19. Men Against Fire (Episode 305)
No amount of fancy effects will fool me into thinking that this episode is anything other than The 5th Wave. You haven’t read it or seen it, but I have done both and I can tell you in full confidence this is the same thing. Putting the Black Mirror title on a young adult novel doesn’t make me like it.
- Shut Up and Dance (Episode 303)
Bronn is in this episode. That’s it. That’s the high point. You spend the whole episode felling bad for a kid because he’s being punished for jerking off, and then at the very end, spoilers, he’s a pedophile. Gross and weird. Plus, putting outdated internet memes in anything makes it worse. So much worse.
- Arkangel (Episode 402)
Maybe I’m giving humanity too much credit, but I think that if you know the red stuff that comes out of people is blood, you’re not gonna forget just because it’s blurry. Don’t put experimental mind control implants in your children.
- Crocodile (Episode 403)
This is a weird episode because every other Black Mirror is about how everything you see is automatically sent to the cloud and we all have eye augments and brain computers but somehow none of that exists here. Also, it seems to imply that it’s sadder to kill a baby you didn’t have to, where I would argue you never have to kill a baby at all ever.
- The Waldo Moment (Episode 203)
Shockingly, electing politicians based on the fact that they’re unqualified and hate politics is a terrible idea. Wow. Who knew? This one ranks so low because British political parties have dumb names and the credits scene is nonsensical at best.
- Be Right Back (Episode 201)
Did I need an hour program to learn that cloning your dead husband is maybe not emotionally healthy? This episode probably ranks number one if you want to have sex with Cleverbot, but otherwise it’s not very memorable.
- The National Anthem (Episode 101)
I honestly should have rated this episode higher because nothing is better than raving about how good and clever this show is and then the first one is about fucking a pig.
- The Entire History of You (Episode 103)
“Hey, CJ, you know that nightly moment where you stare at the ceiling and regret your interactions with people? What if your whole life was that but times a thousand? We just have to jam a camera into your eyeball!”
Thanks, but no thanks hellish nightmare demons. Hard pass.
- Nosedive (Episode 301)
I’m deeply horrified by the thought that somehow in the future society became okay with hearing stranger’s phones make noise constantly. Keep that shit on vibrate, weirdos. No one wants to hear the bleeps and bloops of your pleas for validation.
- Playtest (Episode 302)
If I were testing a new augmented reality horror game and it mined my brain for things that would deeply terrify me, the scariest thing it could possibly create would be an otherwise good episode of TV that was ruined by a gotcha punchline in the last 30 seconds. Horrifying.
- Metalhead (Episode 405)
This episode at #9 might just be the hottest take on this list unless you love The 5th Wave or want to bang out with a deep learning AI. Not a lot of people liked this episode (6.8 on IMDb, lowest of all episodes) but those people are wrong. It’s Black Mirror does Alfred Hitchcock meets The Shining (with just a touch of Hound of the Baskervilles) and it’s the truest “anthology’ entry in the series, PLEASE @ me.
- Fifteen Million Merits (Episode 102)
The clear lesson here is if you miss your shot with a girl you should definitely threaten to kill yourself. This always works and does not come off as desperate or unstable. Fact. This is one of the show’s better examples of world building in a vacuum, but honestly America’s Got Talent is played out NOW, so I can’t imagine how boring and vanilla it will be in the future.
- White Bear (Episode 202)
I like to think of White Bear as the British equivalent of Hamilton. Like, it’s impossible to get tickets but anyone who sees it can’t stop raving about how great it is. College theatre kids are trying to license it. People are desperately looking for a high-quality YouTube version. Just that theirs is about psychologically torturing a woman everyday for the rest of her life instead of historical raps.
- USS Callister (Episode 401)
A good rule of thumb is that if something cool exists in this world, the people who like that thing will ruin it for people. It’s an almost universal phenomenon. An example, from this episode: free will is pretty cool. Knock-off Matt Damon was having none of that shit at all. Side note, for those keeping track at home: this is the highest ranked episode with a child murder in it (out of 4). Please also note that this was not a ranking criteria for this list.
- Hang the DJ (Episode 404)
Perhaps even more hellish than the thought of my digital soul trapped in a Star Trek knock-off is the thought of my digital soul being forced to date, forever. It’s actually ranked lower than it could have been, since I found out the title is a reference to a Smiths song and not an indication that being a DJ is illegal in the future.
- Hated in the Nation (Episode 306)
This episode takes the shockingly controversial stance that, wow, maybe social media can be bad? Social media bad? Social? Media? Bad? Bees? Despite the stale take, the episode shines thanks to a strong overall premise and non-linear storytelling conceit. Please share this on all your social media platforms.
- Black Museum (Episode 406)
I initially dismissed this episode as a retread. But comments on the form ignore the themes of traditional Americana fundamentally at odds with the black experience and the still prevalent commodification of minorities. However, I’m not qualified to talk about any of that. Like, at all. Not my lane. But hey, that part with the teddy bear was like Piccolo fused with Nail in DBZ, right? Right? Anyone?
- San Junipero (Episode 304)
It would have been way better for this article clickbait-wise if I didn’t like this episode. But honestly, isn’t “old people living out their glory days digitally” essentially the same thing as “starting a website with your best buds because you peaked in college”? We’re the San Junipero of content.
- White Christmas (Special)
This is bar none the best Black Mirror episode. Honestly it’s not close. And it’s so sad! Jon Hamm’s character is really sad because he barely gets to mention all the ladies he bangs, and Rafe Spall’s character is sad because he looks weird with facial hair. The two main twists of the episode are that most episodes of this “anthology” series after this one use the same premise as White Christmas, and that they went with child manslaughter instead of the usual child murder. What a switchup!