“Black Mirror” is officially returning this June, Netflix announced today, bringing viewers a sixth season that will potentially make them feel like we’re all inching closer to a grim, tech-infused dystopian reality.
Alongside the announcement, Netflix released the first teaser for season 6, featuring a space station in orbit, a haunting smiley face emoji that appears throughout the video — including on a smartwatch — and, of course, lots of gore and violence.
The mind-altering season will have a star-studded cast, including Aaron Paul, Michael Cera, Salma Hayek Pinault, Rob Delaney, Himesh Patel, Annie Murphy, Rory Culkin, Kate Mara and Zazie Beetz, among others.
“Black Mirror” creator Charlie Brooker hints that fans should expect the unexpected when watching this season as it’s shaping up to be the most surprising one yet.
“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,” Brooker told Tudum, Netflix’s companion website.
“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. The stories are all still tonally Black Mirror through-and-through — but with some crazy swings and more variety than ever before,” he added.
If you’ve seen the show, then you know how insane the storylines can get. (Spoiler alert: The first episode of season 1 shows a prime minister forced to be with a pig on live TV in order to save a princess.) So, if Brooker says he’s going to push even further past those boundaries — you should probably believe him.
Each episode of the satirical anthology series comments on society in some shape or form, such as the issues centered around webcam hackers, identity left, weird robotic dogs and the toxicity of social media.
Some of us have even coined the phrase “living in a ‘Black Mirror’ episode” due to the brevity of strange events that have taken place in the past few years, including a businessman and reality TV star becoming the president of the United States, a global pandemic, Elon Musk taking over Twitter…just to name a few.
“I’ve always felt that Black Mirror should feature stories that are entirely distinct from one another and keep surprising people (and myself) or else what’s the point? It should be a series that can’t be easily defined and can keep reinventing itself… I can’t wait for people to binge their way through it all and hope they enjoy it — especially the bits they shouldn’t,” Brooker added.
After “Black Mirror” season 5 ended in 2019, fans were left waiting for another season. While viewers have grown accustomed to waiting long periods of time for the next “Black Mirror” season to drop, this four-year wait has been the longest so far.
One explanation for the absence is an obvious one — COVID-19 flipped all our lives upside down in 2020, inevitability putting many productions on hold. However, the main reason “Black Mirror” stopped production is more complex than that.
Brooker and his creative partner Annabel Jones left the production company House of Tomorrow in January 2020. They then began a new venture, founding Broke and Bones, in which Netflix invested. However, House of Tomorrow’s parent company Endemol Shine Group, which Banijay Group acquired, still had the rights to “Black Mirror.”
Luckily, Netflix inked a licensing deal with Banijay so that the show could continue streaming on the platform.
In May 2022, Variety reported that season 6 was greenlit and set to have more episodes than the season prior, according to Variety’s sources. The new episodes would also have longer runtimes and be “treated as an individual film,” the publication wrote.
More recently, the Twitter account dedicated to “Black Mirror” decided to reemerge after years of silence. The account tweeted this week, “What have we missed?” sending a couple thousand fans into a frenzy.
Netflix’s Twitter account responded with, “Scientists are still creating robots that slowly harness more and more advanced AI like they haven’t watched a single episode of your show.”
Brooker also hinted at the return, tweeting a thinking face emoji.