Almost everywhere you look, there’s an anthology series in the process of being remade or revamped. Jordan Peele’s working on a new Twilight Zone take. Apple is throwing tons of money at reinvigorating Steven Spielberg’s Amazing Stories. People have been trying to get a new Tales From The Crypt up and running for years. Even Roald’s long running Tales of the Unexpected is getting a reboot. We’re about to become overrun with anthology series. Before then though, we get a welcome return to the current gold standard of that format, Black Mirror. Netflix dropped a trailer this morning for the show’s latest mind trip, Bandersnatch. Take a look.
That looks wonderfully weird and exactly what you’d hope for. An 80’s setting. A fantastic needle-drop (“Relax” feels delightfully tense and creepy for a pop song). Will Poulter looking goofy in “computer programmer” gear. Fionn Whitehead (Dunkirk) making the ill advised decision to stop taking his probably much needed medication. All wrapped in nicely paranoid package. Bandersnatch appears to be one hell of a way to end this year. While Black Mirror is coming back for a 5th season, this isn’t part of that. Instead, this will be it’s own separate TV movie, or “A Black Mirror Event“, as the trailer dubs it.
As with all things surrounding the show, we only know as much as the creators wish us to know. That thankfully includes this short official synopsis:
In 1984, a young programmer begins to question reality as he adapts a sprawling fantasy novel into a video game and soon faces a mind-mangling challenge. Welcome back.
Now, given the twisty nature of the show, there’s reason to believe there’s a lot going on under the surface. Amateur internet detectives could easily spend hours going down rabbit holes, searching for meaning and clues, but we’ll focus on three pieces, for now. The title itself refers back to a dangerous and vicious creature mentioned in Lewis Carrol’s Through The Looking Glass. Given that the author of the book that’s being turned into a game met an unfortunately bloody end, maybe that ties in. Bandersnatch also is the name of (drum roll, please) an unreleased computer game from the 80’s. Seriously. It ended up eventually being reworked and released under the name Brataccas, which primarily deals with genetic engineers, super soldiers and shadowy government organizations.
Yet, the third and most intriguing aspect to this, is the rumor that this will be the previously announced experimental “choose your own adventure” foray. Again, it’s just a rumor, but given plot of the special, this would be the perfect time to try it out. If the concept fails, they’ve said this isn’t connected to the next season. Should it be a success, they can revisit it at a later date. Considering the number of people who will watch this, regardless of what format it unfolds in, it’s a win-win.
What do you, dear readers, think of the trailer? Are you merely excited for new Black Mirror? Do you have any theories formulating concerning what shenanigans may be going on here? Are you hoping it’s an interactive adventure? Let us know in the comments below. Be sure to check out Black Mirror: Bandersnatch (directed by David Slade), when it drops tomorrow, December 28, exclusively on Netflix.