The fifth season of Black Mirror is set to launch on 5 June 2019, delivering a trio of new stories centred around the darker aspects of modern culture and technology.
Black Mirror is an anthology of science fiction stories which relate heavily to modern cultural and societal conflicts, particularly those which are influenced by technology.
The Netflix series is the brainchild of Charlie Brooker, who serves as showrunner alongside Annabel Jones on the project.
Ahead of the show’s new season, MyBroadband had the opportunity to talk to Brooker and Jones about Black Mirror.
Brooker was especially vocal about the show not being anti-technology, saying it provides a commentary on the propensity for human mistakes when interacting with technology.
“If you didn’t like technology this would be the worst show to work on,” Brooker said. “In fact, it would be one of the worst jobs you could possibly have.”
He said he was very interested in various technical fields and spent a lot of time researching subjects for Black Mirror episodes.
“We don’t think the show is anti-technology,” said Brooker.
“It is showing technology as powerful and seductive, but it is the characters that are actually causing the problems.”
Jones agreed with this evaluation, noting that many of the episodes in Black Mirror examine the nature of the relationship between humanity and technology.
“As technology becomes more powerful, individuals’ relationships with technology have to be constantly inspected,” Jones said. “The one relationship people are managing the most is their relationship with technology.”
She added that the proliferation of these technological relationships mean there will be many mistakes made, and therein lies the danger.
Jones said the show also examines the struggle to control the implications of evolving technology.
“Technology kind of gives you a superpower, and as a species we are working to control it,” she said.
“With any sort of progress, there is a struggle to get used to it and learn to control it,” Brooker added.
Black Mirror’s episodes
Black Mirror’s most recent episode was a standalone project named Bandersnatch, which was the first interactive film to debut on Netflix.
Bandersnatch allowed the viewer to make decisions for the main character, shepherding the protagonist through the story toward different scenes and endings.
Brooker said that creating this show was enjoyable and was a hit among viewers, but involved a serious amount of work – including the need to research technical skills such as programming for the script.
“We couldn’t be more happy with the reception we got,” said Brooker. “It was hell, but fun.”
Black Mirror has historically not been very consistent with episode formats, with episodes ranging from around 30 minutes to almost an hour and a half in length, with a varying number of episodes per season.
The showrunners said this is they way they prefer it, as it allows them to experiment with the individual stories.
“We are fortunate in that we can experiment,” said Jones. “We have done feature-length episodes and some that are around half an hour. It really depends on the story, that’s the thing that drives us.”
“I’d like to think we could do an episode that’s five minutes long and one that is five hours long, it really depends on the story.”
With Bandersnatch, all of that stuff goes out the window. In a world where you have a bunch of narratives, you still have to streamline it.
Season 5 of Black Mirror will include three episodes, each of which is over an hour long.