Why Is 'Black Mirror' Season 5 Only 3 Episodes? There's A Perfectly Reasonable Explanation

Netflix

A new Black Mirror season is always cause for excitement (and given its grim storylines, a little bit of requisite dread). But as the last two seasons each contained six episodes, you may be disappointed to discover that Black Mirror Season 5 is only three episodes. However, before you start @ing Charlie Brooker on Twitter to complain, there's a perfectly reasonable explanation for the condensed season.

Though Season 4 was technically released over a year ago, Black Mirror fans were treated to new content in December with the release of interactive film Bandersnatch. With a reported trillion variations to the story, it should come as no surprise that the project was a bit more time-consuming to make than a traditional Black Mirror episode. Brooker told The Hollywood Reporter that creating Bandersnatch was like making four episodes at once and because of that, Season 5 was delayed. And The Independent reported in a June interview that Bandersnatch not only pushed Season 5's release back half a year, but it also cut its episode count from six to three.

This shouldn't be a total shock to longtime fans of the show. Before Black Mirror was on Netflix, it was a Channel 4 show in the UK, and for its first two seasons, there were only three episodes released in weekly installments (plus the Jon Hamm-starring Christmas special). So it's not like a three-episode season is unheard of for Black Mirror; it's just that we've come to expect more.

If you're really craving something more to watch after Black Mirror Season 5, Brooker announced on Twitter that another series he worked on — A Touch of Cloth — has been released in the U.S. on Amazon Prime. The police comedy doesn't sound very Black Mirror-esque, but Brooker wrote six of its episodes and his co-showrunner, Annabel Jones, was an executive producer, so it's from a similar creative team. Plus, just as in Black Mirror, you'll have fun British-actor spotting with Suranne Jones of Gentleman Jack and Karen Gillan of Doctor Who. Besides A Touch of Cloth on Amazon, you can also catch Jones and Brooker's pre-Black Mirror, Big Brother zombie series Dead Set on Netflix.

Along with Black Mirror, other Brooker shows have suffered due to his schedule. Brooker recently told The Independent that his satirical news show Wipe will not have a yearly review in 2019 because he's "too busy." As for if there will be more Black Mirror episodes down the line, Brooker and Jones have been less definitive in their responses. Jones told the New Statesmen, "It would be nice to do more, as there are certainly more ideas," but she didn't confirm a Season 6.

As fans might feel like they've been cheated out of three episodes, there will hopefully be a Season 6 down the line. But if Black Mirror has taught you anything, it should be that it's never a good idea to be too optimistic. So you should take these three episodes in Season 5 and just be happy about them — well, as happy as you can be after watching Black Mirror.