Black Mirror is the perfect 2021 Christmas watch on Netflix

Every episode of Black Mirror includes its own little bleak world, however the program is understood for repeating signs that connect every story to an interconnected universe, from the “White Bear” sign to Waldo the bear and “San Junipero”/St Juniper’s medical facility. However one might make the argument that another inextricable theme of Black Mirror is Christmas time.

Because the program initially debuted in December 2011, 2 seasons and 2 specials have actually aired throughout the vacation duration. Among those specials is Bandersnatch, the interactive film about a young video game designer in 1984 (get it?) adjusting a “Choose Your Own Adventure”-design book. (The movie’s 5 primary endings provide differing degrees of meta and, like a greedy kid hopped up on a lot of sweet walking canes, I’m sure numerous audiences returned to reveal all of them.)

“White Christmas,” among Black Mirror’s finest episodes and its most popular, centers on 3 interconnected stories: the 3 ghosts of Christmas, if you will. Each story overturns trademarks of the joyful season — innovation (the most typical classification of present), “cookies” (digital clones of individuals kept in little, egg-shaped gizmo not unlike clever gadgets, another popular present), household breakdown and estrangement — to brighten its dark side like vacation lights. It ends with among the characters stuck in a snowglobe, required to relive Christmas and the errors he’s made over and over once again. For the one in 7 individuals who dislike Christmas, this is a fate even worse than being caught in an elevator with Mariah Carey’s Christmas strikes playing.

Even the Black Mirror episodes that don’t clearly reference the providing season have surprises like a development calendar: A Christmas tree shows up in the background of an “Arkangle” scene putting a brand-new spin on moms and dad’s worries about what their kids are exposed to. The occasions of “USS Callister” happen, yes, in a deep space video game simulation, however individuals caught within it are from the exact same video gaming business preparing to break from work for the Christmas vacation.

An exterior shot from the “USS Callister” episode of Black Mirror with a Christmas tree in the shot of a window

It’s starting to look a lot like Christmas in “USS Callister”
Image: Netflix

However it’s more than simply a background. Black Mirror is distinctively placed to review what is marketed to us as the most terrific time of the year however which frequently draws out the worst in a number of us. “Traditional” Christmas popular culture is filled with hazardous males not unlike those in “White Christmas” and “USS Callister,” and bad mamas comparable to Marie, who plants a security chip in her child’s brain in “Arkangel.” Layer that in with the overarching style of Black Mirror — to take a look at how innovation has actually altered our lives, usually for the worst — and if our moms and dads and grandparents grumbling about the youths investing excessive time on our gadgets is any sign, it’s affected the providing season also.

This year is poised to be a Christmas meltdown to end all Christmas meltdowns, what with the supply chain screwing up our gift giving plans and the first holiday back for many (as the pandemic continues to roll along) meaning tensions will be running high. But people who work in retail, of non-Christian backgrounds, who don’t have family or aren’t on good terms with them or otherwise don’t celebrate the holiday (it me) have long known this.

Retail and service workers are on the receiving end of abuse from customers and employers alike, and mask and vaccine mandates created add tension. Pressure to make up for last year’s “lost” Christmas equals pressure on the hip pocket, with Americans expect to spend more on Christmas gifts this year than in the 20 years prior, and more than half of shoppers going into debt with “buy now pay later” options easier than ever. The binary of waste increase and food insecurity around the holidays is a stark one, highlighting the inequality of American life more so than any other season. And while conservatives push a “war on Christmas” agenda with any mention of the secular “holidays” rather than the birth of Christ (the exact date of which there is some consternation about), but the copious decorations and the patron saint of Christmas Mariah’s greatest hits from Thanksgiving onwards — and sometimes even earlier, despite the fact that Hanukkah started the Sunday after Thanksgiving this year! — indicate that Christmas is well and truly staying put.

Photos of people through a technological lens, with people appearing as gray blurs and sort of pixelated in a still from the “White Christmas” episode of Black Mirror

Image: Netflix

We are indeed living in the darkest timeline, and it’s all reflected back to us in the inky glass screens of the smart devices under the tree this Christmas from which Black Mirror draws its name. Black Mirror is at its best when it critiques things that closely affect many of our lives: innovation and social media use, the disintegration of our relationships and, indeed, society. In our own lives, the pressure of the holiday season serves a similar purpose to Black Mirror, increasing tension, resentment and division, even for those who spend all year making their list and checking it twice. It’s no wonder that creator Charlie Brooker said he has actually no strategies to make any new episodes for the foreseeable future. (Representatives of the show declined to comment for this article.) There are certainly more feel-bad vacation offerings this year than ever before — movies like Silent Night, a foreboding, domestic thriller about extended family coming together for the holidays; or HBO Max’s Station Eleven, where a viral pandemic hits the world just before Christmas.

However if you’re yearning a familiar flick to toss on after the presents have actually been unwrapped, supper has actually been served and the leftovers put away for another day, you can constantly sub out another House Alone rewatch for an episode of Black Mirror. After all, ’tis the season.

Jobber Wiki author Frank Long contributed to this report.