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Black Mirror Season 6 Episode 1 Review: Joan Is Awful


Black Mirror season 6 kicks off with a meta takedown of our streaming-saturated era.

Black Mirror. Annie Murphy as Joan in Black Mirror.
Photo: Nick Wall | Netflix

This article contains spoilers for the Black Mirror episode “Joan Is Awful.”

Black Mirror Season 6 Episode 1

Can a work of art criticize capital while still contributing to its bottom line? That question has become increasingly relevant in the streaming era as uncomfortably huge conglomerates gobble up the entertainment landscape.

Succession follows the saga of Logan Roy’s dumbass children as they compete for the right to run their father’s media empire into the ground … on HBO where current Warner Bros. Discovery management is fumbling the beloved TV brand. The Boys imagines a world where a mega corporation exploits the dark underbelly of superhero fandom to create fascist stew … on Prime Video, the streaming platform of a mega corporation. Now, Black Mirror season 6‘s first episode “Joan Is Awful” depicts a streaming service’s unacceptable intrusion into one woman’s private life … on Netflix.

We’re not the arbiters of all media (as fun as it sounds to be) so we can’t judge the effectiveness of a Black Mirror episode that criticizes Netflix’s insatiable appetite for content while simultaneously streaming on Netflix. What we can say, however, is that Black Mirror creator and this episode’s writer Charlie Brooker isn’t so much biting the hand that feeds so much as he is firmly planting a stick of dynamite in it.

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