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Did you ever accidentally buy a greatest hits album that, instead of having the original songs, has the lead singer of the band just performing the hits without the band? That’s the kind of feeling I have now, as it’s been announced that the bonkers-good British anthology series Black Mirror is in the early stages of being adapted for U.S. audiences. This could be amazing, or it could be like one of a million other failed Americanizations of successful overseas properties. Place your bets.
The news was shared by Cris Abrego and Charlie Corwin, the two CEOs and co-chairman of the recently established Endemol Shine North America, at the Real Screen summit. Corwin made it official that “there is a plan” in place for getting a U.S. edition of Black Mirror in development. He added that creator Charlie Brooker and Endemol U.K.’s Annabel Jones “have really touched on something and I agree — we need more.”
A series that utilizes some of the more intriguing concepts in modern TV, Black Mirror looks to the very near future for its techno-frights, with six episodes (and a Christmas special) exploring the horrors that advancing technology might bring. We’re a country that won’t look up from our mobile devices, which is why the show became such a huge hit here when it hit Netflix some months back, so the show will definitely resonate with U.S. audiences. But “enjoying the shit out of something” and “creating something that people enjoy the shit out of” are two extremely different things.
Take a listen to Brooker talking about the show and his inspirations in the video below:
One of the problems in adapting Black Mirror for U.S. television is the way that U.S. television works, which is usually with a showrunner and a team of writers, sometimes working together and sometimes not. Black Mirror is almost entirely from the mind of Brooker himself, so he’s both the light and the prism here. There are certainly creative minds here in the U.S. who could spin some incredibly crazy stories out of technophobia, but the harder task would be making it all seem like it came from one unique vision. If we’ve learned anything from decade after decade of non-Twilight Zone anthologies, it’s that revolving doors of writers and directors can create huge gaps in quality from one episode to the next.
I guess what I’m really saying is, I give less of a damn about what happens with Black Mirror over here than I do about Charlie Brooker making more episodes in the U.K. That’s all I really want. Or do I? Let me ask this A.I. device and see.