Few shows bring unsettling, true-to-life premises to life like Black Mirror. The Twilight Zone-esque episodic Sci-Fi series takes current events and trends and stretches them into hour-long episodes that serve as windows into truly unsettling what-if situations. The series has already looked at the ways that technology could affect marriage, war, and politics. But it’s never put parenting under its particular lens — until now, that is.
In the trailer for the fourth season of the Netflix/Channel 4 show, we get a brief preview of an upcoming Jodi Foster-helmed episode called ‘Arkangel.’ It looks to explore the sinister implications of parents using technology to ensure their child is watched over at all times. The episode’s tagline is “The key to good parenting is control,” which hints at parents who are willing to sacrifice too much in order to feel their kid is out of harm’s way. This isn’t your grandfather’s helicopter parenting.
The trailer is only a minute long but it lays out the plot succinctly and effectively. A mother and daughter are living in the future, where the mom has a panic attack when she briefly loses sight of her daughter and she ends up disappearing. This shakes the mother to her core, so she signs her daughter up for a new program called Arkangel that promises parents “security and peace of mind.” Of course, Black Mirror being Black Mirror, things will go horribly awry. There’s always darkness lurking under the surface of the series; now it’s coming for our kids.
Given the way that technology has shaped and changed parenting, it’s not at all surprising that Black Mirror has decided to take a deep dive into what the future of raising children might look like if we are not careful. The show has never been afraid to go incredibly dark in order to illustrate its point, so it will be interesting to see if the show has the same unrestrained bleakness when it comes to parenting. Unfortunately, with no release date announced for the new season, we may have to wait a while to find out.