Black Mirror, judging by the handful of episodes I’ve seen, is at times some pretty smart TV. And I do love a good anthology series.
The key to a good anthology series, though, at least for me, is variety. I keep seeing Black Mirror” billed as a “modern-day Twilight Zone.”
Twilight Zone, however, fluctuates in tone and mood from week to week. You’ve got your sci-fi episodes, your fantasy episodes, your supernatural episodes, your tear-jerker episodes, your hide-under-the-covers episodes, your lighthearted goofball episodes, your heavy-handed message episodes, etc etc etc.
Black Mirror is universally depressing. Every episode I’ve seen is doom and gloom. And I get it, that’s the show’s “thing,” but the only similarity between it and the Twilight Zone is the format. I can do dark, but I need light, too. And I find that the older I get, the more light I need. Black Mirror is too dark and dreary for me to tolerate beyond small doses. And even after those doses I find myself compelled to seek out a super-chill non-action fun episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation to cleanse my palate.
Twilight Zone had messages. “This is what could happen if we continue down this path. But we can change and better ourselves and avoid that. Think about it.”
Black Mirror says: “We’re screwed and it’s never going to get any better.” Fade to black.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s a brilliant show at times, but it’s just a bit much for me to handle. I need some hope and fun in my speculative fiction.