My Ranking of the First 20 Episodes of Black Mirror

Black Mirror is one of my favourite TV shows in recent memory. Netflix offers a good variety of shows for binge watching but no show on the platform comes close to the complex and disturbing themes that Black Mirror tackles. (Except maybe BoJack Horseman, but that’s a story for another day.)

I’ve always wanted to talk about Black Mirror as it’s the type of show where every episode people will have a different opinion and/or outlook on. The release of Season 5 gave me a good enough excuse to rewatch this show and rank the episodes, something I have never done before on this site.

I’ll be ranking every episode up to Season 4, including the interactive movie, starting from my least favourite and obviously working my way up. Since this is an anthology series I’m going to keep this spoiler free in case you haven’t seen every episode. Let’s begin shall we:

Black Mirror: Ranking From Worst to Best

Number 20

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The Waldo Moment

When I re-watched this I just knew this episode would be near the bottom, if not at the bottom. The Waldo Moment is the only episode in the series that actually sucks. The gimmick behind this one is an attention seeking TV studio putting a crude children’s cartoon bear in the upcoming election. A cool concept, but this episode is just so boring and I couldn’t care less what the hell was going on. I guess the highlight of this episode is that the premise kind of came true in real life!

Number 19

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Shut up and Dance

Another interesting premise gone wrong. The only thing holding this episode together is the great performances from Alex Lawther and Jerome Flynn.  Unfortunately the last 10 minutes ruins everything as it features the dumbest moment in the entire series. Also the twist should have been revealed at the beginning of the episode.

Number 18

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Arkangel

This is the first episode on this list to focus on a piece of technology. It’s a relatable idea – an implant that gives parents more power over their children, but it doesn’t really go any further than that. The last half of the episode is probably one of the most generic 20 minutes on this entire show.

Number 17

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Hated in the Nation

Black Mirror meets CSI or NCIS and also the Bee Movie, just what I always wanted. This is the longest episode in the series at an 1 hr and 30. To it’s credit I think it uses the longer run time effectively and the investigation part is quite engaging. It’s the robotic bees and the twist ending I’m not really a fan of. It’s not bad but there are 16 better episodes that I would rather watch.

Number 16

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The National Anthem

The pilot episode does a good job at immediately getting you interested in the current dilemma that the Prime Minister has to deal with. The best aspect of this episode is the social media side of it, which was also a big factor of Hated by the Nation, but I think this episode does a better job at it. I like the idea that something like this could potentially happen and that’s about as far as my love for this episode goes.

Number 15

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Playtest

Playtest is probably the first episode on this list where you can easily get behind the main character and his journey. Other than that, the worst part is when they focus on the new technology. It’s pretty harmless. Next!

Number 14

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White Bear

The most appealing part about this episode is the twist ending. So if you want to discuss that then leave a comment or send me a message on Twitter or something, your options are unlimited. Back to the episode – it’s confusing on the first viewing, but on subsequent viewings most of it is really dumb once you know the twist reveal.

Number 13

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Men Against Fire

Another episode that’s best discussed if you know what happens in the episode. It’s a pretty simple premise that focuses on these young people with this special implant that helps them out on the battle field. Overall it’s pretty good, but the worst part of this episode is the main character. He’s okay, but  he’s trapped in an episode with way more interesting supporting characters, like Michael Kelly’s character who gives one of the most chilling performances in the entire series.

Number 12

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Crocodile

Crocodile is the first great episode on this list. The main character is thrown into a terrible situation and with some new interesting technology in the background. This episode is one of many episodes on this show to have some of the most beautifully stunning cinematography for a television show. It also has one of my favourite Easter eggs, which is something that made me laugh as I’m the type of person who likes pausing to read the most random stuff on screen.

Number 11

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USS Callister

The less you know about this episode the better your experience will be. It looks like a Star Trek parody, but it’s Black Mirror so it obviously has some sort of spin on it. Like Mia from Crocodile, Robert Daly is another interesting character you can really get behind and Jesse Plemons absolutely nails it!  It’s one of the most straightforward episodes in the series so it’s a good one for anyone new to the show.

Number 10

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Hang the DJ

This episode is one of a couple on this show that isn’t very Black Mirrory. What I mean is many Black Mirror episodes are dark, disturbing and display the dark side of the modern world. This one isn’t dark and is more uplifting and happy, which is great for some variety. What makes this episode work is the chemistry between the two leads. The episode does a great job at making you want to root for them and you want them to be together. A fantastic episode, I just wish the ending was better.

Number 9

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Nosedive

This episode probably has the most interesting concept in the entire series. The concept is based around everything being judged on social media points. Meaning the higher your rating is the more fake and obnoxiously happy you are and the lower it is the more  honest you are and the bigger outcast you are. (God I’m going to starve in this world.) This technology also existed in real life, except in this one the episode is fantastic and the journey Lacie goes through is very interesting to see play out.

Number 8

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Black Museum

Black Museum is most famous for having so many Easter eggs in this one episode. It hints that most of the episodes may actually be part of an intertwining universe. The episode itself tells three separate stories that are all somewhat connected to this overarching narrative. The three shorts are good, but the best short is the one with the teddy bear, which is just so disturbingly dark it gives me chills.

Number 7

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The Entire History of You

I always wished I had something that could give me the power to reflect and relive old memories. The Entire History of You gives you that power with the Grain. It also perfectly demonstrates the downside of this technology when Liam suspects that his wife has been cheating on him.  As the episode progresses it gets more intense and the ending is just devastating.

Number 6

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Metalhead

Metalhead is the simplest and shortest episode in the series, which is why I love it so much! I always seem to gravitate to survival situations in any piece of entertainment.  If it’s done right I usually end up on the edge of my seat. I also love a good remorseless intimidating villain that tests our desperate hero with everything they have got. It’s a great post apocalyptic thriller that very much reminisces on classic horror films and makes something great out of it.

Number 5

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Be Right Back

The best episode of Season 2. This episode tackles the loss of loved ones and then getting the chance to bring them back. It perfectly shows how having this power is a good thing and a bad thing. Hayley Atwell and Domhnall Gleeson both give outstanding performances and it’s an episode that does a really great job with this very heavy subject matter.

Number 4

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San Junipero

Up next is the very deserving Emmy winning episode. (I just don’t understand why it took them so long to give this show an Emmy?) I don’t want to give much away as you’re better off watching this masterful episode for yourself. The manner in which the different time periods are presented and the cinematic feel of this episode help make it so memorable.

Number 3

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Black Mirror: Bandersnatch

This is the only entry on this list that I have talked about before and my thoughts on this episode still stand. It’s a Black Mirror Choose your Adventure story, which doesn’t disappoint. It’s a movie that heavily encourages multiple viewings to really analyse the themes it presents. It’s pretty much perfect in my eyes and I highly recommend it.

Number 2

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Fifteen Million Merits

This is episode 2 of Black Mirror and it made me fall in love with this show. It’s the most out there as it’s set in a world where people play video games on fitness bikes for a living. It surprisingly does a great job at relating back to the real world. Bing is my favourite main character on Black Mirror and Daniel Kaluuya delivers one of the best performances of the series.

Number 1

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White Christmas

It’s Christmas time and it’s a Black Mirror episode so prepare to be miserably disturbed. White Christmas is the most messed up episode in the entire series. Thinking about it makes me shudder, but that doesn’t hinder my love for it. Like Black Museum it tells three stories that connect perfectly into the main story and each is as masterfully crafted as the other. It also has my favourite usage of Anyone Who Knows What Love Is as the scene it’s used in is so disturbingly dark for such a sweet song. I don’t want to say any more. I’ll end it off by saying it’s also my favourite Christmas episode.

If you made it this far then you have come to the conclusion of this post. I’ll be updating this list when I watch Season 5, which I hope to review at some point on the weekend and until then I have been The Blog Complainer, signing out.

 

 

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