Since its debut in 2011, sci-fi anthology series Black Mirror has grown from a minor cult favourite into one of the most critically-lauded shows around at the moment. Creator Charlie Brooker’s collection of nightmarish visions of the not-so-distant future could have been a po-faced, one-note series about the dangers of technology, but actually it is a lot smarter than that. Despite how it is often described, the show shines a light on our own flaws and mistakes, rather than those of the tech we create. It is humanity who is the villain in these tales, not corrupted robots or evil A.I.
With its move to Netflix for its third season, Black Mirror is now bigger than ever – with an inflated budget and all-cast guest cast. The change also seemed to free up Brooker and his team, as season three offered a lot more variation in tone and content than previous years. It could have warped the show out of recognition, but in the event the wider canvas was entirely welcome and probably necessary for its longevity.
So how did the recent batch of six episodes compare to the seven produced by original broadcaster Channel 4? Here’s our ranking of all 13 episodes of the anthology show from worst to best. By which we really mean from amazing to stupendously amazing.
13. The Waldo Moment
In The Waldo Moment, a foul-mouthed animated comedy bear becomes such a figurehead against politics that his creator ends up being forced to make the character run for government.
When ranking the Black Mirror episodes, there is one outlier that has to come at the bottom. To be clear, it is not that The Waldo Moment is a poor hour of television. Far from it, like every instalment of the show, it has some worthy things to say – such as the dangers of running against the system so much that you become part of it.
The problem is that its wit just isn’t as sharp as other episodes, though that might be more the fault of the target rather than the material. Perhaps it's too difficult to successfully satirise politics nowadays because the current landscape is so ridiculous as it is?