Few shows can reach through the screen, grab viewers by the throat, and pull them into an abyss of intrigue and chaos quite like Netflix’s Black Mirror. Every episode is, in a sense, an ominous reflection of today’s society, and each leaves viewers with anxiety-riddled thoughts about what the actual future of mankind holds.
It didn’t take long for the British series to garner tons of superfans and attention; episodes feature new characters and are mind blowingly unique. But, even if you Netflix binge every season back to back, there’s plenty of behind-the-scenes insider knowledge even the biggest Black Mirror mavens don’t know.
1. Jon Hamm starred as one of the lead characters in the episode “White Christmas.” He landed the role because he was already a Black Mirror superfan and had his agent arrange a meeting with the show’s creator, Charlie Brooker.
2. Believe it or not, Brooker allegedly intended the series to be a comedy rather than the dark dystopian drama you know and love. It’s said Brooker is often howling with laughter as he writes episodes, but once filming begins, it’s a different mood altogether.
3. Black Mirror is essentially a modernized version of The Twilight Zone. Brooker wanted viewers to travel deep into an uncomfortable environment with each episode, and then strap in and get ready to take the ride again.
4. The episode titled “The Entire History of You” was purchased in 2013 by Robert Downey Jr.’s production company in hopes to expand it to a full-length feature film. Unfortunately, the project has been floating around production purgatory ever since.
5. There’s a scene in an episode of Friends where Ross theorizes that humans will one day be able to store their thoughts and memories into machines so they can live forever. The Black Mirror episode “San Junipero” is essentially about just that.
6. The episode titled “Hated in the Nation” tackles a large-scale public backlash. Brooker based the episode on the real-life backlash he faced after writing an editorial about a presidential assassination back in 2004.
7. Although many Netflix shows are specifically made to scratch that “binge itch,” Brooker doesn’t want Black Mirror consumed that way. He tries to make every episode so impactful that you need to step away for a bit before firing up another one.
8. Where did the name Black Mirror come from? Charlie Brooker says it refers to a switched-off television. When you stare into the black screen you can see your reflection, and he finds it haunting.
9. In the “Playtest” episode, the visual effects team had a difficult time creating a fictional monster that wasn’t unintentionally funny. An experimental artist named Chris Cunningham, however, helped them design a horrifying entity.
10. “Playtest” also had a scene inspired by a unique Twitter experience. Someone jokingly tweeted a fictional plotline for Black Mirror where cell phones killed people. The character in the episode dies at the end because his cell phone was left on.
11. Of all the amazing episodes Black Mirror has to offer, many people consider “San Junipero” to be the best. Much to the excitement of fans, Brooker plans on making a sequel, and knowing him, it’ll be anything but ordinary.
12. The series premiere of Black Mirror shocked audiences with a scene where one of the characters is forced to get a little too up-close-and-personal with a pig. The pig, however, was a last minute choice. The original script didn’t have specifics, so Brooker made a snap decision.
13. The episode “Be Right Back” is about a woman going to great lengths to bring her deceased lover back. The episode is fictional, of course, but a real-life woman named Eugenia Kuyda is currently working on a device that can actually store an artificial personality.
14. The actress who plays Greta in “White Christmas” isn’t just someone Brooker randomly discovered during auditions. Her name is Oona Chaplin, and she’s the granddaughter of legendary silent film actor Charlie Chaplin.
15. During the 2016 presidential elections, Black Mirror’s Twitter feed started tweeting about the actual race. Apparently, the people who ran the account felt the race was so bizarre it could have been turned into an episode.
16. Annabel Jones is one of Black Mirror’s showrunners as well as Charlie Brooker’s right-hand woman. After Brooker writes an episode he passes it to her to read. If she deems it too horrible, he knows he’s on the right track.
17. Though the prevailing theme throughout Black Mirror is the dark turn our obsession with technology can take, Brooker has stated he’s pro-technology. He wants the show to act as a warning for society to proceed with caution when it comes to tech.
18. The most recent Black Mirror season consisted of one single choose-your-own-adventure movie, where audience members were given options throughout the film that drove the plot different directions.
According to producers, there are a total of five different endings with hundreds of ways to reach each one. It’s another way this show has continued to challenge and engage its audience.
19. Even though Brooker hasn’t specifically said every episode occurs in the same universe, the “Black Museum” episode infers they do. In several scenes throughout you can spot various objects from other previous episodes.
20. One unique aspect that sets Black Mirror apart from many other shows is that there’s no order to the episodes; you can literally start with the last episode and work backward.