New episodes of the sci-fi anthology series were released on Netflix today, but is the new season of "Black Mirror" worth watching or has the once groundbreaking show run its course? Here's what the reviews have to say:
Anthony Mackie's 'Striking Vipers' VR Episode Is Probably The Only One Worth Watching
The Season 5 episode about a pair of gamers who fall in love considers how digital worlds can warp people's self-image.
Like the best "Black Mirrors," it's extremely clever, probing questions about identity and happiness bleeding from the virtual world into the more mundane one.
This is one of those episodes of TV that feels fresh. It'll bring other great Black Mirror episode San Junipero to mind, as well as The Entire History of You and Be Right Back, both tender looks at heartbreak and humanity.
Andrew Scott's Performance Elevates The Otherwise Mediocre 'Smithereens' Episode
The second episode, Smithereens, is the slightest and perhaps least successful of the trio. […] It is largely held together by Andrew Scott's uniquely potent and peculiar energy (whether he's hot priesting or Moriartying it), perfectly channelled into the role of a grief-stricken, increasingly desperate taxi driver who kidnaps an employee of an Apple-esque company in order to force its CEO to speak to him.
Scott's committed lead performance (the actor most recently played the "hot priest" on Fleabag's second season) kept me at least interested throughout. But "Smithereens" doesn't add up to much.
The trouble is that, as thesis statements go, the message of "Smithereens" is both redundant and a little weak; it ultimately feels like a sophomoric, slippery slope argument, with little nuance beyond "social media is bad," unlikely to edify anyone who's been following news of the tech world lately.
Miley Cyrus' 'Black Mirror' Episode Is The Weakest Of The Three
The Black Mirror episode titled "Rachel, Jack and Ashley Too" stars Miley Cyrus as a pink-wigged pop star whose manipulative manager has found a new way to exploit her using a tiny new high-tech toy called Ashley Too.
This installment wants to say a lot of things at once, but has a fundamental unseriousness of tone and of approach that makes anything it might say seem not worth the effort.
This is… a mess. Seemingly two separate stories fused together — or one story thrown out of whack by a beefed up supporting role to accomodate Miley Cyrus' star power — "Rachel, Jack and Ashley Too" has a deadbeat dad character who never develops past providing important computer parts, a main character who literally never develops at all, and a script that can't even get the details right.
In General, The Show Seems To Be Stuck In A Creative Rut
It's possible that Brooker—who has scripted almost every episode of the show, occasionally with a co-writer—is running out of "what if" potent enough to strike fear into the heart of the typical Twitter junkie.
The problem with these episodes is not in their production or their performances. In each episode, but especially "Smithereens" and "Rachel, Jack, and Ashley Too," the problem is that instead of an underlying point powering the story's core, there is almost nothing.
More than seven years after it first debuted, the sci-fi anthology can still make you laugh (sometimes), unnerve you (many more times), and even disappoint you (more on that in a bit). It just may no longer be able to surprise you.
And Given How Bleak Our Current Reality Is, The Dystopian Sci-Fi Show Doesn't Offer Anything New To Say
A strange thing has happened since Black Mirror first launched back in 2011: the real world has become more and more like the fictional, sci-fi world of the show. Tech companies have become more and more powerful, and more and more destructive. Social media has played a real part in harming – some might even say destroying – democracy. […] As the world around us becomes more and more unstable, Black Mirror now finds itself in a precarious position. How can your dystopian sci-fi show compete with the actual impending actual dystopia?
It may be focused on the future, but is Charlie Brooker and Annabel Jones's dystopian anthology series Black Mirror in danger of feeling a bit passé? After all, its focus on the disrupting and corrupting influence of technology can seem a bit quaint in an era where the somewhat more overarching issues of political collapse and ecological catastrophe loom ever larger.
[I]nstead of keeping viewers up at night with political hellscapes and other horror-movie scenarios, season 5 rarely departs in a meaningful way from what's possible now.
Watch The Trailer