Imagine an unsettling near-future, where a TV show that first airs in Britain on Channel 4 is warped by the twisted forces of time, space and big business to “stream” on a near-divine network of machines as millions of people sit, “binging” as though hooked into an express feeding tube. Okay, this is actually less unsettling and just really exciting news, but it’s enjoyable to see just how easy it is to make every bit of remotely “future-y” information sound like a Black Mirror episode — especially when it’s actually about Black Mirror. And indeed, The Guardian reports that the beloved, anxiety-inducing series is becoming a Netflix show.
Since negotiations with the show’s creator, Charlie Brooker, are still in the works, it’s not clear yet whether Mirror won’t also continue to run on Channel 4— as it seems they have a “first look option,” where they can air it in the UK even if it switches channels elsewhere. But what seems more certain is that Netflix will likely be producing the next batch of dystopian nightmares, accessing the core of our anxieties about the melding of human experience and technology. The Guardian claims that it’s probable that Netflix intends to stream the show for its increasingly expanding global audience — which is currently at around 65 million subscribers. (They’ve already had great success streaming the previously released seasons after they’ve run on Channel 4).
Thus far, Black Mirror has run for two, three-part seasons, with the addition of a 75-minute Christmas special starring Jon Hamm. These short seasons aren’t atypical of British television, but it remains to be seen if Netflix will shift the format to match what’s typical of American hourlong prestige dramas (10 to 13 episodes), and whether it’ll get full season release (as Netflix likes to do), or if it’ll roll out episodically. Alas, the future bears so many unknowns.