So, you’ve finished up Black Mirror and your need for depraved, horrifying entertainment is still not fully met. It’s okay because there are plenty of bleak, mind-bending shows out there for you to continue on your binge-watching spree.
One of the reasons why Black Mirror has become so popular is because it’s a future we’re partly living. The technology may be more advanced, but it’s not outside the realm of possibility within the next 10 or 20 years. To think of these things happening in our lifetime is frightening to the point of obsession. So we get it when you finish each of Black Mirror‘s short four seasons and are left wanting more.
Luckily, within the past few years (and even long before Black Mirror was created), the sci-fi genre has become more popular and accessible. There are a whole host of shows similar to Black Mirror that you can get into next. Here are some to put on your list:
16. The Twilight Zone
This show is an obvious one. Ahead of its time, The Twilight Zone has inspired dozens of sci-fi television shows, movies, and books. The anthology, single-story style like The Twilight Zone‘s is what helps give Black Mirror its storytelling edge. In a short hour, the viewer goes on a suspenseful, terrifying journey. Not anyone can package up so much plot and twists in a limited time. What’s more impressive is The Twilight Zone did this in less than 30 minutes without sacrificing the core story.
Deliciously dark with a comedic edge, the Fargo television series (based on the critically acclaimed 1996 film) is chock-full of suspenseful storytelling and superb performances. Each season is its own contained story with new characters and actors each time. At the core is murder, mystery, surprises, and characters so well developed and performed that you become invested in their survival.
14. Orphan Black
Orphan Black has the mystery and technological sci-fi that propels Black Mirror, but it’s slightly less terrifying. Sure, it has its heart-stopping moments, but you don’t end every episode with existential dread.
Bonus! Just as good as the series’ sci-fi plot are the characters. Most are the extremely different clones played by Tatiana Maslany, but there are also superb supporting characters like Felix, Mrs. S and Delphine. Each episode reveals a new answer, or a new question, to the hundreds of questions the viewer has throughout the series.
Just as mind bend-y and futuristic as Black Mirror, Westworld tackles the moral dilemma of artificial intelligence, like many Black Mirror episodes do. The show has two main settings: Westworld itself, a futuristic theme park for adults to live out their twisted desires. Then there’s the behind the scenes of it all — the engineers and creators behind the park and the AI “hosts.” To truly get into the show, we recommend going into it knowing as little as possible.
12. Dark Net
This Showtime docuseries is like Black Mirror IRL. The name is taken from “dark web,” which is what a particular area of the Internet has been dubbed. It’s an area that requires separate software to enter and contains sensitive or illegal content. Dark Net looks into real-life dark web cases, including biohacking, child pornography crackdowns, online cults and more.
Terrorism, government conspiracies and the paranormal are all part of this British horror series on Netflix. The show stars Natalia Tena of Game of Thrones as a photojournalist who is suddenly wrapped up in paranormal events following a nightclub explosion. Another GOT veteran, Iwan Rheon, plays Natalia’s boyfriend in the series. The three-episode first season is available for streaming and recently, a second ten-episode season has been confirmed.
Humans dives into what our world would be like if we shared it with lifelike artificially intelligent beings. There are two character groups in the series: humans and synths. As you can probably conclude, the synths are the lifelike AIs. The show takes a close look at the relationships between the humans and synths and makes us wonder what it would actually be like to share life with real robots.
9. Dead Set
If you’re a real Black Mirror fan, you absolutely have to watch Dead Set. (That’s if you haven’t already.) The series comes from Black Mirror creator Charlie Brooker and is more monster/horror than sci-fi/tech horror. The setting is in a Big Brother-type house during a zombie outbreak. The cast members and crew are stranded inside the house for safety, doing whatever they can to survive.
8. The Handmaid’s Tale
If you’re a woman, The Handmaid’s Tale is more terrifying than any Black Mirror episode out there. That’s because the show is so nuanced and details how easy it is for society to fall into a backward, sexist regime. Despite the source material being written in the 1980s, the themes in The Handmaid’s Tale seem more relevant than ever. The show may be bleak, but there are snippets of hope and resistance throughout, incredible imagery and cinematography and the cast is absolutely impeccable.
7. Inside No. 9
Unlike Black Mirror, Inside No. 9 has a more comedic element to it. Don’t worry, though. There’s still the anthology format, gothic setting and dark subject matter that give it an edge. There are also plenty of twists and surprises that make the show more than just a dark comedy. It’s truly a genre-bending series that’s deeply creative. Currently, Inside No. 9 has three seasons, with a fourth debuting this year.
6. American Horror Story
American Horror Story has been going strong since it first premiered in 2011. Each season is a new set of characters in a new setting, but with familiar faces. Sarah Paulson, Jessica Lange, Evan Peters, Taissa Farmiga, Angela Basset, Emma Roberts and more return for many anthologies, each just as quirky and frightening as the next. If you want a little more humor and camp in your American Horror Story, we recommend Scream Queens, Ryan Murphy’s short-lived college horror series.
5. The Returned
What would you do if loved ones who have been dead for years suddenly appear back in your life? That’s the premise of The Returned, which only got one season before it was canceled, despite mainly positive reviews. However, you can watch even more seasons of the original French version of the show. The Returned is a great psychological look at the people who get their loved ones back and the loved ones who appear with no knowledge that they were gone at all.
4. The Outer Limits
Just like The Twilight Zone, The Outer Limits is a classic that is required watching for any sci-fi fan. Where The Twilight Zone had more supernatural elements to it, The Outer Limits was strictly sci-fi and had plots that revolved around space elements, including alien interactions and abductions. The series was revived in 1995, which was 30 years after its original debut. Old or new episodes, the choice is up to you.
3. Unsolved Mysteries
THIS was the shit you stayed up for as a kid. Cowering under blankets, watching Robert Stack narrate a handful of genuinely haunting true stories — that was the stuff. Many episodes were fascinating, while others were so scary they gave you nightmares. If you can handle the cheesy reenactments and video quality, Unsolved Mysteries not only brings back that good ol’ nostalgia but leaves you with that creepy feeling when there are no answers to these true mysteries.
2. Mr. Robot
Think of Mr. Robot as the tech-version of Robin Hood. In it, Elliot Anderson is a security engineer that has been recruited to take down one of the biggest (and most corrupt) corporations in the world. The show not only tackles cybersecurity and vigilante justice but does a top-notch job of portraying mental illness. Elliot, played by Rami Malek, struggles with social anxiety, dissociative identity disorder, and clinical depression. The result is a complex character that represents mental health in a real way.
1. How TV Ruined Your Life
Our last entry is another Charlie Brooker creation. Hey, you can’t fully appreciate Black Mirror until you get into the mind of its creator. A little lighter than his other works, How TV Ruined Your Life is a show that mixes humor with pop-culture criticism. It has sketches, fake news broadcasts and Charlie Brooker reacting to what he’s seeing on TV. It’s a little weird, a little high concept, and very Charlie Brooker.