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The Black Mirror season 5 trailer plays things a little too safe

Black Mirror: Season 5 | Official Trailer | Netflix

Black Mirror will return to Netflix for a fifth season this summer, the streaming service has announced by way of a new trailer. All three episodes of the abbreviated new season will arrive on June 5, 2019, and if you’re a dedicated Black Mirror fan, the new footage will look very familiar — maybe too familiar.

While Netflix didn’t release any episode titles or summaries, the trailer seems to be made up of a trio distinct plotlines. In one, a young woman falls prey to a cute and seemingly well-meaning digital assistant that appears to have darker intentions. In another, a family man finds himself tempted to cheat on his wife after browsing a dating app. Finally, a third story depicts a man with a gun who looks like he’s been driven mad by constant digital surveillance.

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Like recent Black Mirror installments, the new season of Charlie Brooker’s dystopian sci-fi anthology series stars a number of A-list celebrities, including Miley Cyrus and Avengers star Anthony Mackie, who’s positioned to be a major player in the next phase of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Djib Mo’s “Lonely Feelings” plays over the trailer, riffing on Black Mirror‘s main theme, i.e., how technology isolates people instead of bringing them together. Near the end of the trailer, buzzwords like “technology,” “the future,” “connection,” and “sex” flash across the screen.

In other words, Black Mirror season 5 looks like more of the same, and the trailer works hard to drive that point home. That’s not a complaint, exactly. Black Mirror has never been subtle, and its twisty, satirical take on modern life is still unlike anything else on TV. At the same time, it’s hard to shake the feeling that Black Mirror‘s best episodes have already covered some of this material.

Take video games, for example. In season four, the episode “U.S.S. Callister” combined a Star Trek send-up with a hard-hitting look at how ethics become warped in virtual reality. Black Mirror: Bandersnatch, which arrived between seasons, is both a satire about the video game industry and a choose-your-own-adventure-style video game itself. In that vein, the season5 trailer concludes with an extended Street Fighter parody. It’s starting to feel a little repetitive.

Ultimately, more Black Mirror is still a treat for sci-fi fans, and the brief season (which was likely shortened due to Bandersnatch‘s demanding production schedule) could surprise us. After all, unexpected twists are what Black Mirror does best. Black Mirror made its name by taking big risks, and it’d be a shame to see one of the most innovative and influential sci-fi series of the past few years start to play it safe.

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