Black Mirror Wishes You a Happy New Year (but Will It Be Horrific Instead?)

See Netflix's twisted year-end video for Season 4

Headshot of Tim Nudd

“It’s hard to imagine a bright future, but we must.”

New Year’s is a time for looking forward, and Netflix does so with trepidation—including the line above—in a new campaign for Black Mirror, whose fourth season just rolled out on the streaming service yesterday.

Through its first three seasons, the sci-fi anthology series has taken a notoriously grim view of technological achievement—seeing any new tools invented by humans primarily through the lens of how quickly they are weaponized. The ad below, which also broke yesterday, looks at 2017 much the same way, juxtaposing real-world events from the past year with clips from past seasons of the show—to suggest that even the things we celebrated as advancements could soon have disturbing consequences.

The result is unsettling indeed, and the “Happy New Year” message feels more like a warning than a celebration. In fact, the video, created by agency B-Reel, could be seen as a dark companion piece—a black mirror, if you like—to YouTube’s insanely joyful year in review spot, which sees nothing but optimism in the headlong rush toward a fully digital world.

Only time will tell whether we have reason to hope for the future. And 2018—like it or not—seems destined to bring us some answers on that score.

Below, see the trailer for Black Mirror Season 4, released a few weeks back.


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@nudd Tim Nudd is a former creative editor of Adweek.