Black Mirror season 6 review: Considerably improved, yet still slightly uneven

Black Mirror returns with a new set of episodes for season 6 that continue to tell grim satirical stories about society with an unpredictable flavor added to each narrative. The episodes are now streaming on Netflix.

Story

A streaming service uses A.I. to create a show based on a real person’s life in real-time and this pushes them to slowly lose their mind until they do something really drastic.

A couple visits a small town to film a documentary but they find an even more interesting story that unfortunately hits a little too close to home with devastating effects.

Two astronauts in space continue to live their lives on Earth through synthetic replicas but when one of them loses their replica in a tragic incident, the two in space are out at odds with one another to create serious tension.

A former paparazzi photographer gets back in the game in search of a huge payday to capture a troubled actress who appears to be going through some issues but what they find out is far beyond anything they could have imagined.

An unassuming sales assistant comes across a hellish talisman introducing her to a demon who says that unless she makes some human sacrifices, she’ll be inviting the end of the world upon everyone.

Performances

Annie Murphy wonderfully plays a character who is slowly losing the plot (pun intended) in her life and has to resort to shameful acts to gain back control. Joan is a wonderfully written character and Murphy encompasses her brilliantly.

Salma Hayek is similarly entertaining as Joan and an exaggerated version of herself. She adds most of the humor factor in the episode and her comedic chops do not get enough credit.

Aaron Paul and Josh Hartnett complement each other well in ‘Beyond the Sea’. Paul has got an intensity about him that is very familiar and works well if he’s given the right material.

Anjana Vasan and Paapa Essiedu are another hugely entertaining pair in one of the weaker episodes of the season. They are perfect foils for each other and Vasan’s character even goes through a confidence shift mid-episode which is impressively executed.

Positives

Black Mirror episodes are at their strongest when they stick to the central theme of the ills of technology and Charlie Brooker has employed that theme in a few episodes this season, with ‘Joan is Awful’ being one of the best offerings in the entire series.

The little easter eggs littered throughout the episodes signifying a loose universe structure showcasing the attention to detail and subtle world-building that Brooker is responsible for. Viewers who catch these references will certainly experience a moment of wonder and appreciation.

The aesthetic of the different time periods for each episode is captured wonderfully with not only the sets and costumes but the cinematography style as well with the case of ‘Demon 79’.

‘Joan is Awful’ deserves special mention for the subject matter and the magnificent meta nature of its narrative. The self-aware dig at Netflix and streaming platforms, on the whole, are thoroughly enjoyable.

Negatives

‘Mazey Day’ starts off quite promisingly but the werewolf twist felt too left-field for this particular series. They tried something unique bit just didn’t land the way it could have.

There was a predictable nature to ‘Beyond the Sea’ and while it is still a strong episode, the predictability diminishes its quality ever so slightly.

Verdict

After a 4 year hiatus, Black Mirror is back with season 6 and viewers will be pleased with this crop of episodes that are definitely a bit uneven but certainly an improvement on some of the seasons that preceded it. When the series sticks to its comfort zone, it exceeds expectations but experimenting with themes leads to mixed results which quite clear over here.

Black Mirror season 6
Black Mirror season 6 review: Considerably improved, yet still slightly uneven 1

Director: Ally Pankiw, Sam Miller, John Crowley, Uta Briesewitz, Toby Haynes

Date Created: 2023-06-15 12:30

Editor's Rating:
3.5

Also Read: Black Mirror season 6 summary and endings explained: All episodes

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