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Just the 9 best Black Mirror episodes that are actually worth your time.

When I first discovered Black Mirror, I recommended it to everyone I knew – including my mum – with one condition: do not, whatever you do, start your Black Mirror journey with series one, episode one.

Given Black Mirror is an anthology series, there’s no need to watch them in order of release. It’s a disturbing (yet brilliant) commentary on the power of technology and social media, but for anyone who has watched that first ever episode ‘The National Anthem’… well you’ll understand why it’s not the episode of Charlie Brooker’s impressive sci-fi series I wanted to give my mother.

In each episode of Black Mirror we are presented with a new technology, but that’s basically where the similarities between each episode ends. Some are dystopic, some are political satire, some (most) will leave you feeling shock or despair while there are a few that will make you warm and fuzzy.

If you’re a Black Mirror newbie or planning a rewatch, we’ve compiled a list of the very best Black Mirror episodes.

Nosedive – season 3, episode 1.

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Image: Netflix.

Watching Nosedive feels familiar, and that's exactly what is so scary about it.

Nosedive is a satirical look at our reliance on social media likes: Using eye implants and their mobile phones, people rate their online and in-person interactions. Think Uber ratings, but for every conversation you have in your life.

Bryce Dallas Howard's Lacie is keen to improve her personal rating in order to qualify for a discount to a luxury apartment and a high-ranked friend's wedding seems like the perfect opportunity to do so - but she'll face a series of mishaps along the way.

Basically, Nosedive is going to make you want to throw your iPhone out the window.

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U.S.S Callister - season 4, episode 1.

best black mirror episodes
Image: Netflix.

Yes, 'the Star Trek one'.

A space crew captained by Robert Daly go on heroic missions across the galaxy... And that's basically as much as I can say without ruining any of the twists and turns.

U.S.S Callister is a critique of sexism in sci-fi culture, workplace harassment and power dynamics.

That sounds dark, and it is in some parts, but the episode is full of jokes and gags, so it takes a much lighter tone than other Black Mirror episodes.

Be Right Back - season 2, episode 1.

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Image: Netflix.
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This is the most emotional episode of Black Mirror, taking a profound look at our mortality and grief.

After Martha's husband dies in a car, she tries out a new service that lets people stay in touch with the deceased and grapples with how this impacts her grieving process and her relationships with other - still living - people.

You will cry.

The Entire History of You - season 1, episode 3.

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Image: Netflix.

The Entire History of You, regularly cited as the best ever Black Mirror episode, is set in the near future where everyone has "grains" behind their ear, recording everything they see, hear and do and allowing them to play back their memories in front of their eyes or on a screen.

Considering that we already obsess over minute details of our daily interactions, social media interactions and text messages, the technology in The Entire History of You is not too far fetched, but obviously because this is Black Mirror, the episode takes a dark turn.

Liam suspects his wife Ffion is cheating on him and becomes increasingly paranoid, analysing and replaying every interaction of his life which, well, ultimately ruins it.

Hang the DJ - season 4, episode 4.

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Image: Netflix.
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This is a rare Black Mirror episode that will leave you feeling warm and fuzzy inside.

Tinder and Bumble have gone next level in Hang the DJ, which sees Frank and Amy sign up to The System - a service that matches them with a series of partners but puts an expiration date on all relationships until they find their perfect match.

It's uplifting, sweet and has a happy ending - something you shouldn't expect often from Black Mirror.

Shut Up and Dance - season 3, episode 3.

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Image: Netflix.

If you're after a twist that feels like a violent gut-punch, Shut Up and Dance is for you.

Teenage boy Kenny is among a group of people blackmailed into committing a series of strange and criminal acts by a mysterious hacker who has video footage of them in compromising positions.

After almost an hour of nervous nail-biting on the edge of your seat, the final twist will make you want to curl up into a ball.

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You'll probably feel gross after this, but given the technology featured, the vigilante theme and the character's desperate need to protect their reputations... it's horrifying, but it's plausible.

Hated in the Nation - season 3, episode 6.

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Image: Netflix.

After receiving a series of death threats and hate messages on Twitter, a journalist is found dead in her home.

Hated in the Nation is a feature length murder mystery - with robot bees, because why not? - that takes a harsh look at social media's outrage-fuelled public shaming and cancel culture and the lack of consequences for those who bully or troll others online.

The National Anthem - season 1, episode 1.

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Image: Netflix.
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Okay, so while I didn't want my mum to watch this episode first up because she'd be like 'what the actual f*ck has my DAUGHTER made me watch?' and maybe not try any further eps, The National Anthem is so bizarre and so disturbing that it's actually brilliant.

After a much-loved member of the royal family is kidnapped, the kidnappers want no money or power - all they want is for British Prime Minister Michael Callow to uh, get down with a pig live on national TV.

It's got all the makings of a dark comedy sketch, but with the added theme of how powerful public opinion can be (and how quickly it can change). Oh, and although the premise is eerily similar to allegations made against former PM David Cameron, Brooker swears he knew nothing about that when he wrote the episode.

San Junipero - season 3, episode 4.

best black mirror episodes
Image: Netflix.

Like Hang the DJ, San Junipero will leave your heart feeling warm instead of ice cold or just absolutely torn apart.

In a seaside town in 1987, two young women go from being friends to lovers. It is the first Black Mirror episode to feature a same-sex couple and hallelujah, they get a happy ending.

San Junipero is unlike most other Black Mirror episodes, as advanced technology betters the lives of the characters and in this case, frees them to live the lives they always wanted to.

So, grab some popcorn and get comfy: You've got a Netflix binge to enjoy.

What's your favourite Black Mirror episode? Let us know in a comment below.

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