The best Black Mirror episodes prove that the anthology series always has explored various ramifications of advanced technologies through twisted narratives. When the show — created by Charlie Brooker — hit stateside through an acquisition by Netflix, it became a pop culture phenomenon.
Earning eight Emmy Awards between five seasons and a feature-length film, Black Mirror could be considered The Twilight Zone of the digital era with plenty of dark, twisted, and sometimes funny tales about what happens when tech falls into the wrong hands.
As Black Mirror season 6 drops on Netflix, we’ve compiled a list of the best episodes the series has to offer and since it's an anthology series you can watch them in any order you like.
Here's our verdict on the best Black Mirror episodes...
Shut Up and Dance
Shut Up and Dance is widely considered to be one of the most disturbing episodes of the bunch. With a relatively simple set up it also feels realistic, like it's something that could happen right now.
In it, we follow Kenny (Alex Lawther) who ends up forced to obey the commands of some mysterious hackers after he is filmed during a private moment and blackmailed. During his journey, he meets Hector (Jerome Flynn) who the hackers found out was cheating on his wife. This all builds to a horrifying conclusion, making it one of Black Mirror's best.
This Star Trek-inspired episode takes a very dark turn as we follow Robert Daly (Jesse Plemons), the CTO of a tech-entertainment company, which produces the multiplayer game Infinity, in which users control a starship in a simulated reality. He seems like an ordinary guy but he's hiding some dark truths.
When Nanette Cole (Cristin Milioti) joins the company as a new programmer, she uncovers what Daly's been up to behind closed doors and vows to put a stop to his sadistic ways. With some great performances and stunning sci-fi visuals, this one isn't to be missed.
Film students Davis (Samuel Blenkin) and Pia (Myha'la Herrold ) visit Davis' hometown of Loch Henry to make a documentary about a local egg collector. But they soon begin to unravel a disturbing true crime story at the heart of the rural Scottish town, leading to some secrets being unearthed.
Gritty both in its style and tone, Loch Henry is certainly one of Black Mirror's best with one of the most disturbing end scenes this show's got to offer. Don't say we didn't warn you!
Presented like a grainy 1970s horror movie, Demon 79 follows shop assistant Nida (Anjana Vasan) after she is approached by a demon named Gaap (Paapa Essiedu) and told she must kill three humans to prevent the end of the world.
It's equal parts gritty, equal parts funny as we watch the dynamic between Nida and Gaap unfold against a backdrop of 70s Northern England and the difficult political climate.
The idea of free-will manipulates characters and viewers in a narrative directed by David Slade. Players make decisions for budding programmer Stefan Butler (Fionn Whitehead) who is creating a video game inspired by his favorite book. What happens next is a story that goes in entirely bonkers directions alongside five base endings.
From a purely cinematic point of view, Bandersnatch works as well-paced, beautifully shot work highlighted by Whitehead’s portrayal of Stefan. The meta-game and easter eggs include a playable version of ZX Spectrum game Nohzdyve and allusions to other Black Mirror episodes. In an age where people are streaming videos and playing video games more than ever, Bandersnatch couldn’t be a better reflection of the time.
The Entire History of You
Sometimes all one wants to do is let go of painful memories. But how difficult is that task when other people can remind us of them at a moment's notice? In a world where humans have the ability to record, replay and broadcast any memory ever created, the last thing anyone wants to do is relieve the worst moments of a romantic relationship.
The Entire History of You stars Toby Kebbell as lawyer Liam who begins to suspect a relationship between his wife Fion (Jodie Whittaker) and her friend Jonas (Tom Cullen). Add romantic insecurities and the futuristic memory technology into the mix and the narrative leads to a heartbreaking tragedy.
Social media has become integral in humanity’s current need for constant connection to people and limitless information. Those constant peaks into curated images of individuals’ lives has created a society where digital perception is everything.
“Nosedive” takes place in a not-so-different world where social media has evolved into a system of rating people. Similar to China’s Social Credit System, a five star rating system through eye implants and mobile devices can determine if someone can get a luxury apartment, the type of friends they can have and even eligibility for certain surgeries.
Joe Wright directs the episode about Lacie Pound (Bryce Dallas Howard), a woman who is attempting to raise her plateaued social credit score. Lacie’s over fascination with her score takes her down a downward path that’s brought to life thanks to Howard’s comedic performance.
Fifteen Million Merits
Years before Daniel Kaluuya made horror history with Jordan Peele in Get Out, he starred in the Fifteen Million Merits episode. Taking place in an isolated dystopian society, working-class citizens ride bikes for “merits” when not living in the convinced of the wall-screened living quarters.
The pathway to freedom is through a talent competition show that requires the titular amount. A fairly twisted love story between Bingham “Bing'' Madsen (Kaluuya) and his love interest Abi Khan (Downtown Abbey’s Jessica Findlay), it makes some interesting points about capitalism corrupting the most well meaning of individuals.
The National Anthem
When Black Mirror made its first impression in 2011, The National Anthem made one grand and morbid impression. The daughter of British prime minister Michael Callow (Rory Kinnear) is kidnapped by a computer-savvy terrorist organization.
For her return, Callow has to have sex with a pig on live television. Standing in the way of rescuing his daughter without publicly humiliating himself is social media, news media and opinions of the public. The Otto Bathurst directed episode does a great job of displaying how the spread of information spread in the digital age can be utterly impossible to stop.
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Lucy joined the WhatToWatch.com team in 2021, where she writes series guides for must-watch programmes, reviews and the latest TV news. Originally from Northumberland, she graduated from Oxford Brookes University with a degree in Film Studies and moved to London to begin a career writing about entertainment.
She is a Rotten Tomatoes approved film critic and has a huge passion for cinema. She especially loves horror, thriller and anything crime-related. Her favourite TV programmes include Inside No 9, American Horror Story, Stranger Things and Black Mirror but she is also partial to a quiz show or a bit of Say Yes to the Dress!