The National Anthem

Black MirrorA member of the Royal Family is kidnapped, and a YouTube video demands that the Prime Minister perform a degrading act on live television to secure her release…or the next video will likely be that of her death. With mere hours before the deadline, the Prime Minister and his staff try to explore numerous avenues of at least appearing to comply with the demand, including backup plans that backfire when word gets out from a bystander on social media. Time is running out, and throughout 10 Downing Street, Prime Minister Michael Callow and his aides concentrate on the issue most important to them during this crisis: the poll numbers.

Get the DVDswritten by Charlie Brooker
directed by Otto Bathurst
music by Martin Phipps

Black MirrorCast: Rory Kinnear (Michael Callow), Lindsay Duncan (Alex Cairns), Donald Sumpter (Julian Hereford), Tom Goodman-Hill (Tom Bilce), Anna Wilson-Jones (Jane Callow), Patrick Kennedy (Section Chief Walker), Alastair Mackenzie (Martin), Chetna Pandya (Malaika), Alex MacQueen (Special Agent Callett), Jay Simpson (Rod Senseless), Helen Fospero (Lucinda Towne), Lydia Wilson (Princess Susannah), Sophie Kennedy Clark (Lauren), Andrew Knott (Brian), Allen Leech (Pike), Johann Myers (Noel), Sophie Wu (Jamie), Rakie Ayola (Shelly), Amit Shah (Jack), Nick Hendrix (Andrew), Justin Edwards (Jon), Jeany Spark (Camilla), Aymen Hamdouchi (Kieran), Julian Rivett (Damon Brown), Jonathan Forbes Black Mirror(Browne), Madeliene Bowyer (Sonia), Jeffry Wickham (Sir Harold Mount), Shazad Latif (Mehdi Raboud), Eleanor Wyld (Young Actress), Wolf Wasserman (Spark), Mickell David (Son), Dominic Le Mougnan (Prince)

Note: Shazad Latif would, several years later, take on the role of Ash Tyler in Star Trek: Discovery. (The plot details of this episode have been significantly watered down in the above synopsis; suffice to say, Black Mirror isn’t for kids.)

LogBook entry by Earl Green

Fifteen Million Merits

Black MirrorBing Madsen wakes up in his tiny room every day; every wall is a screen, and like everyone else, he’s bombarded with constant entertainment. But also like everyone else, he can’t just stay in his room – it’s off to the gym to put in a full day on a stationary bike, the kinetic energy from which everyone’s electronic life is powered. Those who can’t or won’t spend their days in the gym are clad in yellow, relegated to menial work, and ridiculed throughout society. Bing, however, puts in his gym time, and it’s there that he meets Abi, with whom he’s immediately smitten. Upon hearing her sing, he’s entranced, and offers to spend the majority of the credits he’s built up working in the gym to buy her a ticket to compete on Hot Shots, a reality show that has made stars of so many others. The ticket is more expensive than he realizes, and he effectively zeroes out his account to make good on the promise, but he does give her a ticket and accompanies her to the live broadcast, whose judges are ready to make her a star…but not in the way that she hoped or imagined. But, presented with the choice of returning to pedaling the stationary bike day in and day out, or giving herself over to a more tawdry life of stardom than she bargained for, she does indeed make a choice. Now Bing is determined to come up with enough money – again – to buy another Hot Shots ticket, but this time so he can send society a message.

Get the DVDswritten by Charlie Brooker and Kanak Huq
directed by Euros Lyn
music by Stephen McKeon

Black MirrorCast: Daniel Kaluuya (Bing), Jessica Brown Findlay (Abi), Rupert Everett (Judge Hope), Julia Davis (Judge Charity), Ashley Thomas (Judge Wraith), Paul Popplewell (Dustin), Isabella Laughland (Swift), David Fynn (Oliver), Colin Carmichael (Kai), Hannah John-Kamen (Selma Telse), Kerrie Hayes (Glee), Eugene O’Hare (Hammond), Jaimi Barbakoff (Anna), Merce Ribot (Big Shot Registration Lady), Matthew Burgess (Botherguts Host), Laura Power (Interviewer), Matt Stokoe (Guard)

Note: Hannah John-Kamen would appear in a later episode of Black Mirror (Playtest) in a much more substantial role.

LogBook entry by Earl Green

The Entire History Of You

Black MirrorGrain is a neural implant that records everything a person sees, even details they don’t notice at first, and stores it for later recall. During a replay, called a “redo”, different details can be enhanced and brought into focus, obsessed over, even litigated. A scan of recent memories has become the new background check: airport security, insurance, and job offers are all contingent upon memory scans with no unusual incidents – and no major deletions from the record hinting at a cover-up of such incidents. Liam, unsettled by news that the law firm for which he works will begin using recorded Grain memories to allow people to sue their parents for negligence during childhood, is in no mood for a party with old friends, but he still shows up, annoyed that his wife Fiona is being very attentive toward a male guest Liam regards as a blowhard. Upon learning that his wife had more than a mere passing acquaintance with the man in her single life, Liam is fixated on proving that they’re still having an affair. But the memory of what he does to resolve the situation may yet haunt him.

Get the DVDswritten by Jesse Alexander
directed by Brian Welsh
music by Stuart Earl

Black MirrorCast: Toby Kebbell (Liam), Jodie Whittaker (Fiona), Tom Cullen (Jonas), Amy Beth Hayes (Lucy), Rebekah Staton (Colleen), Rhashan Stone (Jeff), Phoebe Fox (Hallam), Jimi Mistry (Paul), Daniel Lapaine (Max), Karl Collins (Robbie), Elizabeth Chan (Leah), Mona Goodwin (Gina), Kemal Sylvester (Airport Security)

Note: Jodie Whittaker would go on to become Doctor Who‘s thirteenth face, making her debut in the closing moments of Twice Upon A Time (2017).

LogBook entry by Earl Green