black mirror u.s.s. callister

We see what you did there, Netflix. By releasing individual trailers for each of Black Mirror season 4’s six episodes, you managed to get us to write about your show six times instead of once. In the words of a doomed dinosaur wrangler learning he’s met his match: clever girl.

Anyway, the final Black Mirror season 4 trailer shows off an episode titled “U.S.S. Callister,” which initially appears to be the most left-field entry of the sci-fi anthology series yet: it’s set on a spaceship in a future based on the aesthetics of the original Star Trek series. Or at least it appears to be.

Black Mirror Season 4 Trailer

Black Mirror has consistently proven itself to be one of the grimmest pieces of entertainment ever made, a show so bleak and black-hearted that watching a single episode can be an emotionally pulverizing experience. It seems like the most pessimistic science fiction series of all time has set its sights on the most optimistic. “U.S.S. Callister” clearly borrows the basic design concepts of Star Trek and its many spin-offs, with that twisting camera actively quoting J.J. Abrams’ 2009 reboot.

But there’s clearly something sinister going on here. First of all, there’s no way Black Mirror makes a space opera – creator Charlie Booker would sooner envision human beings stranded in a digital nightmare on earth than exploring the stars. Second, not everyone seems to be taking this little space voyage completely seriously, as we see when the new recruit rolls her eyes at a particularly bombastic bad guy. Black Mirror has explored digital worlds and virtual realities before, so it’s clear that we’re looking at some kind of science fiction video game, a next-level RPG that immerses players in the ultimate Star Trek-esque adventure. The only question now is what will go wrong, who will be hurt, and how long will it make the audience feel bad about themselves before they work up the courage to click play on the next episode.

Plus, “U.S.S. Callister” features the great Jesse Plemons in the lead role. Whether this excites you as a Friday Night Lights fan or a Breaking Bad fan, I think we can all agree that more Plemons in more things would make the world a better place.

Netflix hasn’t unveiled a release date for Black Mirror season 4 yet, but now that we’ve seen all of the trailers, expect to hear something soon.

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