Black Mirror episodes ranked

The ultimate ranking of every Black Mirror episode, including season six

Joan Is Pretty Decent


We did it. We did it, Joe. We survived the Black Mirror drought, and not too long ago we got a new batch of some of the most harrowing television we could ever ask for back on Netflix for us to binge. It’s been a whirlwind. After what felt like Black Mirror overload, we’ve not had anything new from Charlie Brooker since before a global pandemic. The world is very different now to what it was pre padampadamic, and it’s going to be fascinating to see how Brooker & Co tell stories in a world so increasingly scary and jarring, when the whole show was meant to depict a slightly distant scary and jarring future? We’re kind of there. In that sense, it’s interesting to look back in retrospect. I’ve been a diehard Black Mirror fan since day one – so here’s all 23 episodes painstakingly ranked. This aged me 100 years, but it’s all gravy, baby.

28. Mazey Day

The absolute pits, and easily the worst Black Mirror episode ever made. I saw a lot of negative IMDb ratings for it before watching and thought it was going to be another Metalhead situation where people just didn’t get its greatness – but no. It’s just a silly little werewolf story. Absolute garbage.

27. The Waldo Moment

It was insufferable then, and it’s somehow even more insufferable now. Quite a feat actually. Just utterly uninspired political commentary. We’re all better than this.

26. Arkangel

An utterly dull exploration of a overly cautious parenting and how the use of technology in monitoring your child can have dangerous consequences. Well, no shit. So boring it’s beyond belief, even though Jodie Foster took the helm on direction.

25. Smithereens

Black Mirror episodes ranked

Honestly just feels like you’re sat with your mum watching an ITV drama at 9pm.

24. Rachel, Jack and Ashley Too

Black Mirror episodes ranked

Objectively the worst Black Mirror episode ever made, but if you think I’m putting an episode with Miley Cyrus in that gave us the absolute 10/10 rammer of a bop that is On a Roll last then you, my friend, are deluded.

23. Playtest

Black Mirror episodes ranked

As a gamer and a horror fan, in essence I think there should be a lot for me to love in Playtest. Its exploration into the horror of VR and augmentation just never really take flight in the way they should, and a few too many takeouts and twists leave it a bit lacking despite the excellent Dan Trachtenberg directing.

22. Black Museum

Black Mirror episodes ranked

Black Museum reaches big but misses. Dark, twisted, gory and sadomasochistic – it’s a long and demanding watch that always feels hokey and never rewarding. Letitia Wright is a star as always, but this episode feels like a good idea but an exhausting execution. It’s like, three episodes in one. An anthology in an anthology. Horror is my fave genre but this just isn’t as effective as it thinks it is.

21. Shut Up and Dance

I know everyone loves this one but guys, I assure you it isn’t that good. For one, the concept is just… blackmailing. The whole episode is built around the reveal of the final twist which is so utterly signposted anyone shocked is just a bit thick, I’m sorry to say! You thought he was doing all this just because someone recorded him having a plain ol’ wank?  Get real. On a personal note, I cannot STAND Alex Lawther as an actor. Not his fault or anything, I just have an innate aversion to watching him do anything. It’s a me problem, granted – but it’s my ranking and this episode is shit. I expect most will have this higher in their ranked list of Black Mirror episodes, but it’s rotting near the end for me.

20. Hang the DJ

Black Mirror episodes ranked

An utterly transparent and suitably sickly attempt at recreating the magic of San Junipero, but with none of that episode’s originality or charm. One your mum might like.

19. Men Against Fire

Black Mirror episodes ranked

The first on this list I’d categorise as mostly a success, Men Against Fire works thanks to the horrific nature of its core concept. In the episode, two soldiers with a chip that gives them data who are hunting down and killing mutants. After one of the soldier’s chips malfunctions, he discovers the chip has been showing him ordinary people as mutants so he would kill for the government without remorse. It’s harrowing, and whilst the execution of it all is a bit clunky at times I think on the whole Men Against Fire is a moving entry.

18. Demon 79

A big, bold adventurous tale that debuts the Red Mirror bracket some episodes may be characterised as going forward as the show leans into horror over sci-fi. I wasn’t sure on it at the start, but by the end Demon 79 won me over with the chemistry between its leads, the rich 70s aesthetic and the way it manages to make the ending feel optimistic as the world implodes.

17. Loch Henry

Black Mirror evil characters

Of all the Black Mirror episodes ranked here, it’s Loch Henry that feels sort of difficult to place. This is down to the fact that I really enjoyed it as an hour of telly, but I don’t know how Black Mirror it was. Not that I actually think the show cares about that anymore, but as a fan – I care! Taking it for what it is, it’s an ominously directed dark tale with some great performances and a clearly memorable twist.

16. The Entire History of You

A very well acted simple tale of jealousy wrapped around the in-eye camera technology. An early episode all the way back from season one that feels small in scope but still makes for a satisfying watch – I just think it’s been outshone by bigger ambition in the years that have followed.

15. Be Right Back

As AI rises so prominently in our lives, Be Right Back lingers over it menacingly. Grief, moving on and coming to terms with what we actually want when someone dies are all at play here. It’s one of the saddest episodes and one of the ones that feels a bit too close to home 10 years after it aired.

14. Bandersnatch

Black Mirror episodes ranked

A high concept, ambitious interactive film length stand alone that has viewers choose different paths, meaning nobody watches it the same? Absolutely brilliant in theory, divisive in execution. I loved it, but have never revisited. It’s a great experience different to anything else in the series and dare I say anything else on Netflix. You kind of get out of it what you put in, but so much kudos for the effort this must have taken.

13. Crocodile

Potentially the darkest Black Mirror has ever got, but Crocodile works completely. I actually rewatched it the other night and think it holds up exceptionally well. The episode is anchored by an incredible performance from Andrea Riseborough, an actress I would watch read the phone book. Mia’s cool, logical and harrowing extermination of evidence to preserve her innocence and the lengths of horror that takes her to are BLEAK, but not in a crash, bang, wallop way. In a gorgeously shot, Icelandic setting A24 way. Dark but brilliant.

12. Joan Is Awful

A completely meta episode with twist upon twist, Joan Is Awful is a great start to season six and boots off the series with a camp tone rarely leaned into by Brooker and co. With an all star cast of Salma Hayek, Annie Murphy and Michael Cera, Joan Is Awful feels ambitious and the cast absolutely knock it out of the park and have so much fun with it. Great ending, great concept – and so much fun to make your own storylines in your head about how Streamberry would tweak your own life for telly.

11. Fifteen Million Merits

Unsure why, but when I think of Black Mirror I think of Fifteen Million Merits. The imagery, the concept, the performances – to me, this is like the signature episode of the whole show. Fifteen Million Merits’ dystopia of exercise bikes and The X Factor is bleak, and a bit outdated now 10 years after its debut but an amazing performance from Daniel Kaluuya and an arresting visual style and direction still bring me back to it.

10. Beyond The Sea

Black Mirror episodes ranked

The best season six had to offer, kicking off the top 10 ranked Black Mirror episodes is the ambitious and heartbreaking Beyond The Sea. An alternate 1969 showcases the best of Aaron Paul, Kata Mara and Josh Hartnett with a twisty tale of androids, science, romance, grief and betrayal. The ending is a gut punch even if it feels on the rushed side. Loved it.

9. Hated in the Nation

Black Mirror episodes ranked

A little police procedural detective story that works better than it has any right to. Long in length, thrilling it its storytelling. It centres around mechanical bees that have replaced almost extinct actual bees, and a hacker who uses them to kill the person who gets the most people tweeting #DeathTo them on Twitter. It doesn’t feel particularly grandiose in its idea, but its execution feels scarily harrowing and the final death toll is eye-watering. Quietly brilliant ep, in my opinion.

8. Nosedive

Whilst it doesn’t hit as hard as it did when it debuted, Black Mirror’s pastel score rating menace featuring the downfall of Bryce Dallas Howard is still worthy of a high ranked place amongst Black Mirror episodes. It’s one of the concepts that feels pretty much here and like it’s been here for a long time, but Lacie’s downfall never fails to be a darkly comic and hugely entertaining watch.

7. The National Anthem

Wanna watch Rory Kinnear play a prime minister who has to fuck a pig to save the life of a member of the British royal family? Of course you do! If you want to open your weird, dystopian show, why not start it all off with a concept as delicious as this? Just brilliant, and one that only gets better with age in the wake of Cameron’s Piggate saga. The blackly comic tone, the societal pressure, the far fetched nature that feels at the same time completely like it could happen? Cinema.

6. White Christmas

I don’t see enough conversation about how Black Mirror’s Christmas episode is easily one of its best. An extremely dark story of justice, crime and ethics – with a blocking system that I think about all the time. Not the cheeriest thing to put on at Christmas but a Black Mirror episode that truly puts you through your paces and makes you consider what song would be your personal hell to listen to if every minute of your life felt like 1000 years.

5. White Bear

Black Mirror episodes ranked

One of the most famous of all the Black Mirror episodes ranked here, White Bear is one that you only get to watch once the same way before the twist changes it forever. It’s arguably the best twist in the entire show: The sympathetic character we’ve just gone on this whole journey with is actually all in a simulation and is a horrific child murderer. I would follow the legendary Lenora Crichlow to the end of the earth, and she’s amazing in this. A seminal episode that I feel like a lot of the Netflix era episodes with their twists and shock factor regard as the benchmark.

4. Metalhead

I know people are literally sharpening their pitchforks to come and get me for this top five placement, but I will be defending Metalhead on my death bed. The most underrated out of all the Black Mirror episodes ranked here. Period. A short but stunning blast of apocalyptic sci-fi horror that sees literal legend Maxine Peake facing off against deranged robot dogs out to kill her. It’s all in black and white, a 41 minute blast of adrenaline that deserves acclaim and respect. Put some praise on its name!

3. Striking Vipers

God, this episode! A fascinating exploration of sexuality, infidelity and VR – I love how like all of those things, this episode presents the outcome as “complicated”. Are Danny and Karl gay? It doesn’t matter. They’re doing what they’re doing and they want to keep doing it. I watched this episode jaw agape and I’ve thought about it so much since I first watched it. So many well acted scenes and a really great concept done with a lot of care and good writing.

2. USS Callister

Black Mirror episodes ranked

A hugely entertaining and often harrowing story of sci-fi neediness, abuse of power and sentient digital clones in a massive game fighting for their freedom – USS Callister is wide in scope and ambition and pulls it all off thanks to an astounding cast and a story that just hits the spot in every way. Even writing about it makes me want to rewatch. Jesse Plemons and Michaela Coel together? Inject it.

1. San Junipero

San Junipero is one of those moments of pop culture change and impact that deserves every bit of its hype and acclaim. I truly believe anyone putting this anywhere but the top spot is doing so to be a contrarian. To avoid picking the most beloved episode. Don’t do it, folks. Instead – give San Junipero the love and attention it’s deserved every bit of. A beautiful blast through a queer romance and an exploration of the afterlife and euthanasia. The way it changed the meaning of Belinda Carlisle’s Heaven is a Place on Earth permanently is wild – the song feels written for the episode. A rare moment of euphoria and happy ending in one of the darkest shows on telly, San Junipero is a queer love story for the ages.

For all the latest Netflix news, drops, quizzes and memes like The Holy Church of Netflix on Facebook. 

Related stories recommended by this writer:

Meet Fionn Whitehead: The 21-year-old Surrey boy in Black Mirror’s Bandersnatch

Take this bleak quiz and we’ll tell you which Black Mirror episode reflects your soul

Meet Will Poulter, the Bristol dropout starring in the latest episode of Black Mirror