Black Mirror: Season 6

Nothing in Season 6 meets the brilliance of “Nosedive” (Season 3, Episode 1) or San Junipero (Season 3, Episode 4). However, the opener, “Joan is Awful,” is marvelously entertaining, “Beyond the Sea” is creepy and very well acted, and “Loch Henry,” the next best episode, is pretty disturbing. The other two episodes are watchable, and all are worthy additions to this great anthology series.

Joan is Awful

JOAN IS AWFUL (Spoiler alert)

A self-centered and insensitive young woman (Annie Murphy from “Schitt’s Creek”) is stunned to discover a global streaming platform has launched a prestige TV drama adaptation of her life – in which she is portrayed by Hollywood A-lister Salma Hayek (playing herself)! She has no legal recourse because of the contract she signed with the global giant – she didn’t read the small print! Murphy is marvelous – the scene where she fires a colleague is delicious in all its nastiness – and Hayek blazes through the episode like the superstar she is. The fact that each character on a given social/streaming level is being portrayed by someone bigger and more famous on the next level is a nifty idea – we discover that Hayek is being portrayed by the biggest star in the Universe, Cate Blanchett – although the Great Cate never actually appears in the episode.

Beyond the Sea


In an alternative 1969, Aaron Paul and Josh Hartnett are astronauts on a perilous high-tech mission. While they are in space, their avatars visit their respective families back on Earth. After a terrible tragedy in which Lukas’ family is killed, Paul allows Lukas to inhabit his avatar and visit his wife (Kate Mara) and little boy – Mara knows about the ruse, but the little boy does not, although he suspects something. This episode is slow-moving and overlong. However, the dynamic between Paul (playing not just his own but also Hartnett’s character) and Mara is complex and involving.

Loch Henry


A young couple (Daniel Portman and Myha’la Herrold) travel to a sleepy Scottish town to start work on a nature documentary but find themselves drawn to a juicy local story involving a notorious serial killer. With echoes of “The Blair Witch Project” together with numerous true crime documentaries and dramas, this episode gradually becomes more and more disturbing, culminating in the memorable final scene.

Demon 79


In Northern England, in 1979, Nida (Anjana Vasan), a meek sales assistant, accidentally unleashes a demon (Paapa Essiedu) and is told she must commit three murders to prevent a global disaster. A horror-comedy more than science fiction, this one is clumsy in its execution but fun. There is a nice dynamic between Vasan and Essiedu, who spends the entire episode dressed as the lead singer of that execrable German-Caribbean pop group Boney M. Created by producer Frank “Milli Vanilli” Farian, Boney M. was scarier than anything in “Black Mirror”. Huge in England in the late seventies, they reached number 30 on the American Charts with “Rivers of Babylon.”

Mazy Day


A troubled starlet is dogged by invasive paparazzi while dealing with the consequences of a hit-and-run incident. This is the weakest of the bunch, but as the story moves from the Czech Republic to Los Angeles, it gradually becomes a more traditional horror story and keeps you watching. With Danish actress Clara Rugaard in the central role and Zazie Beetz as a sympathetic reporter.


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