and the episode that kicks off the season is one of them.
Nosedive is set in a world where people rate each other out of 5 stars on their phones, based on the interactions they have with each other. Each person has their own personal rating out of 5 as well, which increases or decreases depending on what they’re rated by others. Based on this system, the episode follows the trials of a woman desperate to boost her own score.
Interesting premise aside, the episode makes use of bright, pastel colours – which contrasts the filming and editing style of Black Mirror as a whole. Plus, the contrast does well to unnerve the viewer, since the story (as you can infer from the title) eventually goes downhill. As a whole, the episode is cathartic in a sense, and questions why people place so much emphasis on appearances on social media.
2. S3E06 – Hated In The Nation
While Season 3 starts strong, it also ends strong. Hated in the Nation is told from the perspective of a detective (and her assistant) who has to investigate a mysterious series of deaths, happening specifically to people who are widely hated on social media.
Shot in a style reminiscent of true crime stories, or series, the tone and pacing of this episode differs from most other Black Mirror episodes. Nevertheless, the tension throughout the episode, driven by its narrative, is fascinating yet horrifying to watch unfold. It’s one of Black Mirror’s strongest episodes in terms of commentary regarding social media, though viewers who dislike (or have a fear of) insects should be wary.
3. S4E04 – Hang the DJ
Tinder takes a unique twist in Hang the DJ. Users of a certain dating app have set time periods to spend cohabiting with their matches allocated to them by the system, regardless of whether they have chemistry or not. These time periods range from anywhere between a couple of days, to years on end.
Hang the DJ has a touching story with a surprising twist – one of the best in the entire series. It’s also one of the most wholesome episodes, though it’s not without its Black Mirror bleakness in between. It’s a pretty good episode to check out!
Honorable Mention: San Junipero
Of course, when you think of Black Mirror, you might just think of Emmy-winning episode San Junipero. It’s no surprise that this episode is a fan favourite, either – San Junipero’s story was moving, and the tech involved was fascinating and thought-provoking. Despite the inconsistency in the behaviour of one of the main characters, it’s overall still a solid episode, and is definitely worth the watch.
Love it or hate it, Black Mirror is undeniably one of the most captivating sci-fi series in television. Go give it a watch on Netflix!