In an interview with the UK’s Radio Times, Black Mirror scriptwriter Charlie Brooker said that he isn’t working on a new season of the show right now because the world is already too dystopian.
Brooker said he was instead writing comedic material that would make himself, and hopefully others, laugh during the ongoing pandemic and shutdowns, but didn’t give details about when any of that comic material would be produced or become available.
“At the moment, I don’t know what stomach there would be for stories about societies falling apart, so I’m not working away on one of those,” the British showrunner said. “I’m sort of keen to revisit my comic skill set, so I’ve been writing scripts aimed at making myself laugh.”
Season five of the dystopian science fiction series was released to Netflix in July 2019, and is eligible for the upcoming Emmy Awards. It followed a 2018 movie related to the series.
Is America already dystopian?
The series focuses on modern life and the way technology we live with and develop today could go horribly wrong if we aren’t careful. It is similar in some ways to The Twilight Zone or The X-Files.
Dystopia has been a popular genre for young adults and millennials, who seem to both take for granted and be uncomfortable with modern technological advances and their potential for control over people’s lives.
The public’s current appetite for dystopian television may have been dampened by the coronavirus outbreak and people’s depression over forced social isolation, job losses, and tens of thousands of deaths from the pandemic itself.
While some areas of the U.S. have not shut down or have been quicker to reopen after having few cases of the virus so far, a few areas have seemed to crack down hard on people who questioned lockdowns or refused to tow the line.
Is freedom at risk?
One Texas judge jailed a woman for reopening her nail salon a few days earlier than the state decreed because she and some of her stylists were struggling to feed their children. In Virginia, a pastor was cited for holding an in-person church service with 16 people when the limit was 10.
In York, Pennsylvania, a woman was given a citation for taking a drive in her car even though she didn’t get out or violate any social distancing guidelines, but the citation was later dropped. And everywhere that is shut down, businesses run the risk of closing for good after being promised help from the government that failed to materialize when promised programs ran out long before the need did.
These kinds of limits that some consider draconian and unconstitutional are the very stuff most dystopian stories warn about–that some kind of crisis will lead to government overreach and that a continuing threat will be used or even manufactured in order to continue controlling the masses.
While there have been few indications that the federal government will use the pandemic in the way dystopian stories threaten, there have been many state and local leaders who seem to be doing so. It’s good to see that the courts are beating most of them back just as quickly, at least for now.