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The Top 5 Black Mirror Episodes that are Actually Worth Watching

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.

Netflix’s Black Mirror, the epic phenomenon that’s dominated the modern age of tv has fascinated audiences with the possibilities of the technological future. If you have not yet delved into the long episodes that explore both a dystopian future utilizing science fiction technology, and the threatening reflection of human nature showing the dark side of our own selves, here are my top 5 recommended episodes that encapsulates the true essence of Black Mirrors haunting possibilities. Do not worry! No proper spoilers are ahead, just the basic outline of each episode I thoroughly enjoyed and why they have been included.

For those who are not familiar with the concept of the show: each episode concerns completely new characters, actors and plot-lines, ‘Black Mirror’ refers to the screens we all encounter every day. From our phones and laptops, to even the screens we use to order food in McDonalds, we are constantly exposed to new technologies at a rapid speed. The symbols of our technological society become a black surface reflecting our figure once turned off, an image that the creator of the show Charlie Brooker sparked a fascination with. The black mirror is therefore what we are left with when technology stops working, our deformed reflections, dark image of ourselves, only emptiness remaining, and in turn a metaphor for the dark side of promising technology once it is abused by the greediness of humankind. Described in the Guardian as not really ‘sci-fi’ but ‘more like after a couple of software updates’, the show can be terrifying in its realistic possibility.

1. White Bear

At the top of my list is one of the first Black Mirror episodes I ever watched and the chills that came with the disturbing revelations throughout the episode still follows me every time I rewatch. The episode begins with a confused woman who is unsure of where she is and her own identity. Throughout, we see her frazzled state yearning for help, however being ignored by the many bystanders videoing her on their smartphones. The themes dealt with within this episode are disgustingly dark and the story takes the viewer on a journey so enticing, that even if the ending is guessed in advance, the episode can unsettle even the coldest person. Possibly one of the best twists in a Black Mirror episode (a very subjective opinion), this episode is definitely a must watch recommendation, especially for those who love a dark twist that really plays with the emotions.

2. White Christmas

Despite being a Christmas themed episode which would usually suggest cheer and festivities, White Christmas delivers a more serious take, the interconnected tales of technology told by two men at a remote outpost in a frozen wilderness. Utilising a common feature of any social media app, this episode experiments with the ideas of ‘blocking’ others online, and the real tragic repercussions that could be faced if this was a real-life possibility used recklessly. There is also the inclusion of a technology called Z-Eyes, which is like a computer everyone has in their eyes that you can’t remove, a concept that seems far-fetched at first but could become a possibility with the current rapid rate of today’s technological advances. The story is told in such a way that the frightful ending is not anticipated, and in my opinion is a very entertaining episode to watch.

3. Nosedive

My previous two recommendations have concerned more of the darker concepts that Black Mirror has explored, so if that type of trope is not your taste, Nosedive may be more interesting for you to watch. In today’s society, where online appearances have a huge presence, this episode provides an interesting perspective on social identities and socioeconomic identities. Social rating via smartphone determines the job you get, where you live, your friends, and can give you major boosts in life, which seems like an easy life for many, however the episode also highlights the extreme downsides to this way of life where you could be ostracised by society, and you could even lose your job. Taking a more lighthearted approach to the cynical, Nosedive is an interesting take on a usage of technology that is similar to social media but actually determines your life, which in reality many use to judge others on their sum of likes and followers, showing a terrifying way of living.

4. Shut up and Dance

This episode on first encounter appears very scattered and random, discovering new information along with the protagonists of the episode. Labelled by review site ‘Screen Rant’ as Black Mirrors ‘most disturbing episode’, this episode deals with themes much darker and horrifying than first imagined. The story follows a teenager blackmailed by a group of hackers who have footage of him in a compromising position, a use of technology that is the most realistic in the whole anthology series, heightening the fearful possibilities that these situations could easily happen to anyone in the real world. Despite only being number 4 in my list, I admit I was in serious shock after this episode ended and would recommend as one of the best episodes to anybody wanting an idea of the kinds of troubling abuses of technology Black Mirror plays with.

5. Hang the DJ

My last recommendation is one for a more romantic viewer, documenting a dating method that is reminiscent of the many dating websites available to us. Hang the DJ highlights the possibility of dating apps and how realistic the results of using them can be. Following two single daters using ‘the system’ that provides them with their own virtual dating coach and matches them with others who appear compatible from their profiles, the participants are interestingly able to reveal how long the relationship will last with their chosen partners, showing the effects that technology can have on these types of intimate relationships. This episode is striking when considering the prominent popularity of apps like Tinder and Hinge, entertaining in a more lighthearted way than the other episodes I have recommended.

This TV series is a must watch, as everyone is exposed to some form of ‘black mirror’ in their daily lives without even realising.

I had a lot of trouble trying to narrow down just 5 to recommend, so here are some honourable mentions of episodes that came close to being included: Fifteen Million Merits (Season 1 Episode 2), Playtest (Season 3 Episode 2), USS Callister (Season 4 Episode 1), Crocodile (Season 4 Episode 3), and Striking Vipers (Season 5 Episode 1).

Roisin Teeling

Nottingham '23

I am currently a second year English student at the University of Nottingham. My main interests include reading, music and fashion, and I am excited to be a part of the HerCampus team :)
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