Science Fiction Film & Television

The fractured frames of Black Mirror

Science Fiction Film & Television (2021), 14, (1), 1–19.


Looking to the increased multiplication of virtual frames or windows in daily life, Anne Friedberg argues that we will increasingly come to ‘see the world in spatially and fractured frames’, as if a puzzle challenging us to fit its pieces together. This perspective is particularly apt for considering the much-praised programme Black Mirror, which repeatedly examines those multiple, and multiply broken, media frames, and does so through a format that is itself composed of separate frames, that is, as an anthology show that troubles the unitary view often ascribed to series television. This article examines Black Mirror’s interrogation of series television by looking at how various episodes - including ‘Fifteen Million Merits’, ‘White Bear’, ‘USS Callister’, and ‘Nosedive’ - evoke the nature of seriality and its impact on audience subjectivity. These episodes, among others, examine the fear that we might find ourselves dominated by the various technologies we have created, and constrained to the paths (including the endless paths of seriality) those technologies seem to lay out for us. These episodes especially show how the series is concerned with reflecting how those technologies play on and with us and project a creeping sense that we are becoming little more than featured players cast in an ongoing, formulaic and serial story from which there is no escape.

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Author details

Telotte, J.P.