After four seasons of the deliciously dark Black Mirror, there’s still an appetite for more, with the long-anticipated fifth season returning soon to Netflix.
Previous episodes have explored technological implants, virtual reality heaven and webcam-related blackmail, and the possibilities are almost endless when predicting what new ideas will be born from Charlie Brooker’s grim brainchild for the fifth season.
Now, Brooker has finally teased what we can expect for the new episodes…
Things could be due to get a whole lot more political, after Brooker admitted steering clear from politics in the last season to avoid the show looking ‘dated’ too quickly.
The prophetic show, which is said to have predicted the rise of Trump in 2013 episode The Waldo Moment, could be making a return to satire for next season.
Speaking with co-creator Annabel Jones for new companion book Inside Black Mirror, the 47-year-old explained, “Season five will see the usual departures from the norm.”
He added that season four was relatively politics-free because, he said “at the time season four was being written, I had no idea of what state the world was going to be in by the time we went out on Netflix.”
Season five, he added, will be different.
He added, “Season five might reflect [the political climate] a bit more, because it turns out that f****** lunacy is the new norm. We just needed the dust to settle first.”
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References back to old episodes
Showrunner Brooker also hinted there may be room for sequels or world expansion in the new series – with episodes linking into themes that have previously been explored in Black Mirror.
“We can revisit old ideas we’ve done, as long as we’re building a new concept on top of it. It’s more about morphing what the show is.”
In an interview with RadioTimes.com, Brooker added, “There’s stories where you think there’s clear direction the sequel can go in.
“We had ideas for Be Right Back, White Bear, and stories like USS Callister where there’s clear potential we can see. In a way we’ve already sort of done it.
“In The Entire History of You, we set up an in-eye contact lens smart lens thing, and then in White Christmas we see people basically using the same technology but they’re using different capabilities of it. There’s a difference between the sequel and the expansion. It’s like building a second house and putting a conservatory on the back.”
This is seemingly alluded to by Brooker in the book, in which he claimed that season five features “the most complicated thing we’ve ever done.”
But the showrunner is confident there’s still plenty of new genres Black Mirror can explore.
“We don’t want genre tropes to creep in,” he said, “A good story generating experiment is to sometimes say, ‘What’s our take on a space epic?’ It’s refreshing.
“It forces you to keep the show interesting and it’s useful for the writer to have a new challenge. If you impose a restriction like that on yourself it forces you to think of new ideas. We’re always thinking of things we haven’t done yet. Musical. Puppet theatre. An episode all set on ice?”
Dropped ideas ‘too similar’ to other shows
Brooker admits that sometimes that some of his ideas end up being scrapped after other shows make something too similar.
“Maniac is very similar to something I wanted to do,” Brooker said. “I haven’t seen it, but I know it’s like a VR therapy thing, so that was something we were going to do; we touched upon it in San Junipero.”
“I know in Maniac there’s a lot of stuff about the gig economy, and I wanted to do a whole satirical story about the gig economy,” he continued. “I haven’t seen Maniac so perhaps I should look at that and shut up on what I’m talking about because I’ve still got that in my back pocket.”
An idea “too horrible” even for Black Mirror?
In other cases, some of Brooker’s ideas are scrapped because they’re deemed too unpalatable even by Black Mirror’s standards.
“There was an idea that I’ve got that I want to do that is so horrible that I’m trying to work out how to approach it because it’s so horrific,” he said.
“If I tease it, then you’ll sort of know what it is. I’ve got an idea for a horrible twist for something.”
He added, “I can’t unfortunately say anything about it because it would rob it of about 48 per cent of its horribleness. It’s that specific.”
Hmmm, 48 per cent? Could the “horrible” thing be Brexit-related?