The long-awaited fifth season of Black Mirror debuts next month, and Netflix just released three—count ’em—new one-minute trailers to stoke fans’ anticipation.
Black Mirror is the creation of Charlie Brooker, co-showrunner with Annabel Jones. The series explores the darker side of technology and its impact on people’s lives in the near future, and it’s in the spirit of classic anthology series like The Twilight Zone. Brooker developed Black Mirror to highlight topics related to humanity’s relationship to technology, creating stories that feature “the way we live now—and the way we might be living in 10 minutes’ time if we’re clumsy.” The series debuted on the British Channel 4 in December 2011, followed by a second season. Noting its popularity, Netflix took over the series in 2015, releasing longer seasons 3 and 4 in 2016 and 2017, respectively.
The first season 5 teaser dropped last week, showcasing an impressive cast that includes Anthony Mackie, Miley Cyrus, Topher Grace, Nicole Beharie, Damson Idris, and Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, among others. We only caught glimpses of what the three episodes might be about, and now we have a separate trailer for each yielding a bit more information.
“Striking Vipers” centers on a married couple (Beharie and Mackie) trying to have a baby, which is frankly having a deleterious effect on their sex life. Activity must be timed to “peak fertility.” His buddy introduces him to a Tinder-Like app, and the husband finds himself tempted to cheat, or at least explore his virtual options. The wife knows he’s growing distant (“Sometimes you just go away”) and suspects something is going on. The husband promises there isn’t. But we know better, right?
“Smithereens” ups the sinister ante with an emotionally disturbed Uber (or Lyft, or a similar near-future equivalent) driver (Sherlock‘s Andrew Scott, who played Moriarty in the BBC series) fed up with everyone’s obsession with their smartphones. “Everywhere you look people are hooked on the things!” he shouts at police after kidnapping a fare—who just happens to work at Smithereen, apparently the company behind that national obsession—at gunpoint. Or is he being controlled somehow by the meditative podcast he’s been listening to, urging him to focus on the wrath?
Finally, Cyrus stars in “Rachel, Jack, and Ashley Too,” as a pop star named Ashley 0 with a gazillion online fans. She’s the spokesperson for a new Alexa-type virtual assistant robot named Ashley Too. “I’ll be here for you,” Ashley Too tells a lonely teenager named Rachel (Angourie Rice). “Believe in yourself!” But not everything is bright-eyed affirmations even for a superstar. We see Ashley 0’s parents discussing upping her medication with a psychiatrist and glimpses of an MRI scan. And then Rachel’s Ashley Too unit becomes sentient, demanding the removal of the cable connecting her to the computer. Has the pop star’s consciousness been downloaded? Or is something even weirder going on?
Season 5 of Black Mirror starts streaming on Netflix June 5.
Listing image by YouTube/Netflix