3 essential Black Mirror episodes you need to watch before the new series

Season 6 is here, but don't forget the classics

USS Callister
(Image credit: Netflix)

Can you believe Black Mirror is over a decade old already? It feels like just yesterday we were introduced to the anthology series with the Prime Minister and a pig. Now Netflix has just added season 6, with a host of big names once again on board. 

If you're thinking about getting into Black Mirror, or need a refresher, it can be a bit intimidating. Each episode is not short (and of course, there's the feature-length Bandersnatch) and you don't want to get the wrong impression with one of the less memorable episodes. 

A series as creatively ambitious as Black Mirror is never going to hit every time, but when it does... oh boy. These are three absolutely essential episodes that you should watch before starting season 6.  

1. San Junipero (Season 3 Episode 4)

San Junipero

(Image credit: Netflix)

You knew this was going to make this list. The fan favourite San Junipero is proof that Black Mirror isn't always doom and gloom. 

What may seem like your classic girl meets girl story (complete with the series' always excellent use of music) soon turns into a touching mix of sci-fi, tragedy and romcom. Saying much more would spoil it but Mackenzie Davis and Gugu Mbatha-Raw are the stars of what is undoubtedly the most heartwarming episode in the series. 

If you're on a first date, a bit of a scaredy cat, or simply want a palette cleanser to the sense of existential dread that other episodes can fill you with, San Junipero is perfect. If you want another dose of happiness, check out Season 4's Hang the DJ

2. 15 Million Merits (Season 1 Episode 2)

15 Million Merits

(Image credit: Channel 4)

Although shorter seasons, it could be argued that the pre-Netflix days of Black Mirror were the most consistent. From the traumatic White Bear and Be Right Back in season 2 to the very first episode of the first season, the standard is exceptional. 

Arguably the best of them all however is 15 Million Merits. The second-ever episode was the first time that the series deviated into a look at the future of technology, a now well-trodden theme for the show.  

Oscar-Winner Daniel Kaluuya (now of course famous for Get Out) stars as Bing, who lives in a world dominated by 'Merits' earned by cycling on an exercise bike. A pretty grim dystopic view of the world, the one escape for regular citizens is an X Factor-style reality show. 

This is a brilliant satire of the fame obsession of the modern age, and although written in a time before social media was the beast it is today, it says a lot about that too. 

3. USS Callister (Season 4 Episode 1)

USS Callister

(Image credit: Netflix)

This is an episode where Black Mirror really showcases its ability to blend the silly with the spooky. USS Callister is a camp delight that simultaneously ticks all of the creepy boxes. Trapped in a video game that resembles classic Star Trek, Nanette (Christina Miloti) soon realises that heroic Captain Daly isn't quite who he seems.  

I won't spoil too much but this episode highlights just how out of control men in positions of power can get. At once hilarious and harrowing, USS Callister is essential viewing. 

Andy Sansom
Staff Writer

Andy is T3's Tech Staff Writer, covering all things technology, including his biggest passions such as gaming, AI, phones, and basically anything cool and expensive he can get his hands on. If he had to save one possession from a fire it would be his PlayStation 5. He previously worked for Tom’s Guide - where he got paid to play with ChatGPT every day. When it comes to streaming, Andy will have his headphones glued in whilst watching something that will make him laugh. He studied Creative Writing at university, but also enjoys supporting his favourite football team (Liverpool), watching F1, teaching himself guitar, and spending time with his dog.