Brow Beat

New Black Mirror Season Will Let You Choose Your Own Adventure

Wearing a blue suit, Jon Hamm frowns and adjusts something off-screen while a miniature woman dressed in black stands on a table in front of him.
Jon Hamm in Black Mirror’s “White Christmas.” Charlie Brooker/Netflix/Channel 4

Some of the best Black Mirror episodes have followed what happens when viewers’ desires and fears have real-time influence on the entertainment they consume. In “Playtest,” the protagonist enters a video game that devours him by locating his deepest fears. Visitors to the “Black Museum” can inflict their sadistic fantasies on tragically sentient holograms. And in the Emmy-winning “USS Callister” from the show’s most recent season, Jesse Plemons uses his high-tech video game knowledge and terrifying smirk to punish co-workers he dislikes. According to a report from Bloomberg, the fifth season of Black Mirror will include a real-life interactive episode. The season will premiere this December on Netflix.

Advertisement

Reality-TV shows—including the violently creepy fictional one in Black Mirror’s “Fifteen Million Merits”—have long incorporated viewer opinions by allowing audiences to vote on contestants. However, the emergence of TV content that allows audience members to adjust storylines by selecting diverging options is relatively new. Netflix has previously tried out the technique only on kids’ shows including Puss in Book, and HBO released its first interactive show earlier this year with Mosaic, which allows viewers to select diverging narratives in a separate app.

If the transition from television sets to streaming culture spawned the practice of “binge-watching,” what will this even more heavily choice-based platform create? Leave it to Black Mirror to help us find out.

Advertisement