Charlie Brooker's acclaimed British dystopian anthology series, which he made in collaboration with executive producer Annabel Jones, made its debut on Britain's Channel 4 on Dec. 4, 2011. "In 2011, amongst series that favored longform drama and strategically drawn out character arcs, the standalone narratives of Black Mirror episodes were unique," says Katherine Connell. "It unsettled audiences by aggressively refusing narrative closure, opting for murky, ambiguous endings that left many stones unturned. Like two other major television debuts in the same year, Game of Thrones and American Horror Story, Black Mirror committed to the cruelty of its world by crushing characters and viewers alike, revealing incisive awareness of narrative pleasure and audience expectations joined by a willingness to subvert both. Though rooted in science or speculative fiction, Black Mirror also conveyed a talent for genre pastiche—especially drawing on horror and satire. Glossed with a certain comedic absurdity, 'The National Anthem' also borrows the cinematic language of a political thriller; its mounting stakes are driven by decisions made in tiny rooms with consequences that play out in the public sphere. Across its Season 1 triptych, Black Mirror also became known for nihilism that has been often exaggerated as near technophobia. Its sometimes clinical curiosity towards human behaviour exacerbated by technology was mitigated by strong performances from actors who embodied their characters with tortured humanity."
TOPICS: Black Mirror, Channel 4