Black Mirror season 4 may have just dropped, but Netflix is pretty sure you’ll want to binge (or re-binge) the entire series to help ring in the New Year. A brand new promo for the newest season was released by the streaming service that pays homage to the unsettlingly thin line that distinguishes the real world from the bleak, tech-obsessed nightmare that is Black Mirror. It’s a surprisingly effective ad that feels like it could have been its own mini-episode as it blends archival news footage with clips from various episodes so seamlessly you’ll have to watch it a few times to make sure you know what’s what.
At almost two minutes long, ‘Happy New Year’ makes a convincing argument for the disturbing prescience of the series and the anxiety-inducing stories it tells. As is usually the case with Black Mirror, the promo strikes a darkly caustic tone, celebrating 2017 as a “wonderful year” before diving into a barrage of clips showing political disappointments, corruption, civil unrest, toxic social media (the perfect way to watch democracy die in real time), and the promise of sweet relief that will follow the inevitable robot uprising.
In addition to a handful of dubious celebrity cameos, like Mark Zuckerberg, Vladimir Putin, and Steve Bannon, the ad delivers some of Black Mirror’s greatest hits. Among them are season 1 gems ‘The National Anthem’, ‘Fifteen Million Merits’, and ‘The Entire History of You.’ There are also some nice shots of previous episodes synched up with sound bites from news footage, discussing amazing advancements in technology, which are put to good use with clips of ‘Men Against Fire’ and ‘Be Right Back’.
The inclusion of practically the entire Black Mirror run is a fairly odd way to promote the six new episodes that make up season 4. But, like any giant corporation with investors to appease, Netflix is making a play for your subscription dollar, teasing the complete Black Mirror as part of its ever-expanding catalog of original TV shows and movies, thereby making us all complicit in the very thing the ad is supposed to have us rallying against. But really, who wants to put down their smartphone when every episode of Charlie Brooker’s technophobic series is right there in the palm of your hand?
At any rate, the ad perfectly captures the the tone of the series, while demonstrating just how horrifyingly realistic some of the show’s scenarios seem to be. Black Mirror may be astonishingly bleak at times, but considering the year we’ve had, there might be no more fitting way to ring in the New Year.
Black Mirror seasons 1-4 are available to stream on Netflix.
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