With its winningly ghoulish approach to mankind's immaturely bearish embrace of technology, Black Mirror is the rare TV series that is delivered in the perfect format, funneling a wide variety of anthologized stories through Charlie Brooker's tonal prism. The highly anticipated Season 4 will soon be released on Netflix -- good luck finding a specific release date -- and I'm extremely excited to say that fans are going to go just as rabidly gaga for this haunting and endlessly thought-provoking sextet of episodes as they got for seasons past.
Having had the slack-jawed privilege of viewing all six Black Mirror latest episodes ahead of Season 4's viral debut, I wanted to give everyone an of what we're getting into with this latest batch of nightmares; an idea that goes a tad deeper than what the trailers showed us. But worry not, for there are zero spoilers to be found in this story. Where's the fun in watching a Black Mirror when the surprise is already ruined? I mean, beyond all that delicious irony, of course.
Within Black Mirror's vast array of sordid situations, many of the things that happen in the episode "Metalhead" stand out as being quite distinct. The most obvious reason, to those who have seen the trailer, is its place as the only Black Mirror installment filmed entirely in black and white. A sprawling yet swift tale of survival, "Metalhead" is directed by David Slade, the helmer of Hard _Candy and many memorable hours of discomforting TV on shows such as _Breaking Bad, Hannibal and American Gods. He delivers another eye-catching winner here.
Truth be told, "Metalhead" likely wouldn't lose any of its raw power if it maintained a more realistic color palate, but its black-and-white aesthetic speaks to the stripped-down essence of not only its story, but of Black Mirror's core focus on "man vs. machine." This won't go down as the most quotable episode by any stretch, but "Metalhead" will prey on viewers' nerve endings until their proper breaking point. Starring The Theory of Everything's Maxine Peake, The Missing's Jake Davies and Hope Springs' Clint Dyer, this Black Mirror episode doesn't need bells or whistles to deliver the terror.
Everything we've seen so far from "USS Callister," Black Mirror's bizarro Star Trek-esque installment, has looked like a space-set Laugh-In sketch. And though that's not at all what the end result actually was, the episode was just as unpredictable and bizarre. (No Goldie Hawn, though.) The presence of The Orville and Star Trek: Discovery may make you think that another sci-fi show's space team tackling space missions would be genre overkill, but such thoughts should be depressurized. Saying more about the installment, however, would be too much.
With a feature-length running time of nearly two hours, "USS Callister" stars Breaking Bad's Jesse Plemons, How I Met Your Mother's Cristin Milioti, and Westworld's Jimmi Simpson, among others. It was directed by Toby Haynes, who's delivered some more out-there storytelling with episodes of Doctor Who and Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell. "USS Callister" is also the only Season 4 episode where Charlie Brooker took on a co-writer, Will Bridges, who also wrote last year's online troller "Shut Up and Dance."