Black Mirror season 5 will only run three episodes, and here's why we think that is. It's been well over a year since Black Mirror season 4 dropped on Netflix near the end of December 2017, and by the time Black Mirror season 5 premieres in June 2019, it'll be nearly an 18-month hiatus between the two seasons. While this type of long break between episodes seems to be becoming more and more common as of late - Game of Thrones, Better Call Saul, and Stranger Things have all recently took part in the practice - it's still far from ideal.
While the arrival of Black Mirror's season 5 trailer was initially met with excitement, that excitement quickly turned to disappointment for many. The trailer revealed that season 5 will only consist of a mere three episodes: one with Andrew Scott fearing technology; one with Angourie Rice and Miley Cirus about isolation; and Anthony Mackie as a disenfranchized husband. While all three are promising, that's nevertheless a paltry amount, even by recent Black Mirror standards. Both Netflix seasons ran for six episodes; that's a 50 percent dip in quantity.
As of yet, Netflix has yet to offer a reason for the drop in episode count, and neither has Black Mirror creator Charlie Brooker. That said, we can certainly make an educated guess at the culprit. While it's been over a year since season 4 of Black Mirror, last December did see Netflix deliver fans a little treat, in the form of the interactive film called Black Mirror: Bandersnatch, which took the better part of a year to complete. With that in mind, it's likely the time and effort required to make Bandersnatch was time that would've probably been used to make more episodes for season 5 on a normal production schedule.
As likely as the above scenario is, it's important to remember that Bandersnatch was by no means universally loved, and many fans saw it as a rare misstep for the Black Mirror franchise, despite not technically being an episode of the show. Brooker has brushed off the criticisms directed at Bandersnatch, but that doesn't change the fact that many Black Mirror fans likely aren't thrilled about the possible loss of three normal episodes for one "choose your own adventure" curiosity.
Bandersnatch aside, one other possible reason for Black Mirror season 5's drop in episode count is that Brooker and crew just plain wanted to go back to their original pattern. Before Black Mirror became a Netflix original with season 3, the first two seasons aired on the UK's Channel 4 and were extremely brief, both clocking in at three episodes a piece. Perhaps the Black Mirror team prefers to be able to focus on crafting fewer episodes per season, and that's what's behind the return to season 1 numbers. Either way, here's hoping Black Mirror season 6, assuming one is ordered, gives fans a bit more bang for their buck.
Black Mirror season 5 premieres June 5 on Netflix.