What if your child’s tablet was really a guardian angel? What if a dating app forced you and your match to kill someone? And what if your car suddenly became sentient and wanted revenge for that fender bender from last summer?
These frightening technological scenarios may form the basis of the next season of Netflix’s Black Mirror, but we don’t know: The streaming giant is notoriously cryptic with its sci-fi show, a Twilight Zone-esque anthology series that darkly satirizes modern technology. Its episode titles don’t reveal much, and its brief, wordless trailer (released today) reveals even less. Netflix wants viewers to enter the dark, dystopian future of Black Mirror knowing as little as possible.
Since Netflix won’t tell us what its new batch of episodes will be about, we tried to figure it out ourselves. Using only the information Netflix released in the trailer below, Quartz wrote synopses for each of the upcoming Black Mirror episodes:
Marianne is having a hard time looking after her daughter Sadie now that the father is out of the picture. Ignoring the warnings, she plugs Sadie into her first iPad a year earlier than recommended. The tablet becomes Sadie’s second guardian, giving Marianne some much-needed rest. But soon the technology begins controlling Sadie’s nascent mind, as she and the tablet become symbiotic. “Arkangel” explores the dangers of giving young children electronics and relying on tech to do the parenting for you.—Dave Gershgorn, artificial intelligence reporter
A flunked MIT neuroscientist opens a museum of strange technological artifacts inside his dusty roadside motel. One of them is a device that allows its wearer to feel the pain of others. Unfortunately for the visitors of this museum, its owner is a masochist who’s tired of feeling his own pain. “Black Museum” shows us the extent that technology can really connect us to others.—Dave Gershgorn, artificial intelligence reporter
A woman lost in the mountains seeks refuge in a mysterious, heavily fortified commune. Its inhabitants normally don’t welcome strangers, but there’s something about this one that seems especially desperate. From behind their surveillance cameras, the people of the commune ask the woman to perform a series of psychological tests in order to gain entry, unaware that the woman is running a test of her own. “Crocodile” demonstrates how easily video technology can be duped, and reminds us that even “all-seeing” surveillance never tells the whole story.—Adam Epstein, TV reporter
“Hang the DJ”
In the not-too-distant future, a new game has replaced Tinder as the dating app of choice for young adults. The game matches potential partners based on their predilection for risk-taking: Matches are told to complete a series of escalating dares together, in lieu of traditional dates. “Hang the DJ” will ask just how far we’re willing to go in search of intimacy.—Adam Epstein, TV reporter
An inventor’s sentient robot turns out far more powerful than intended, and soon tries to kill its creator, liberating other machines in the process. Soon, every car, bulldozer, train, and elevator is trying to kill humans. “Metalhead” imagines what our gadgets probably wish they could do to the humans who misuse them.—Johnny Simon, photo editor
An ordinary family sit down to play a multiplayer online video game together, taking roles as crew members on an intergalactic spaceship expedition. As they face increasingly difficult challenges, a series of gruesome killings occur in the game and inexplicable havoc unfolds in real life. ”USS Callister” shows that the violence in video games doesn’t necessarily stay there.—Johnny Simon, photo editor