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Fifth Time’s a Charm…or Is It?

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Black Mirror Season 5

Netflix 

The biggest issue leading up to season five of Black Mirror? Season four was so phenomenally incredible that it set a very high bar. The new episodes aren’t bad—they’re well-acted, well-written and interesting pieces of entertainment. But they just can’t clear that bar.

 

The first episode is “Striking Vipers,” a continuation of common Black Mirror themes about virtual reality and our virtual selves becoming a priority over our real selves.

 

Next is “Smithereens,” which deals with those same themes and our reliance on social media. It’s a glimpse into how the constant distraction can shape the entire course of our existence.

 

It closes with “Rachel, Jack, and Ashley Too,” the most talked-about because it centers on Miley Cyrus nearly lampooning herself. It’s an interesting take on the music industry and how a lack of authenticity could grow into a much darker problem. It’s left some Nine Inch Nails fans upset over the use of “Head Like A Hole”—or, more truthfully, Cyrus singing it. (For the record, NIN’s Trent Reznor, by way of Black Mirror creator Charlie Broker, expressed approval of the episode.)

 

Overall, season five isn’t the failure that a lot of people want to make it out to be. It just lacks some of those surprise endings we’ve come to expect…or maybe that’s the twist all along?

 

When the series debuted, the idea of some of these newfangled technologies felt shiny and new. As technology advances and becomes more accessible, it becomes harder for a series like Black Mirror to stay so far ahead of that invisible curve.

 

Is season five worth watching? Absolutely. Will the episodes linger as much in your psyche as previous seasons? Possibly not. But for musicians or those connected to the music industry, the third episode speaks to much larger issues of the commercialization of art and reclaiming our voices.

– Nikki Hedrick

 

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