Black Mirror Season 5 was released this week on the international streaming platform Netflix. While many fans were disappointed that season 5 offered only 3 episodes, I personally think that this season, along with their world-first interactive film, ‘Bandersnatch’ (which aired last year) is one of the most progressive TV-show brands out there right now – and season five, in my opinion, far exceeded all expectations.
The first episode of Black Mirror season 5 will move you, in the most uncomfortable way. Not only is episode 1, titled ‘Striking Vipers’ refreshingly progressive with its all African cast but it also explores virtual sexuality and how VR can manifest into and influence a person’s real life – where separating reality from simulation becomes impossible. It’s also worth noting that ‘Striking Vipers’ unapologetically addresses homosexuality in African men which is not very often portrayed on screen and in films at all.
While ‘Striking Viper’ ramped up the season’s intensity, the second episode to follow of Black Mirror 5 is called ‘Rachel, Jack and Ashley too‘. This instalment stars Miley Cyrus as Ashley O, a young pop star struggling with her identity and has her personality cloned and coded into AI devices by her profit-hungry aunt and manager.
While the entire episode is “set” in the USA it was actually shot entirely down here in South Africa. Last year, a few images of Miley surfaced of he exploring the city and it was during that time that Black Mirror was filming, confirming rumours of her role in the series. Much of the South African city was made to appear to be LA/Hollywood in the hour-long show.
We’ve never filmed in America. Every time we’ve had a location that looks like it’s in America, it’s either been South Africa, Canada or Spain. It’s too expensive for us to film in America.” – Black Mirror creator, Charlie Brooker
Miley’s Malibu mansion was filmed in Constantia while it appears that the home belonging to Rachel and Jack is situated in the Northern Suburbs of Cape Town and scenes from Ritman High School were actually shot at the Tygerberg Campus of Stellenbosch University.
This is not the first Black Mirror episode shot in SA – two Season 3 episodes titled ‘San Juniper’ and ‘Nosedive’ were also shot in Cape Town. Take a look at some of the locations below.