Charlie Brooker talks “more conceptual” Black Mirror series 4

Black Mirror creator Charlie Brooker has been talking about what we can expect from series 4 of the show, and how it might be less topical than we expect.

If there’s any show that historians can look back on in thousands of years and come up with a picture of our current culture, it might just be Black Mirror. An anthology series that tackles big questions about our dangerous relationship with technology, the show has captured imaginations in both the UK on Channel 4 and across the world on Netflix.

Creator Charlie Brooker is currently working on the fourth series of the show, and has spoken to Deadline about what shape these new episodes might take.

He said: “I was toying with an idea for this season coming up that was literally torn from today’s headlines, and I kind of thought, well, the problem is, things are moving so quickly at the moment; who can say where we’ll be in six months? I wouldn’t want to, in a way, in case I ended up doing something that looked massively dated.

“I’ve probably gone more conceptual with the next season, partly because I think the world became so unpredictable. It would be a fool’s errand, trying to see which ways things are going to land.”

The series has developed a reputation for being incredibly dark, with the final twist of any given episode illustrating something deeply disturbing about the hour that came before.

“On a personal level, I though, I don’t know how much bleak nihilism I want to wallow in,” Brooker continued. “So in a way, I’ve possible reacted by tackling some slightly more esoteric subjects, because I’ve been writing this season over the last couple of months. It’s still hard to see how that’s all going to pan out. It probably meant that I retreated slightly more into my own head because the outside world’s been so much more dangerous all of a sudden.”

What does a show like Black Mirror do when the world appears too dark to believe, possibly too dark to even cast a satirical eye over? According to Brooker, the series may change in light of real-world shifts since 2011 when it premiered, playing with genre and form more than staying too topical.

“The one thing I can say is that it’s the same, in that it’s completely different, again. I don’t think any of them are the same as any stories we’ve done before, and genre-wise, they’re mighty different as well. I think length-wise, there’s going to be more variance. That’s so boring, though – I wish I had a better revelation.

“I can’t really say much else, except I think there’s quite a lot of stuff that’s quite out there. I don’t know if I’ve lost touch with reality, or what. But then what often tends to happen is I think, oh my god, this is completely and utterly farfetched, and then reality catches up. So I was consciously trying to cast further afield, I think in terms of what stories we’re doing. And partly also because I think I was so terrified about the state of the world, I thought, I’m going to entertain myself by having some kooky thoughts.”