Consisting only of 3 episodes, the first season of Black Mirror packs one heck of a punch.

The show takes on an anthology format, enlisting new actors to paint a different picture with each episode — and boy, that picture is almost always bleak and extremely thought-provoking. Most episodes explore the dangers of technological dread (coining it now, folks) and the consequences of advancement. And it’s bloody brilliant, if a bit depressing at times; we are not far off from some of the tech tools you will see in the show.

The first episode revolves around the fictional English Prime Minister and a public ransom scheme offering him a most disturbing ultimatum: have unprotected sex with a live pig on national television or the kidnapped duchess will be killed and the video will be uploaded to YouTube, the blood effectively on the PM’s hands if he refuses. If that doesn’t get your attention, I suggest you check yourself into the nearest hospital and have them search for a heartbeat.

None of the episodes play out as simply as you might think. There’s often a dark, surprising twist that may remind viewers of The Twilight Zone.

The second episode portrays a world wherein the common folk are forced to ride stationary bicycles all day while staring at in-your-face advertisements for porn, a reality TV show, and a fat-shaming show and video game. These people accumulate and spend points based on how much riding and purchasing they’ve done and it all culminates into the grand prize: spending an exorbitant amount of points to land on an American Idol-like reality show.

Last but certainly not least is an excellent episode dealing with the dangers of having the gift/curse of being able to replay any memory at a moment’s notice. The characters have the ability to play, rewind and view their personal experiences on any screen, anywhere, anytime. It doesn’t end well but the episode is unforgettable and ranks in the upper echelon of episodes in the entire series’ run.

The Good:

  • New, self-contained stories with each episode.
  • Dark, disturbing and thought-provoking.
  • Situations are more relevant than ever.
  • Good acting and writing.
  • Leaves a lasting impression.

The Bad:

  • Only 3 episodes.
  • Can be quite depressing if you binge.

Black Mirror is unapologetically fierce and powerful. It’s meant to evoke a reaction and make the viewer think about what he or she is watching — and that’s a good thing. This stuff hits close to home and deserves consideration. Highly recommended.

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