Times may change, but there are some things that remain consistent no matter what year the calendar reads. Human beings are always wary of new technology and its potential impact on and consequences for society and culture at the time it becomes available. That is, in broad terms, a central premise of Netflix's anthology series Black Mirror but what would Black Mirror's brand of commentary look like in, say, the Middle Ages?
That's the premise of a hilarious new video from College Humor. "Ye Olde Black Mirror" humorously imagines a pair of villagers watching a play ("Ye Mirror Blacke") about the "dangers of technologee". The play's individual acts explore in an exaggerated way what would have been new "technology" of the time including books, farming implements, crossbows, and more. And, just like in the Netflix series, these seemingly helpful or novel advances have potentially disturbing consequences. Check it out for yourself in the video above.
While "Ye Mirror Blacke" takes things to a bit of silly extremes -- the yoke technology turning its user into a bucket, the gag at the end about Jon the Hamm having all five teeth and the one character going to do some "self-care" by applying leeches -- the spirit of the satirical sketch is spot-on with Black Mirror's own examination of themes of techno-paranoia. The series most recently debuted its fifth season which, after the groundbreaking interactive film experience Black Mirror: Bandersnatch's debut late last year, consists of three episodes. "Striking Vipers" features Anthony Mackie and sees "two estranged college friends reunite in later life, triggering a series of events that could alter their lives forever". "Rachel, Jack and Ashley Too" features Miley Cyrus in an episode in which "a lonely teenager yearns to connect with her favorite pop star whose charmed existence isn't quite as rosy as it appears" while "Smithereens" sees "a cab driver with an agenda become the center of attention on a day that rapidly spirals out of control."
“I think that [Netflix is] the perfect platform for anthology shows, by which I mean a different story each time – because, traditionally, when you’re doing a show when the stories are going to be different each episode, you don’t have cliffhangers or returning characters. And, in order to drum up interest, or just remind people that your show exists, you’d have to trail it, which leads you to spoil the story in some way,” Black Mirror creator Charlie Brooker told Little White Lies in 2016.
“This is a very hard show to promote, we’ve found. It’s quite difficult to do trails for it, because you’re trying not to say anything. So now these platforms exist, like Netflix or Amazon, or the [BBC] iPlayer, where you get the whole thing.”
Black Mirror season five is now streaming on Netflix.