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Black Mirror Is Back, and It’s Probably Gonna Be Depressing

Aaron Paul’s characters can never find peace. Photo: Netflix

Get in, girls, we’re going to visit some tech hellscapes. Not talking real-life crypto conventions or DALL-E AI images. There’s a new season of Netflix anthology series Black Mirror, a show that imagines the fate of different tech-saturated worlds, out June 15. Season six has been a long time coming — the last season aired in 2019, before many of us developed COVID-19 antibodies and lived out our days in Zoom breakout rooms. Sources told Variety in May 2022 that season six was in the works with more episodes than the previous installment’s three. The production is getting an upgrade — it’s reportedly more cinematic in scope with each episode being produced like an individual film. So what do we need to know about Charlie Brooker’s latest dive into our living tech nightmare the imagined consequences of our reliance on technology? Jump in below.

What happens in the trailer?

The latest trailer teases five episodes guaranteed to stress you out. There’s a tale about a woman (Annie Murphy) who shockingly discovers a TV adaptation of her own life when browsing a Netflix-esque streaming service. She can’t be too mad though. The series, titled Joan Is Awful, cast Salma Hayek to play her. A win is a win! A different episode, “Loch Henry,” follows Industry’s Myha’la Herrold on a journey to make a documentary in the Scottish countryside — only to discover something quite shocking. In an Aaron Paul–starring entry, “Beyond the Sea,” a man is lost two years into a space mission. “Mazey Day,” on the other hand, follows a paparazzo (Zazie Beetz) who stalks a suffering starlet looking for a money shot. The last episode teased is “Demon 79,” in which we see a ’70s-era department store sales associate (Anjan Vasan) commit crimes for good reasons while I May Destroy You’s Paapa Essiedu consoles her.

“Partly as a challenge, and partly to keep things fresh for both me and the viewer, I began this season by deliberately upending some of my own core assumptions about what to expect,” Booker told Netflix’s Tudum in an interview. “Consequently, this time, alongside some of the more familiar Black Mirror tropes we’ve also got a few new elements, including some I’ve previously sworn blind the show would never do, to stretch the parameters of what ‘a Black Mirror episode’ even is.”

Who’s in the cast of Black Mirror season six?

The cast is just starting to come together. Salma Hayek and Annie Murphy are the latest actors in talks to join season six, per Variety. On August 18, Deadline reported that Under the Banner of Heaven and Signs star Rory Culkin boarded the Black Mirror train, though specific details remain unclear about the recent deal struck with the Culkin sibling. Netflix declined to comment on the Deadline report. On July 13, Variety reported that Atlanta’s Zazie Beetz, I May Destroy You’s Paapa Essiedu, and Breaking Bad’s Aaron Paul are joining the cast. Sources indicated that Josh Hartnett, Kate Mara, Danny Ramirez, Clara Rugaard, Auden Thornton, and Anjana Vasan have signed on as well, specifically spanning the first three episodes of the new season.

What’s the next season of Black Mirror about?

Well, it’s an anthology series, so any plot details would be episode specific. That’s not to say that the show doesn’t have any unifying elements that move across episodes and seasons — Brooker’s Black Mirror likes to tell stories about societies falling apart or being redefined under the reality of the increasing technological encroachment on our daily lives, and I bet this upcoming season will keep exploring this theme. If you didn’t dissociate 2020 (like I did), then you might remember that Brooker took a break from writing season six because humanity was already depressed enough and a new Black Mirror wouldn’t help anyone. “At the moment, I don’t know what stomach there would be for stories about societies falling apart, so I’m not working away on one of those. I’m sort of keen to revisit my comic skill set, so I’ve been writing scripts aimed at making myself laugh,” he told Radio Times. Crazy to assume that we’re healed enough now!

Will it make me want to ban the word dystopia from all discussion?


This post has been updated.

Black Mirror Is Back, and It’s Probably Gonna Be Depressing