Charlie Brooker and Annabel Jones Q&A: ‘Black Mirror’
“We start with a what-if idea and it’s usually something that makes me laugh (initially),” creator Charlie Brooker explains in a chat with Gold Derby (watch the exclusive video above) about the concepts for the standalone episodes of anthology series “Black Mirror.” After running three seasons, fellow executive producer Annabel Jones adds, “They tend to be quite comic, quite perverse ideas, exaggerated ideas that then once you start exploring, you think actually, there’s something fertile here… and if it has that added bonus of feeling quite relevant, you think, ‘We’re in a good position’.” Brooker compares the classic anthology “The Twilight Zone,” with the caveat that “technology is taking the place of the supernatural.”
Having previously aired on Channel 4 in the United Kingdom, “Black Mirror” received the International Emmy for Best Movie or Miniseries for its first season. Netflix later won the exclusive rights to the third season, so the show is now competing at the Primetime Emmys opposite American programming for the first time. Netflix has entered only one of its episodes in the program field: the “San Junipero” episode starring Gugu Mbatha-Raw is competing for Best TV Movie instead of the complete third season competing for Best Limited Series like other anthologies. Although a unique strategy, “Sherlock” has consistently only submitted one of its episodes each season so that it competes in the telefilm category, which it won last year on its third nomination in the category. What distinguishes “Black Mirror” for Netflix is acknowledging the existence of the other episodes by submitting achievements from them in other races (like SAG nominee Bryce Dallas Howard), so “Black Mirror” is contending in various categories as both a movie and a series.
Regarding why they chose “San Junipero” over their other episodes, Jones explains tht it “seemed to be the one that broke through a little bit more, and I think also it’s quite nice that it’s a very upbeat film for ‘Black Mirror’ and shows that actually, you can do thought-provoking, challenging films that will challenge you, but that still can have a life-aspiring or life-inspiring, life-affirming ending.” Brooker has also entered the episode as his submission for Best Movie/Limited Series Writing. Although it is listed as the fourth episode of the third season on Netflix, it was the first that Brooker wrote for the season: “It was a conscious attempt by me at the start of the writing process to redefine what the show was because it was a very different episode from ones we’ve historically done before,” he reveals.
“Black Mirror” is currently shooting its last of the six episodes of the fourth season, which Jones says contains an installment with “probably our most ambitious idea.” No release date has been announced yet by Netflix.