Netflix’s technology-focused anthology series Black Mirror has long been compared to Rod Serling’s iconic The Twilight Zone. Both examine the darker side of humanity, often making damning critiques of society in the process. So, it’s no wonder that when Get Out Oscar winner Jordan Peele decided to reboot The Twilight Zone for CBS All Access, fans immediately likened it to Charlie Brooker’s streaming show. So did Black Mirror make a new Twilight Zone unnecessary?
In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Peele addressed the comparison and declared that no, his version of The Twilight Zone would definitely not be too similar to the Netflix series. Not only will the show avoid focusing too much on technology that is the focal point of all Black Mirror episodes, but it will also skip the super dark and sometimes nauseating conclusions for which Black Mirror is so notorious.
“Black Mirror is fucking nailing the [dystopian] state of technology and how mankind fails when submitting to it,” Peele explained to EW. “I appreciate the darkness of Black Mirror. I think Twilight Zone has a darkness, but it has a spectrum of tone in terms of how it’s meant to make you feel at the end.”
Kumail Nanjiani, who appears in the new Twilight Zone reboot along with pretty much all of your favorite celebrities, expressed a similar sentiment.
“At its core, Black Mirror is cynical about humanity — that’s not a dig, I love the show,” he told EW. “To me, Twilight Zone, no matter how dark the episode, is ultimately optimistic about humanity.”
They’re not wrong about Black Mirror’s cynicism. One of the most interesting things about each episode of the Netflix anthology is how unafraid it is to push its storytelling to the most disturbing extremes to make its comment on society pack a powerful punch. It is also the thing that makes Black Mirror so unsettling to watch.
(Here are some twisted spoilers!)
In season 4’s "Crocodile," a woman kills an entire family to make sure that their memories can't be harvested to implicate her for a different crime. In season 3's "Shut Up and Dance," a teen kills a man in a fight-to-the-death challenge because someone on the internet told him to. In season 1's "The National Anthem," a prime minister has sex with a pig to save a kidnapped princess.
This is a show we all choose to watch — and, in the case of Black Mirror: Bandersnatch, we get to choose exactly which dark ending we want. Because let's be honest: none of them are happy!
The Twilight Zone may share similarities with Black Mirror, but as we wait for Netflix to drop new nightmares on us ,maybe we should try on some optimism from the mind of Peele. You know, just to switch it up.