For those who spent Thanksgiving seeing all their relatives stare at phone or laptop screens rather than speaking to one another and thought that this might lead to the end of civilization as we know it, Black Mirror is the show for you. The series started at the BBC but now lives on Netflix, where series creator and mastermind Charlie Brooker has spread his wings a bit and as a result, came up with the series’ best episode thus far, the instant-classic “San Junipero.” On most episodes, however, Brooker and his creative team seem to be far more interested in highlighting all the negative attributes of computing, gaming, and artificial intelligence than taking full stock of the complex highs and lows of technological progress. At it’s heart, the show praises traditionalism and nostalgia, which seems at odds with the detail and thoughtfulness given to its futuristic scenarios.
Anywho, the series is coming back with its fourth season in 2018, and Brooker has brought in a tantalizing cornucopia of talent for the latest batch of episodes. Directors John Hillcoat (The Proposition, The Road, Lawless, etc.) and David Slade (Hard Candy, NBC’s Hannibal, Starz’s American Gods) will each helm an episode, which will include performances by Jesse Plemons, Andrea Riseborough, Owen Teague, Georgina Cambpell, and Rosemarie DeWitt. In fact, DeWitt gets the lead role in “Arkangel,” the episode directed by Jodie Foster, which is the sole focus of the first trailer for Black Mirror Season 4. You can take a look at it, as well as the poster for the episode, below.
The plot of “Arkangel” seems relatively mild: a mother (DeWitt) agrees to have her daughter implanted with some sort of microchip or future-potion following an abduction scare at their local playground. The assumption is that the implant will have a not-so-great reaction in the kid, but you’ll just have to wait until the season debuts to figure all of that out. Indeed, for all my criticisms about the series, the episodes are regularly impeccably crafted and acted, and its easy enough to get caught up in those elements alone. And with Hillcoat, Slade, and Foster in the various directors chairs, maybe this will be the batch of episodes that makes me an unmitigated fan of Brooker’s cynical worldview.
Here’s the first trailer for Black Mirror Season 4: