CLOSE
Jonathan Prime / Netflix
Jonathan Prime / Netflix

6 Things We Know About Black Mirror Season 4

Jonathan Prime / Netflix
Jonathan Prime / Netflix

If there’s one thing fans of Black Mirror—the technology-meets-sci-fi anthology series that has led millions of viewers to cover up their laptop webcams with tape—know, it’s to expect the unexpected from the show. Over its three seasons, the British series-turned-Netflix Original has delved into the darkest corners of technology to present what some might consider a very possible, very dystopian, and very terrifying future. And they can’t get enough of it.

Just one day after the first of seven trailers for the new season dropped, Netflix has announced that season four will premiere on Netflix on December 29, 2017. Here’s everything we know so far about the fourth season of Black Mirror.

1. IT WILL TRY TO PREDICT WHAT'S GOING ON IN THE WORLD.

In February, The Telegraph interviewed Black Mirror creator Charlie Brooker, who shared that he and his team were in the midst of shooting season four at that time. He admitted that one of the biggest challenges they face in creating a new season is in trying to “predict” what will be happening in the world by the time the episodes air.

“We're working on the new season at the moment—we're about to start filming the third episode in Iceland—so if we were trying to predict the real world, we'd have to think about where the real world's going to be in another six months or so,” Brooker said.

2. IT WILL TAKE A STAB AT COMEDY.

“We've got one that's overtly comic, much more overtly comic than anything we've done,” Brooker told The Telegraph. “It's got fairly mainstream comic elements, but also some really unpleasant stuff that happens.”

3. AS WITH PREVIOUS SEASONS, EACH EPISODE WILL HAVE A DISTINCT TONE.

"When we did previous seasons, we realized after we'd done the first two [episodes] that basically each one was a slightly different genre, and we actively approached the first Netflix season like that,” Brooker said. “And we're carrying that forward [into season four], so we've got some strikingly different tones and looks.”

4. JODIE FOSTER DIRECTED AN EPISODE.

Though Black Mirror is hardly lacking in star power, season four sees two-time Oscar winner Jodie Foster step behind the camera to direct "Arkangel," an episode starring Rosemarie Dewitt, Brenna Harding, and Owen Teague.

News of Foster’s attachment to the show was reported back in October 2016. Brooker says that the episode will focus on a mother-daughter relationship and have an indie movie tone.

"Netflix got in touch with her,” Brooker explained of how Foster came to the series. “She's done episodes of Orange Is The New Black before, and they spoke to her and sent her our script, and within a week of that we were Skyping. It was a bit odd, to be Skyping with Jodie Foster—but I did a good job of hiding my delight that I was Skyping with Jodie Foster.”

5. THERE WILL BE SIX EPISODES.

As with season three, Black Mirror's fourth season will consist of six episodes. Here's what we know about each one:

Arkangel” stars Rosemarie Dewitt, Brenna Harding, and Owen Teague and is directed by Jodie Foster.

“Black Museum” stars Douglas Hodge, Letitia Wright, and Babs Olusanmokun and is directed by Colm McCarthy.

"Crocodile” stars Andrea Riseborough, Andrew Gower, and Kiran Sonia Sawar and is directed by John Hillcoat.

“Hang the DJ” stars Georgina Campbell, Joe Cole, and George Blagden and is directed by Tim Van Patten.

“Metalhead” stars Maxine Peake, Jake Davies, and Clint Dyer and is directed by David Slade.

“USS Callister” stars Jesse Plemons, Cristin Milioti, Jimmi Simpson, and Michaela Coel and is directed by Toby Haynes.

6. SEASON FOUR MAY NOT BE AS BLEAK AS PREVIOUS SEASONS.

In addition to being one of Black Mirror’s most universally acclaimed episodes, season three’s “San Junipero” installment is also notable for being one of the hit series’ most uplifting episodes ... well, as “uplifting” as a show about the many ways technology can be terrifying can be. But the success of the episode posed some challenges for Brooker going into season four.

"I'm terrified of ‘San Junipero’ in a way, because I think we sort of captured lightning in a bottle there,” Brooker admitted. “You try and think, okay, that went really well, what else can we do? But you've got to then immediately put everything you think of out of your mind, because you can't really do the same thing again.”

In addition to making sure that each episode is unique, it’s important to Brooker—and his sanity—that he not be constantly immersed in dark themes. "I do think that at the moment, as we're doing new episodes, there's a limit to how much constant nihilistic bleakness I can take,” Brooker continued. “And the world is in a place at the moment where I think maybe people appreciate things that aren't so unremittingly horrible. But you also don't want to short-change people on the unremitting horribleness.”

nextArticle.image_alt|e
Hulton Archive/Getty Images
arrow
holidays
40 Years Later: Watch The Johnny Cash Christmas Show
Hulton Archive/Getty Images
Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Over the course of his career, Johnny Cash made a series of Christmas TV specials and recorded a string of Christmas records. In this 1977 TV performance, Cash is in great form. He brings special guests Roy Clark, June Carter Cash, The Carter Family, Jerry Lee Lewis, Roy Orbison ("Pretty Woman" starts around 23:50), Carl Perkins, and the Statler Brothers. Tune in for Christmas as we celebrated it 40 years ago—with gigantic shirt collars, wavy hair, and bow ties. So many bow ties.

nextArticle.image_alt|e
Andreas Rentz/Getty Images
arrow
Pop Culture
An AI Program Wrote Harry Potter Fan Fiction—and the Results Are Hilarious
Andreas Rentz/Getty Images
Andreas Rentz/Getty Images

“The castle ground snarled with a wave of magically magnified wind.”

So begins the 13th chapter of the latest Harry Potter installment, a text called Harry Potter and the Portrait of What Looked Like a Large Pile of Ash. OK, so it’s not a J.K. Rowling original—it was written by artificial intelligence. As The Verge explains, the computer-science whizzes at Botnik Studios created this three-page work of fan fiction after training an algorithm on the text of all seven Harry Potter books.

The short chapter was made with the help of a predictive text algorithm designed to churn out phrases similar in style and content to what you’d find in one of the Harry Potter novels it "read." The story isn’t totally nonsensical, though. Twenty human editors chose which AI-generated suggestions to put into the chapter, wrangling the predictive text into a linear(ish) tale.

While magnified wind doesn’t seem so crazy for the Harry Potter universe, the text immediately takes a turn for the absurd after that first sentence. Ron starts doing a “frenzied tap dance,” and then he eats Hermione’s family. And that’s just on the first page. Harry and his friends spy on Death Eaters and tussle with Voldemort—all very spot-on Rowling plot points—but then Harry dips Hermione in hot sauce, and “several long pumpkins” fall out of Professor McGonagall.

Some parts are far more simplistic than Rowling would write them, but aren’t exactly wrong with regards to the Harry Potter universe. Like: “Magic: it was something Harry Potter thought was very good.” Indeed he does!

It ends with another bit of prose that’s not exactly Rowling’s style, but it’s certainly an accurate analysis of the main current that runs throughout all the Harry Potter books. It reads: “‘I’m Harry Potter,’ Harry began yelling. ‘The dark arts better be worried, oh boy!’”

Harry Potter isn’t the only work of fiction that Jamie Brew—a former head writer for ClickHole and the creator of Botnik’s predictive keyboard—and other Botnik writers have turned their attention to. Botnik has previously created AI-generated scripts for TV shows like The X-Files and Scrubs, among other ridiculous machine-written parodies.

To delve into all the magical fiction that Botnik users have dreamed up, follow the studio on Twitter.

[h/t The Verge]

SECTIONS

arrow
LIVE SMARTER
More from mental floss studios