Watch these on your webcam with some masking tape.
Despite the fact that we all hope it never happens to us, Netflix’s Black Mirror is the perfect science fiction show to keep us distracted from the very real concerns that our always-on phones are being used to track our every move and spring ads in our feeds, that social media is turning us against one another through the spread of misinformation, and that a perfect dating app profile is required for a happily ever after. Black Mirror has been a godsend.
As a result, I’ve compiled a list of shows you should definitely watch while you wait for the next season of Black Mirror. Whether you’re looking for sci-fi or anthologies or the work of Black Mirror creator Charlie Brooker, all of these books will leave you wondering, “What the f—-?”
Put an end to your web browsing dread with these suggestions from TV Guide, one for each and every mood.
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More hand-picked suggestions based on your favorite shows are available as well.
1. Made for Love
In HBO, technology has gone too far. Make Love, Max’s sci-fi series starring Cristin Milioti, the star of Black Mirror’s “USS Callister,” is about a woman trapped in an abusive marriage with a tech mogul who runs a company making everything from tablets to virtual reality. Is there a Black Mirror link? His latest technology, a brain implant that joins two people’s minds into a single neural network, has been placed inside her skull by her husband. As a result, she is now on the run from a man who knows what she is thinking. This episode is a Black Mirror classic, with all the horror technology, witty jokes, and twists you’d expect.
The Cary Joji Fukunaga miniseries is a must-see for fans of the acclaimed Netflix series Black Mirror, who often complain that the episodes are too short (True Detective). There are some dream-state trips through surreality when people undergo testing for a drug that maps people’s minds, and Jonah Hill and Emma Stone play two lost soul in a dystopian future. Despite the fact that it is not an anthology like Black Mirror, the mental journeys of the characters in this show feel like they could have come straight out of a ’70s crime film, a fantasy drama, or a spy movie. Black Mirror’s best episodes often wrap up in something relatable, but not nearly as depressing as in this episode. In fact, you could say it’s upbeat? Is that something that Black Mirror fans would be interested in?
3. Dead Set
Dead Set, Charlie Brooker’s first major scripted project, is essentially a five-episode miniseries of Black Mirror. Reality television and the zombie phenomenon of the late 2000s were combined by Brooker to create a satirical Big Brother season where contestants were locked up in the house and unaware of what was going on outside, while everyone else ran for their lives from hordes of flesh-eating hordes. When it comes to social commentary, violence, and absurdity, no one does it better than Brooker. Also, a Netflix Brazil original, Reality Z, was recently remade from the show’s Brazilian source material.
4. Room 104
Some people tune in to Black Mirror because of the show’s cutting-edge technology, while others tune in because of the show’s dark humor. The thrill of starting a new episode and not knowing what’s going to happen is something to be taken into consideration, but not overlooked.
Every time you start an episode of Black Mirror, you get the feeling of opening up a grab-bag because of the anthology format and loose tone. Black Mirror’s anthology Room 104, on HBO, takes the mystery and, if you can believe it, cranks it up a notch. Each episode of Mark Duplass’ half-hour show takes place in the same hotel room. There is no other guideline. It’s not uncommon for an episode to be a combination of absurd comedy, thoughtful emotional exploration, and intense terror. It’s a strange mix of characters, but Duplass has a knack for bringing in big-name and emerging talent for some truly bizarre cameos.
5. Inside No. 9
Black Mirror’s success in the quirky anthology format encouraged other British series to follow suit, and this 2014 oddball series is one of the best examples. The League of Gentlemen and Psychoville actors and writers Reece Shearsmith and Steve Pemberton teamed up to create Inside No. 9, a comedy that, despite its comedic bent, will have you craving more Black Mirror-like twists and turns.
Each episode has only one thing in common: it takes place in an apartment or house with a No. 9 address, much like Room 104, which was clearly influenced by the basic idea of Inside No. 9. Beyond that, anything goes, including a Season 1 episode that has no dialogue but is just as outlandish as the rest. Even though Black Mirror’s recent seasons (sorry, it’s true!) have a better track record of producing consistently high-quality episodes, Season 2’s “The 12 Days of Christine,” a horror-tinged punch to the gut, is the most strikingly similar to Black Mirror’s best work.
6. Tales From the Loop
There are times when Black Mirror’s perverse take on techno-horror leaves viewers both fascinated and a little bummed. The atmosphere is reminiscent of Amazon’s Tales From the Loop, a sci-fi anthology series in which each episode takes place in a different part of the universe. Mercer, Ohio’s enigmatic The Loop laboratory, where experimental physics is practiced, is the setting for these stories, which take place in an alternate universe I can only describe as pastoral steampunk from the 1980s. Tales from the Loop uses its beautiful science-fiction backdrop to highlight the human experience, focusing on subjects like death, aging, and loneliness in a stirring manner. Episodes can be viewed in any order, even if some characters have their own overarching story lines.
While the best episode of Black Mirror is up for debate, “San Junipero” from Season 3 (sing along with me, “Ooooh heaven is a place on Earth!”) is always at the top of the list for rational people. When you see an episode of Black Mirror that features a digital afterlife where people can relive their best moments, your mouth will swell upwards with anticipation. When a self-driving car comes dangerously close to severing the lifeline of a young man, his consciousness is uploaded into Lake View, an upscale post-life community where residents can live out their fantasies while still interacting with the living. It’s a spiritual successor to “San Junipero” because of the heavy emphasis on cutting-edge technology, dark humor, and hidden meanings.
8. Phillip K. Dick’s Electric Dreams
If you’re looking for science fiction, look no further than Philip K. Dick, the genre’s founding father. Dick published over 100 short stories, many of which served as inspiration for films such as Minority Report, Blade Runner, Total Recall, and The Man in the High Castle. A Dick story serves as the basis for each of the show’s ten installments, which explore a wide range of sci-fi topics, from the hardcore and ultra-technical to the more philosophical. Go with either “The Commuter” for an evocative episode, or “Kill All Others” for something more dystopian and relevant to our current political climate.
9. Weird City
YouTube thought it would be the next big streamer and began asking people to PURCHASE a subscription to YouTube Premium. Do you recall that? A Black Mirror-esque nightmare, yes, but it happened! The co-creation of this Black Mirror rip-off by Jordan Peele and Key & Peele writer Charlie Sanders was one of the better series to come out of the company’s brief lack of judgment. When it comes to Key & Peele, you can get a sense of the show’s tone by watching some of their sci-fi sketches.
Set in Weird, the six-episode anthology takes place in two halves of the city: one for the rich, one for the poor. Even though that detail isn’t essential to the episodes, which tell their own distinct tech-centric sci-fi stories with a heavy dose of humor, such as the premiere that accidentally hooks Dylan O’Brien with Ed, only to discover that the two of them start falling in love with each other, the episode is still enjoyable.