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Black Mirror’s new sixth season wants you to expect the unexpected

‘We’ve also got a few new elements, including some I’ve previously sworn blind the show would never do’

Zosha Millman (she/her) manages TV coverage at Polygon as TV editor, but will happily write about movies, too. She’s been working as a journalist for more than 10 years.

Just when you thought you could start trusting your technology implicitly, Netflix is here with an announcement: There’s going to be more Black Mirror in June. But not the Black Mirror you know or expect.

The Netflix sci-fi anthology surprised and delighted audiences with its dark, twisty narratives about dystopias and the social questions they ask. By its midpoint, its schtick was succinctly defined by Daniel Lavery as “what if phones, but too much.”

But creator Charlie Brooker has big plans for Black Mirror season 6 — including plans to mix up the formula. In a statement to Netflix’s news site Tudum he said:

I’ve always felt that Black Mirror should feature stories that are entirely distinct from one another, and keep surprising people (and myself) or else what’s the point? It should be a series that can’t be easily defined, and can keep reinventing itself. So partly as a challenge, and partly to keep things fresh for both me and the viewer, I began this season by deliberately upending some of my own core assumptions about what to expect.

Consequently, this time, alongside some of the more familiar Black Mirror tropes we’ve also got a few new elements, including some I’ve previously sworn blind the show would never do, to stretch the parameters of what ‘a Black Mirror episode’ even is. The stories are all still tonally Black Mirror through-and-through – but with some crazy swings and more variety than ever before.

The new season also boasts a helluva lineup of guest stars. The cast announced so far includes: Aaron Paul, Anjana Vasan, Annie Murphy, Auden Thornton, Ben Barnes, Clara Rugaard, Daniel Portman, Danny Ramirez, Himesh Patel, John Hannah, Josh Hartnett, Kate Mara, Michael Cera, Monica Dolan, Myha’la Herrold, Paapa Essiedu, Rob Delaney, Rory Culkin, Salma Hayek Pinault, Samuel Blenkin, and Zazie Beetz.

Zazie Beetz working at a computer in a still from Black Mirror season 6
Zazie Beetz working at a computer (probably fine) in a still from Black Mirror season 6.
Image: Netflix
Annie Murphy checking her phone in a still from Black Mirror season 6
Annie Murphy and wig in a still from Black Mirror season 6
Image: Netflix
Salma Hayek looking at the camera in a promotional still for Black Mirror season 6
Salma Hayek in a still from Black Mirror season 6.
Photo: Nick Wall/Netflix
Paapa Essiedu in a flamboyant white outfit looking at something in a still from Black Mirror season 6
I May Destroy You’s Paapa Essiedu in a still from Black Mirror season 6.
Photo: Nick Wall/Netflix

They’ll be tasked with bringing in the horrific implications of Black Mirror’s speculative fiction, an action Brooker is excited for audiences to see. “I can’t wait for people to binge their way through it all and hope they enjoy it,” Brooker told Tudum, “especially the bits they shouldn’t.”

Black Mirror season 6 will premiere in June on Netflix.

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