Black Mirror creator Charlie Brooker has responded to criticisms that Netflix “ruined” the show.
The anthology show was originally launched on Channel 4, where it stayed for two seasons. Brooker recently revealed that the network effectively “cancelled” the series in his new book, Inside Black Mirror, which prompted the move to Netflix for its third season in 2016. However, Black Mirror has long sustained criticisms that the streaming platform has contributed to the hit-and-miss nature of the show’s later seasons.
In a recent Sydney SXSW panel (October 18), Brooker expanded on these critiques, saying: “One of the criticisms we sometimes get is, ‘I prefer the show when it was British and everyone in it was miserable and everything smelled a little bit of s*** and all the stories were horrible.
“And then it’s gone to Netflix and suddenly everything’s sunny and happy and everyone has wonderful teeth, and it’s full of Hollywood stars and it’s lost that edge.”
Since the show moved to Netflix, Black Mirror has featured stars such as Miley Cyrus, (whose house apparently burned down whilst filming her episode), Salma Hayek (who was worried her episode would get her “in trouble”), and Aaron Paul, amongst others.
Brooker said he accepted and understood the criticism, saying “everyone expected me to be like the Unabomber” once he did business with the US.
However, he revealed the “happiest” episode of Black Mirror, ‘San Junipero’, was written “off my own back”. The acclaimed love story between two women in a simulation for the elderly stars Mackenzie Davis and Gugu Mbatha-Raw.
“I was aware we’re going on a global platform now, so we’ve got to make these stories a bit more international,” he continued. “And I wanted to mix it up a bit, as in not just keep doing bleak-a-thons.”
Recently, Brooker revealed he tried to use ChatGPT to write a Black Mirror episode, which turned out to be “shit”. The comedian has also expressed the possibility of writing a musical or animated Black Mirror episode for Season 7, teasing that “bloody anything” could happen.