I’ve been watching a lot of ‘Black Mirror’ lately. A while ago I was looking for a new casual show to stream and a friend of mine recommended ‘Black Mirror’. At first, I was really scared that the show was going to be heavy because of the matter at hand; I was correct, ‘Black Mirror’ is indeed a quite heavy show, but once you gets used to the depressing outlook on the series, you get to really enjoy it. It’s very original, well-made, and most importantly – thought-provoking.
I’ve been meaning to write this ranking ever since I first started the show and, needless to say, I’m very excited for this article. I must say that even though some episodes rank low on the list, they are not bad productions; on the contrary, I highly recommend every single episode of ‘Black Mirror’, they all have a lot to offer and are worth your time.
Now, without further ado, here is a ranking of all ‘Black Mirror’ episodes so far.
13. ‘Men Against Fire’
Pros: The subject matter is original and I felt invested in the story. It’s generally a well-made episode and it is fun to watch.
Cons: It’s far too ordinary. I don’t think I’ll remember this episode five years from now and I just didn’t get so emotionally invested in the story as I wanted to. Also, the episode didn’t leave me emotionally exhausted as most ‘Black Mirror’ episodes do; it made me think, sure, but not so much that I would praise it. The action was happening way to fast and I just didn’t get that ‘BANG’ moment I always want from a ‘Black Mirror’ episode.
12. ‘National Anthem’
Pros: Simple matter at hand, just enough to get me interested and invested, but not so much to make me confused. It’s a tight and compact episode and a great entrance point for those who are just starting ‘Black Mirror’.
Cons: The subject matter is indeed tight and that is a good thing, but still the episode strives to prolong its runtime by including pointless story arcs. I loved the general idea, but there were a lot of stuff going on in the background that I didn’t care much for and that distracted me from what I wanted to care about. Also, this episode didn’t get me much emotionally invested in the plot either.
11. ‘White Bear’
Pros: One of the most brutal and thought-provoking episodes of the show. If I had to choose one episode after which I thought the longest about which side of the conflict was right, this would be it. Truly, this is a very scandalous and provocative episode that surely splits the audience.
Cons: Everything just escalated way too quickly. The plot-twist, followed by a sudden shift of tone and viewpoints, surprised me too much and I wasn’t able to fully appreciate the story. From a filmmaking stand-point, this doesn’t flow as a linear narrative, but rather as two completely different stories that share a common point.
10. ‘Shut Up and Dance’
Pros: A much more realistic episode that tells a story of something that could actually maybe happen in real life. This was the first ‘Black Mirror’ episode I saw and it certainly managed to get me hooked on the show. It’s dynamic, it’s terrifying, and the acting is absolutely brilliant.
Cons: My only problem with this episode is that it didn’t leave me emotionally wrecked and it should have. Given the matter at hand and given how the story ended, I should have felt completely emotionally molested and yet somehow, I didn’t. I guess this comes from too ordinary direction? Or am I just emotionally impotent?
9. ‘The Waldo Moment’
Pros: Even though this is generally considered the worst ‘Black Mirror’ episode, I actually found a lot of great things about it great and quite loved it. It’s very original, the world building is fantastic, the acting is brilliant and the writing (especially of that Waldo monologue in the middle) is genius. Also, this episode has on the saddest and most wrecking endings in the whole series.
Cons: It really is a bit unstructured and storylines float all over the place. It isn’t very compact and the story it tells is very scattered around. We don’t get enough character development and I still can’t figure out why some scenes are even in the episode.
8. ‘San Junipero’
Pros: ‘San Junipero’ is one the few ‘Black Mirror’ that I would call a character story. For that, I praise it. Most ‘Black Mirror’ episodes focus on how technology changes society rather than individual beings (before I get ‘this isn’t true’ comments, what I mean is that society is generally illustrated through certain individuals). Those two leads in ‘San Junipero’ are fantastic, you see them grow and develop so much and you care about their relationship and well-being. That, combined with a fantastic subject matter, makes ‘San Junipero’ a really well-made episode.
Cons: The story does drag at times and thus loses the viewers attention. Also, I found the ending a bit too positive. I’m all for happy endings, but it didn’t feel realistic to me considering what we had learned about the characters beforehand. Plus, it was way out of the general ‘Black Mirror’ depressing vibe.
7. ‘The Entire History of You’
Pros: ‘Entire History of You’ also focuses on characters and not on the world. It tells a very compact and tight story that never loses your attention and is definitely thought-provoking. It has a very organized and well-structured story and you certainly get very invested into what’s going on.
Cons: I did find the general subject matter a bit ordinary compared to other episodes. Not to say it wasn’t original or anything, I just don’t think I’ll remember what this episode is about five years from now.
6. ‘Hated in the Nation’
Pros: This is definitely one of the best told and well-structured episodes of the entire show. ‘Hated in the Nation’ is, basically, a movie, especially with that runtime. It’s not too heavy and might suit someone who is just starting ‘Black Mirror’, but it definitely leaves you emotionally wrecked as this episode has one of the most brutal ending I’ve ever seen. It’s very interesting to follow, it’s got characterization, and I loved that it targets a concrete niche a.k.a. Sherlock Holmes lovers.
Cons: ‘Hated in the Nation’ does feel a bit out of the general ‘Black Mirror’ tone. Also, I found that some scenes and story arcs are a bit prolonged, not so much that they are uninteresting, but I wouldn’t have minded if the story was a just a little bit more compact and tight.
5. ‘Fifteen Million Merits’
Pros: This episode is a great sarcastic and ironic comment not only on our society, but also on how weak and easily manipulated everyone is. It has the best world-building in the whole show and probably the most original concept. I loved how this episode very smartly bashes on the society using only certain individuals and what they are willing to do to get ahead. Also, I have to say, ‘Fifteen Million Merits’ has the most amazing monologue in the whole show. The episode is worth it for that alone.
Cons: I wouldn’t say this is definitely a con, but it does prevent you from appreciating ‘Fifteen Million Merits’ fully. Somehow, this episode doesn’t impact you instantaneously. You have to let it brew, so to say. You don’t appreciate it right away, rather, you have to sit, think, watch something else, and then understand how truly brilliant ‘Fifteen Million Merits’ is. I don’t know why or how this has happened, but I know I’m not the only one who thinks so, so there must be something, either from a storytelling or filmmaking perspective, that creates this phenomenon.
4. ‘White Christmas’
Pros: One of the most impactful and emotionally wrecking episodes of the show. The story continuously surprises you and just when you think there can’t be any more, ‘BOOM’, you are left speechless. ‘White Christmas’ is a great example of fantastic storytelling, themed plot, and fantastic characterization.
Cons: I did love the fact that we got to learn both characters’ life stories and thus get to know them, but that made the general plot a bit unstructured and non-linear. Not to say that is definitively a bad thing (it’s precisely how we got to know the characters and explore so much of the world the story takes place in), but this brakes the episode into evident different parts, which is generally not considered a good thing.
3. ‘Be Right Back’
Pros: A highly impactful episode and one that has extremely heavy subject matter. The acting is brilliant and makes the characters, which are also very well developed and created, a thousand times more amazing. This episode deals with what love really is and how it holds us together and changes us. That is a very hard concept to bring to screen, but the showrunners have managed to do it brilliantly, telling a profoundly deep and thought-provoking story.
Cons: Some of the characters are not developed perfectly: you can’t tell if you love them or hate them. Also, there are quite a few plot holes that distracted me from the story as I was wondering constantly why and how the thing I’m currently watching is happening.
Pros: I love this episode so much because of how accurate and timely it is. Every ‘Black Mirror’ episode deals with the consequences of technology, which is generally a big problem, but this one in particular deals with how social media affects and changes us, which is a big problem today. I love how compact and original this episode is. It presents the topic at hand beautifully, makes you think, the acting is fantastic, and that final scene is just mind-blowing.
Cons: My only problem with ‘Nosedive’ is that the action is just a bit slow at times. However, this is not something that ruins the overall experience of the episode and the pros definitely made me overlook this.
Pros: ‘Playtest’ left me absolutely wrecked. I felt empty, I felt vulnerable, I felt as if my reality has changed. The episode exhausted me. ‘Playtest’ molested me emotionally. It felt like a rollercoaster and I enjoyed every single bit. The main character is developed amazingly, he has a fantastic backstory and he is real. The acting is breathtaking, the story is extremely well-thought-out, and the episode makes you think. The only other time I’ve felt this wrecked after watching something was after I saw ‘The Revenant’, which is one of the most impactful movies I can think of.
Cons: I guess some would say that the story is broken up into two parts and that is a problem. That is true, the first half of this episode feels completely different than the second half, but that’s not a con to me. The fact that the first half is so lighthearted and easy makes the second half even more impactful and surprising, which is precisely why the viewer is left speechless. So, cons: none, really.
And there you have it! My definitive ranking of all ‘Black Mirror’ episodes so far! Did you enjoy this article? Do you agree with me? Which episode do you think is the best? Which episode do you think is the worst? Share your thoughts in the comments section below, please. Also, don’t forget to LIKE and SHARE this article if you enjoyed it and SUBSCRIBE to Our Movie Life.
As always, thank you so much for reading,