Black Mirror — the popular UK anthology drama about the more disturbing intersections of technology with our lives — will debut its third season on Netflix October 21, which is ... a long way away.
But at least we now have some tantalizing details about what to expect, straight from series creator Charlie Brooker and executive producer Annabel Jones, who stopped by the Television Critics Association’s summer press tour on July 27 to promote the upcoming new episodes.
As always, Black Mirror’s new episodes will span several genres
Black Mirror isn’t a serialized drama; each episode tells a standalone story. According to Brooker, the new season of six episodes will feature a little bit of everything, from a thriller to straight horror, from "a military story" to romance. One episode — he didn’t say which — will be set in 1987.
And since Black Mirror will now air exclusively on Netflix (its original home was the UK’s Channel 4), the show is no longer bound by traditional episode-length restrictions — a freedom that allowed Brooker and Jones to produce one installment that runs as long as a feature film, at 90 minutes. The episode in question is apparently a police procedural — starring the wonderful Kelly Macdonald (Boardwalk Empire, Brave) — and in Brooker’s words will address "society, how we communicate, online rage, and the consequences of that."
Behind the scenes, the show has welcomed some noteworthy new collaborators
Brooker and Jones revealed that one upcoming episode ("Nosedive") was written by Parks and Recreation’s Rashida Jones and Mike Schur. Directed by Pride and Prejudice’s Joe Wright, this chapter will star Bryce Dallas Howard and Alice Eve in what Brooker called a "social satire about identity in the social media age," before noting with dry amusement that such a logline may have been "the most boring way I could describe it." Thus, he moved on, calling the episode "a cheerful pastel nightmare."
Black Mirror won’t be doing a Pokémon Go episode, but not for the reasons you think
"I did see Pokémon Go coming," Brooker said a few minutes into the panel (which, coincidentally, was thisclose to being within swiping distance of a PokéStop). This might sound like a lofty claim, until you consider that Black Mirror has included seemingly fantastical technology before, only to have it creep into the real world as tech advances.
Black Mirror won’t be doing an explicit Pokémon Go episode — the game came out after filming finished, after all — but Brooker used it to explain the show’s approach to parsing what kind of stories it tells.
For this season, Brooker said, "some of the ideas are wackier in a way," since his team was aware that "the rate of progress [in technology] is such that you have to go sort of two steps ahead to stay ahead of reality."
At the very least, Brooker promised with a grin, this season of Black Mirror will be "more demented than Pokémon Go ... while keeping one foot on the ground of reality."
Black Mirror returns to Netflix for its third season on October 21.