Black Mirror began as a British TV anthology show, with each episode highlighting the horrors of a different make-believe technology. The show garnered immense praise, and in 2014 BBC Channel 4 partnered with Netflix to continue the series.
Anthology shows can vary wildly in quality, and Black Mirror is no different. While some episodes will haunt you with their eerie premonitions of a dark future, others will make you guffaw at each character’s wild leaps and decisions. Black Mirror has become a staple of Netflix’s TV lineup, and we’ve ranked every episode from the series.
1. White Christmas: A Trio of Fantastic Tales
White Christmas is the first-holiday special from Black Mirror and our favorite episode of the series. The episode stars Jon Hamm playing triple duty in three short stories threaded together in an overarching near-future world.
This episode hits the top of our list because of the incredible acting and fantastic script. Most Black Mirror episodes end with some twist, and White Christmas doesn’t disappoint. The dramatic conclusion will have you feigning for a re-watch to understand all the nuances in this classic episode.
2. San Junipero: A Love Story Across Time
San Junipero is the fourth episode from the third season and marks a distinct departure from earlier episodes. While most episodes of Black Mirror deal with heavy, depressing topics, San Junipero is a time-jumping mystery centered on love.
The premise involves Mackenzie Davis traveling through different eras to meet up with a mysterious lover. The twist ending provides a beautiful coda to an already gorgeous episode. This episode is perfect for those who need a break from Black Mirrors’ dire tone.
3. The Entire History of You: The More You Know
The third-ever episode of Black Mirror is also one of the series’ best. The plot revolves around a jealous husband and a technology that constantly records everyone’s vision. When protagonist Liam becomes suspicious of his wife’s relationship, he goes to great lengths to learn and then unlearn the truth.
The Entire History of You came early on in Black Mirrors run and is one of the episodes that put the series on the map. The spooky new technology, themes of human malice, and a brilliantly acted script made Black Mirror a must-watch show.
4. USS Callister: One Giant Leap For Black Mirror
USS Callister occurs in the real world and a fictional game universe. A new programmer at a gaming company joins her team in an online role-playing game but soon finds out the game is a little too real for comfort.
The standout of this episode is the acting from Jesse Plemons and Cristin Milioti. Combined with the slick script from series creator Charlie Booker, USS Callister has become a fan favorite among the Black Mirror faithful.
5. Joan is Awful: A Black Mirror Black Comedy
Joan is Awful is one of the newest episodes of Black Mirror and one of its best. The episode stars Schitts Creek alum Annie Murphey as a streaming subscriber that failed to read the app’s terms and conditions thoroughly. She soon finds that the streaming site uses her likeness through AI to create a show based on her life. Albeit a much worse representation of her life.
The episode deals with a lot of technology that currently does exist but keeps the subject matter lighthearted. Joan is Awful is Black Mirrors’ first foray into black comedy, and they do a stellar job poking fun at streaming giants and corporate greed.
6. Be Right Back: Tis Better to Have Loved and Lost
Be Right Back was the season premiere of Black Mirror’s highly anticipated second season. The episode centers around a woman who has lost her partner and finds a company that can digitally recreate him. The premise begins innocuously enough, with an AI version of her partner instant messaging her before things start to get too real and an android replica is delivered to her home.
Be Right Back deals with grief in a futuristic setting but largely stays grounded from the performances of Haley Atwell and Domhall Gleeson. With very few other actors in the episode, the two carry the plot and deliver a heart-wrenching tale of love and loss.
7. Striking Vipers: Forbidden Love
Black Mirror is often at its best when it mixes tenderness with its nihilism. Striking Vipers blends these two traits perfectly into an unforgettable episode.
The story centers around two old friends that reconnect in virtual reality through a fighting game. After a few rounds of fighting, they realize their connection may be more than platonic, and the game acts as a sanctuary for them to explore those feelings. Like most, the episode ends on a down note but still provides one of the best episodes from season five.
8. Beyond the Sea: A Brutal Tale of Jealousy and Loneliness
Beyond the Sea comes from Black Mirrors’ latest season and is easily the darkest of the bunch. The story is set in an alternative 1960s where two astronauts are stationed in space on a years-long mission. The catch is they have fully humanoid-like androids back on Earth that they can tap into when they are not working.
The premise alone is enough to pique one’s interest, but this episode’s brutal twists and turns make it one of our favorites of the new season. Top it off with stellar performances from Aaron Paul, Josh Hartnett, and Kate Mara, and you have one killer episode of Television.
9. Hated in the Nation: A Black Mirror Detective Thriller
At an hour and a half, Hated in the Nation feels more like a movie than an episode of TV. The finale of season three features everything from Killer Bees to hard-nosed detectives. The story begins with a sensational journalist killed after writing an offensive clickbait piece. Once the detectives start to unravel her murder, they find her death was directly linked to the number of people who had wished her dead online.
The story and acting are superb in this episode, even if it does overstay its welcome. We were enthralled with the overarching narrative and themes of online hate. Black Mirror is often a cautionary tale, and Hated in the Nation is among the best.
10. Nosedive: Please Like & Subscribe
Nosedive begins in a futuristic world where society is ranked by its standings on social media. Every interaction one has with another member of society is ranked by that person leading them to have a score on a scale of 1 to 5. The story follows Bryce Dallas Howard, who begins the episode at a solid 4.2 before plummeting due to several comedic errors.
While Joan is Awful is the first Black Mirror episode to go full black comedy, Nosedive delivers social humor. The inclusion of Howard in the starring role made Black Mirror feel like an American show for the first time and is one of the best episodes of the re-launched show.
11. National Anthem: The Worlds Introduction to Charlie Bookers Weird Universe
National Anthem is the first episode of Black Mirror and leaves a lasting impression. When a member of the British Royal family is kidnapped, the kidnappers demand that the prime minister commit an unspeakable act of debauchery on live television in exchange for her safe return.
The world is shocked and disgusted by the request but continues to watch as the prime minister gives in to the kidnapper’s demands. The episode almost acts as a commentary for the entire series. It doesn’t matter how depraved or shocking Booker gets with his series; people continue to tune in.
12. White Bear: A Prison of Your Own Making
White Bear begins with an amnesiac woman wakening to horrors and a titillated audience. The episode is a series of terrors and uncompassionate bystanders that crescendo into one dreadful twist.
White Bear begs many of the same questions that games like The Last of Us Part 2 ask. Who is really the hero, and who is the villain? And how far before we lose our humanity in the process of revenge. The early episodes of Black Mirror always delivered a twisted moral, but few did it as well as White Bear.
13. Arkangel: How Far Would You Go to Protect Your Loved Ones?
Directed by Jodie Foster, Arkangel is one of the more poignant Black Mirror episodes. The plot centers on a mother with her three-year-old child, implemented with a new technology that allows her to view everything her child sees. The technology also will enable her to censor sensitive content from her child’s eyes.
This power proves too much, but the mother can’t help but use it when her daughter reaches her rebellious teenage years. Arkangel is a cautionary tale about helicopter parenting and invading one’s privacy. The episode hits harder for parents as they must straddle the line between protecting their children and letting them live their lives.
14. Men Against Fire: The Enemy of My Enemy
Men Against Fire is one of the most shocking episodes of Black Mirror, even if the ending is pretty easy to figure out. In the near future, soldiers are waging war against mutated humans known as “roaches.” The soldiers are all implemented with augmented reality devices to help ease the burden of war. When one soldier begins questioning the AR device and his enemy, he makes a shocking discovery that changes his outlook on the war.
While a bit on the nose, Men Against Fire deals with some of the tactics countries have used on their soldiers for years. Desensitizing soldiers to the horrors of war and dehumanizing enemies is a common thread, and Men Against Fire tackles this practice head-on. The episode will leave you with a pit in your stomach as you wonder how close to this dystopia we may be.
15. Black Museum: A Journey Through the World of Black Mirror
Black Museum stars Letitia Wight as she roams a museum of horrors. The episode features countless easter eggs to previous episodes and acts as a swan song to the pre-Bandersnatch Black Mirror.
The episode provides good fun for super fans, but much of the magic is lost on newcomers. Black Museum stands out for long-time fans and gets better with each viewing.
16. Demon 79: The Devil You Know
Demon 79 is an odd episode for Black Mirror. While most episodes fall into the science fiction category, Demon 79 is a fantasy horror. The episode is even branded as a “Red Mirror” production, something we may see more of in the future of the series.
The episode stars a young sales associate who finds a talisman in her store’s basement. After activating the talisman, she is met by a demon who informs her she must murder three people to prevent the apocalypse. Paapa Essiedu’s performance as the demon saves this episode from falling lower on our list.
17. Hang The DJ: Love in the Digital Age
Hang the DJ is another romantic episode of Black Mirror, but it fails to capture the magic of San Junipero. The premise is an app that matches romantic partners for a set time before their relationship expires. Having an app tell you when a relationship has run its course seems ideal unless you can’t get one person out of your mind.
A couple who has spent only twelve hours together decides to break the mold and return to each other despite the algorithm. There is a twist at the end, but it is less satisfying than the ones higher on our list. Still, Hang the DJ is a good respite from some grueling episodes in season 4.
18. Loch Henry: Family Secrets
Loch Henry plays off of the world’s obsession with true crime documentaries. A young filmmaker returns to his hometown to chronicle a sadistic murderer that once lived in a small village. He finds that the crimes of the past hit closer to home than he ever imagined.
Loch Henry deserves praise for breaking away from the traditional Black Mirror mold. In the later seasons, the creators have experimented with different genres, and Loch Henry is a far departure from the show’s earlier offerings. While it might not be the most memorable, it is an excellent entry in a series full of solid episodes.
19. Mazey Day: A Twist No-One Saw Coming
Mazey Day is, to date, the farthest departure from the Black Mirror that we have seen in the series. The story follows a paparazzi photographer in search of a missing young starlet. The reason for the young woman’s disappearance remains a mystery until the very end, and when it’s finally revealed, it’s a shock for even Black Mirror veterans.
Like Loch Henry, Mazey Day doesn’t always hit the mark it’s aiming for. Even with a stellar cast, the reveal at the end was too much for many Black Mirror fans. Still, we are happy to see the show take big swings and venture into new territory.
20. 15 Million Merits: A Society Far Far Away
15 Million Merits is the second episode of Black Mirror and proved early on that the show was willing to take significant risks. The story is set in a dystopic future where society rides stationary bikes all day to earn “merits.” Merits are the world’s currency, and there are few other ways to make a living than slowly spinning away.
The cast of this episode is excellent, and the dystopian future is a grim look at capitalism. Our biggest gripe with this episode is the slow pacing and longing dread. This episode feels constrained by a small budget, as much of it takes place watching people on stationary bikes. The script and moral are still spot on, and 15 Million Merits retains a loyal fan base despite its flaws.
21. Playtest: A Rare Miss from Charlie Booker
Playtest is an interesting concept trapped in a convoluted plot. The episode features a young man who has just lost his father and, in turn, becomes a recluse. He is offered the chance to play test a new augmented reality device, but it soon becomes too much, and he attempts to leave.
This episode falls so low on our list because the twist ending amounts to little more than “It was all a dream.” For a show that continually shocks and pushes narrative storytelling forward, this lazy ending left us with a bad taste in our mouths.
22. Shut Up & Dance: A Hacking Scheme Come True
Season 3 was one of the weakest of the series, and Shut Up and Dance doesn’t help. The story features a young man whose computer has been hacked, with the hackers claiming to have a video of him pleasing himself to online content. The protagonist is committing several fetch quests and crimes to keep the video private.
The biggest knock against this episode is the truly gross twist ending the episode throws at us. Episodes like The White Bear or Joan is Awful made us root for less-than-perfect protagonists, but this episode took it too far. The twist at the end felt like shock value for the sake of shock and undermined the morale it was trying to tell.
23. Smithereens: An Uber Driver That Deserves Zero Stars
Smithereens stars Chris, a rideshare app driver with a vendetta against social media giant “Smithereen.” Chris finally gets his revenge against the company by kidnapping one of their interns at gunpoint. He drives her around and demands to speak to the company’s CEO.
Smithereens doesn’t fall into some shock traps that other episodes do. Instead, it just feels boring. The episode ends with a sort of twist ending, but it’s telegraphed throughout the whole episode. Smithereens was a low point for an otherwise stellar fifth season.
24. Rachel, Jack, and Ashley Too: Chucky & M3gan Meet Miley Cyrus
The last episode of Black Mirrors’ short fifth season has a small cult following for its campy vibe and meta-star power. Miley Cyrus stars as Ashley O, a pop star popular enough to have an AI robot created in her likeness. There are many films and shows that feature AI toy dolls, and it never ends well. Rachel, Jack, and Ashley Too is no exception.
Unfortunately, the episode is a slow burn that fails to make any meaningful statement about the world around us. Part camp horror movie, part commentary on star power, the fifth season finale is one of the worst episodes Black Mirror has delivered.
25. Metalhead: Black Mirror Goes Black & White
Metalhead is remembered most for being shot entirely in Black & White and featuring murderous robot dogs. The episode is short and pretty thin on plot, with most of the run-time devoted to following the protagonist as she attempts to escape the killer robots.
This is another episode that took a significant risk that didn’t entirely pay off. While the Black and White Aesthetic is visually stunning, the episode does little to push the series forward. Given a little more plot and exposition, Metalhead could have been a great episode. But as it stands, it’s a ho-hum offering for the series.
26. Crocodile: A Comedy of Errors
Crocodile falls into the trap of characters doing bad things with little or no motivation. The plot follows two friends who inadvertently kill a cyclist with their car and hide the body to cover it up. The story then jumps fifteen years into the future, where one group member has a guilty conscience and wants to let the family know what happened to their love. The response this person gets is to be then murdered for wanting to come clean.
Crocodile is a tale of paranoia but feels more like bad decisions to move the plot forward. There is little motivation other than self-preservation for any of the participant’s actions, and soon they begin actively working against their best interest. Crocodile’s plot remains the most unbelievable story in the series in a show filled with unbelievable technology.
27: The Waldo Moment: The Worst Episode of Black Mirror
The Waldo Moment is our least favorite episode of Black Mirror. The episode falls so low on our list, not because the plot isn’t believable, but because it hits too hard on the nose and features one of the more boring casts.
The story centers on a computer-animated bear named Waldo, who rallies enough support to run for a parliamentary seat. In a post-2016 world, a computer-generated comic running for political office doesn’t feel like a huge stretch, but this episode isn’t able to critique this society in any meaningful way. The best Black Mirror episodes cause us to think about our actions and reflect on society. The Waldo Moment plays too much for laughs while trying to remain edgy. The episode does have its fans, but for us, it’s Charlie Booker’s biggest miss.