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No. 13: 'The Waldo Moment' (Season 2)
The closest Black Mirror has to an agreed-upon misfire, this political spoof doesn’t quite connect as it follows the rise of a Triumph, the Insult Comic Dog-like figure.
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No. 12: 'Shut Up and Dance' (Season 3)
A tense and plausible nightmare about a young man blackmailed by hackers. This nihilistic hour is perhaps a victim of its own anguished mood.
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No. 11: 'Men Against Fire' (Season 3)
A grim tale with a dim protagonist that makes some compelling points about modern warfare, “Men Against Fire” nonetheless lacks the depth and impact of others on this list.
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No. 10: 'Fifteen Million Merits' (Season 1)
One of the show’s wildest and most underrated episodes explores a potential romance amid a dystopian reality TV future.
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No. 9: 'Hated in the Nation' (Season 3)
Scandi-noir meets The X-Files in this feature-length procedural drama tackling online outrage, but what you’ll remember most is its frighteningly unstoppable murder weapon.
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No. 8: 'White Bear' (Season 2)
A fan-favorite about a woman (Lenora Critchlow) being relentlessly pursued with a twist you won’t see coming. “White Bear” could have easily been a classic episode of The Twilight Zone. (Most rank this episode much higher; I just happened to like the rest of the episodes better.)
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No. 7: 'Playtest' (Season 3)
“Playtest” is the Black Mirror version of a haunted house story about an affable tourist (Wyatt Russell) who tries out an immersive new game. This one stays one step ahead of the viewer at every moment with unsettling direction by Dan Trachtenberg (10 Cloverfield Lane). There’s no moral here, and there doesn’t need to be.
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No. 6: 'Nosedive' (Season 3)
A successful shift into comedy anchored by star Bryce Dallas Howard and written by Parks and Recreation veterans Mike Schur and Rashida Jones along with Black Mirror creator Charlie Brooker; this social media spoof that takes online reviews to their ultimate desperate extreme. We give “Nosedive” five stars!
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No. 5: 'The National Anthem' (Season 1)
The mad-brilliant series opener; a political satire with a premise that left viewers with their jaws dropped -- a kidnapper demands the Prime Minister (Rory Kenner) has sex with a pig on television or he’ll kill a beloved royal family princess. Proves Black Mirror episodes don’t need sci-fi elements or twists to feel original and surprising.
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No. 4: 'Be Right Back' (Season 2)
Deciding the order of these final four episode was extremely difficult — all took turns at No. 1 during deliberations. “Be Right Back” is a high-tech version of “The Monkey’s Paw,” about a woman (Hayley Atwell) who tries out a cutting edge service that synthetically recreates her dead boyfriend (Domhnall Gleeson). This is a moving exploration of grief and the drama’s most emotional hour.
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No. 3: 'San Junipero' (Season 3)
A story of two visitors (Gugu Mbatha-Raw and Mackenzie Davis) to a California beach town in 1987. Seldom has an episode of TV been more elevated by its final moments; the ending of “San Junipero” marries humanity, technology, and nostalgia with a stunning sequence that elevates everything we’ve seen before it. Many Black Mirror episodes leave you feeling like you’ve survived a nightmare; this is a vision of the future — and the past — that you’ll long to relive.
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No. 2: 'White Christmas' (Special)
Despite its 70-minute length, the script by Brooker about two men (a terrific Jon Hamm and Rafe Spall) stuck in a snowbound cabin is a marvelously tight construction that weaves together three seemingly disparate storylines in an unexpected way that makes surprising sense. The tech nightmares presented here (blocking, the egg) are among the most haunting the show has invented.
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No. 1: 'The Entire History of You' (Season 1)
From writer Jesse Armstrong, this is Black Mirror’s most archetypical example of its premise. “The Entire History of You” (itself an amazing title) takes a wholly plausible near-future tech innovation (the ability to record and replay whatever you see), then expertly squeezes it for every last ounce of its dark dramatic implication. While there are Black Mirror episodes you might enjoy more, and ones with finer performances, this hour’s execution by director Brian Welsh is sophisticated and flawless.
Next</strong: Read our postmortem on season 3 with Charlie Brooker