How to watch every ‘Black Mirror’ episode in chronological order (according to Reddit)

Image via Netflix

For those folks missing their annual dose of dark dystopia, we have some good news. It was confirmed in May that Netflix is finally moving forward with a sixth season of smash-hit sci-fi anthology series Black Mirror. As was probably for the best, the show has taken a break during the pandemic era, with its last season consisting of three episodes arriving back in 2019. We don’t know how many to expect in season six yet, but we can say that they will continue to be feature-length.

While we wait for more news on the show’s future, then, let’s turn our attentions to its canon of episodes so far. One of the most fascinating elements of the series is that it’s all set in the same universe. But, if that’s the case, then how does every episode stack together on a single timeline? Analyzing all the clues to determine which installment goes where is a tough job, but Black Mirror fans are nothing if not dedicated and they’ve managed to figure it out.

Explaining the Black Mirror universe

Black-Mirror-British_TV
Image via Netflix

As with most anthology series, each episode of Black Mirror initially appeared to be standalone, but it didn’t take long for easter eggs to mount up that indicated the show was actually set in one overarching universe. This interconnectivity began in season two and, once the series switched to Netflix with season three and its popularity soured, the shared universe aspect was ramped up. Season four’s “Black Museum” well and truly confirmed the shared universe concept, thanks to the callback-filled museum of the title.

The eclectic nature of the series, however, means that it’s difficult to piece together a coherent timeline and neither Netflix nor creator Charlie Brooker have yet to supply one. However, there are repeated concepts, themes, and pieces of tech scattered throughout the seasons that help us establish a Black Mirror chronology.

Every Black Mirror episode in chronological order

Black Mirror Bandersnatch
Image via Netflix

The following is a well-considered ranking of all 23 episodes in the series to date — from the chronological earliest to the latest — that was shared by Redditor FlimsyTemperature on the Black Mirror subreddit and refined based on suggestions from other users. So if you’re looking to watch the series in a unique way, here’s how to approach that:

  • Bandersnatch
  • “The National Anthem”
  • “Shut Up and Dance”
  • “Smithereens”
  • “The Waldo Moment” [Bulk]
  • “Hated in the Nation”
  • “Be Right Back”
  • “Playtest”
  • “Striking Vipers”
  • “Arkangel”
  • “Crocodile”
  • “An Entire History of You”
  • “White Bear”
  • “Rachel, Jack and Ashley Too”
  • “USS Callister”
  • “White Christmas”
  • “San Junipero”
  • “Black Museum”
  • “Hang the DJ”
  • “Nosedive”
  • “Men Against Fire”
  • “The Waldo Moment” [Epilogue]
  • “Fifteen Million Merits”
  • “Metalhead”

To make the timeline more digestible, we’ve gone ahead and split this list into four distinct subdivisions, so keep reading if you want to find out more on why this is the correct Black Mirror timeline.

A Dystopia Begins

Image via Netflix

This first band of episodes have been grouped together because they are all set in a world extremely similar to our own, however they all predict a dark path for society due to our reliance on technology, mob mentality, the corruption of leadership and other factors. Bandersnatch is obviously the earliest chronological episode because it takes place in the 1980s while ‘Hated in the Nation’ has to be last due to its advanced bee drone tech.

  • Bandersnatch
  • “The National Anthem”
  • “Shut Up and Dance”
  • “Smithereens”
  • “The Waldo Moment” [Bulk]
  • “Hated in the Nation”

Technology Advances

Image via Netflix

The second subdivision of episodes are tied together because they feature significant technological advances that put them a bit farther away from our own time. Artificial intelligence is making huge strides in “Be Right Back”, for example, while tech embedded in the body is very much becoming the norm by the point of “Crocodile”.

  • “Be Right Back”
  • “Playtest”
  • “Striking Vipers”
  • “Arkangel”
  • “Crocodile”

A Society Changed

Image via Netflix

This third chunk of episodes, meanwhile, portrays a world that’s being totally transformed by the leaps forward in tech. This is the largest of the four subsections as many episodes share similar devices so are clearly roughly set around the same period. Note: the original Reddit post listed “San Junipero” after “Black Museum” but we have elected to switch their positions due to the latter episode referencing “old people being uploaded to the cloud.”

  • “An Entire History of You”
  • “White Bear”
  • “Rachel, Jack and Ashley Too”
  • “USS Callister”
  • “White Christmas”
  • “San Junipero”
  • “Black Museum”
  • “Hang the DJ”

The End is Nigh

Image via Netflix

In many of the episodes from the third subsection, society’s moral and ethical standpoints were clearly degrading. Well, in this final group of episodes, the world has well and truly morphed into a dystopia and hardly resembles the one we live in anymore. While the majority of “The Waldo Moment” is close to our own reality, the ending skips ahead to a point when the rebellious bear has been co-opted as the mascot of a totalitarian regime. Elsewhere, “Metalhead” must be the last episode on the Black Mirror timeline as it portrays a desolate, post-apocalyptic world.

  • “Nosedive”
  • “Men Against Fire”
  • “The Waldo Moment” [Epilogue]
  • “Fifteen Million Merits”
  • “Metalhead”

All five seasons of Black Mirror are available to stream on Netflix.