Although Netflix has not set a release date for Season 4 of the fantastic speculative anthology series “Black Mirror,” they have allowed television writers to see the six episodes.
The “Black Mirror” episodes are expected to be released by the streaming giant by the end of the year – a Christmas present, perhaps – but has allowed TV writers to watch them. That is, of course, with a number of provisos, mostly revolving around not giving away plot twists or going into detail.
Like past seasons, “Black Mirror” – created by Charlie Brooker and executive produced by Brooker and Annabel Jones – is set in the near-future. Think of it as a familiar but slightly disorienting world.
Most of the episodes produce a queasy dread about how a future depended upon tech goes awry. Even the more rosy stories will have their disquieting elements. Stephen King described “Black Mirror” as “terrifying, funny, intelligent. It’s like the ‘Twilight Zone,’ only rated R.” That’s actually giving it short shrift.
The “Twilight Zone” had half-hour episodes with moralistic, cute or horrifying twists. “Black Mirror” tells far more fully realized stories that tap into a collective unease with life careening toward a technological dystopia. What makes the series special is how there is always one more twist that you didn’t expect in the same way there is always some implication – usually for ill – in a new invention that we didn’t think of.
This new season will only add to the acclaim.
Here’s a spoiler-free look at three episodes
The episode directed by Colm McCarthy opens with a young woman (Letitia Wright) driving a 1960s’ T-Bird in a barren Western landscape and singing along to Dionne Warwick’s version of “(There’s) Always Something There to Remind Me.”
It’s not the 1960s, as we soon find out. She is there to visit the Black Museum, a seedy roadside attraction that’s a crime museum showcasing high-tech misdeeds.
The place is owned and run by a rather disreputable chap (Douglas Hodge) who once worked for a cutting-edge company that created all sorts of weird devices. His job was to get live subjects – usually people in some sort of need – to try them out.
There is bravado in the way the man tells his stories about the devices on display, but he tries to paint himself as a tragic figure, too. The young woman doesn’t seem to buy that; she listens intently and is smart enough to know…