'Black Mirror' Lands at Netflix With 12 New Episodes

Black Mirror Still - H 2015
Courtesy of Channel 4

Black Mirror Still - H 2015

Following a fierce bidding war, Netflix has acquired Black Mirror.

After interest from HBO and Syfy, the streaming service has closed a deal for creator Charlie Brooker's critically acclaimed anthology series, The Hollywood Reporter has learned. Under the pact, Netflix will create 12 new episodes of the science fiction satire, where each episode tells a stand-alone story.

Brooker and Annabel Jones — who created the series and exec produced its first seven episodes — will serve as showrunners on the Netflix batch via their Endemol Shine Group-based House of Tomorrow company. Brooker has already started writing the new episodes, which are scheduled to begin production in late 2015 in the U.K.

"It's all very exciting — a whole new bunch of Black Mirror episodes on the most fitting platform imaginable. Netflix connects us with a global audience so that we can create bigger, stranger, more international and diverse stories than before, whilst maintaining that Black Mirror feel. I just hope none of these new story ideas come true," Brooker said.

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With the deal, the Twilight Zone-like series expands its relationship with Netflix. The series originally aired its first season (of three episodes) in 2011 on the U.K.'s Channel 4. Its second round of three aired in 2013, with a Christmas special starring Jon Hamm debuting in December 2014. Netflix picked up the episodes last year, and the series became a critical sensation stateside.

Netflix says it's unclear when the series will premiere — or how the new episodes will be rolled out, seeming to indicate that the drama may not all premiere at once. Black Mirror's stand-alone nature certainly better suits the series to be released slowly as it isn't a format that lends itself to Netflix's standard all-at-once binge model.

The series will premiere internationally in all territories outside the U.K. and Ireland, where plans are still being determined.

Here's how Netflix describes the series: "Black Mirror taps into the collective unease with the modern world and each stand-alone episode is a sharp, suspenseful tale exploring themes of contemporary techno-paranoia. Without questioning it, technology has transformed all aspects of our lives; in every home; on every desk; in every palm — a plasma screen; a monitor; a smartphone — a Black Mirror reflecting our 21st Century existence back at us."

The drama has been recognized with an International Emmy Award, a Peabody Award, a Rose D’Or and has been nominated for a BAFTA award.

Black Mirror was a frequent topic of discussion during THR's semi-annual network executive survey in January, where HBO's Michael Lombardo said he'd like to reboot the series. "I look at a show like Black Mirror, and as a total Twilight Zone junkie, I think the true anthology series — where every episode is different but thematically connected — is untapped," he said. 

While such anthologies as Fargo, American Horror Story, American Crime and True Detective have become more commonplace, the individual episodic anthology seems to be the format's natural successor. The CW tried its hand at the latter last year with a reboot of Tales From the Darkside, where each episode was designed to feature at least one story with a completely different cast.

For Netflix, Black Mirror joins a rapidly growing roster of original scripted fare including Orange Is the New Black, Fuller House, Bloodline, Longmire, Marco Polo, Narcos, Grace and Frankie, The Crown, BoJack Horseman, Between, Daredevil, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt and more.

"Charlie has created a one-of-a-kind series with an uncanny voice and prescient, darkly comedic vision. We’re tremendously proud to bring Black Mirror to our members as a Netflix original series,” said Cindy Holland, vp original content at Netflix.

For Endemol, meanwhile, Black Mirror joins a roster of originals that includes Big Brother, Peaky Blinders, Broadchurch, The Biggest Loser and more.

Check out a teaser for Netflix's Black Mirror here.

Brooker and Jones are repped by CAA and attorneys Jeanne Newman and Matt Levy.