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Why are there only 3 episodes of Black Mirror in Season 5?

Why are there only 3 episodes of Black Mirror in season 5?
Striking Vipers was one of just 3 episodes of Black Mirror in Season 5. Pic credit: Netflix

Black Mirror returned to Netflix on Wednesday but fans only got a chance to see three new episodes of the tech-based horror anthology series. So why are there only three episodes of Black Mirror Season 5?

This is actually not unusual for the Netflix series, as all episodes are close to feature length and this is how they were released before they arrived on Netflix.

Black Mirror began its life on Channel 4, the British public-service free-to-air television network. The first two seasons of the show had only three episodes each.

In 2014, there was a standalone episode titled White Christmas.

Then, when Netflix came into the picture, the streaming giant commissioned 12 more episodes which they chose to split into two seasons. So, Season 3 had six and Season 4 had six, and while that was less than other Netflix originals, the length of the shows equaled out.

Plus, Black Mirror is not a series that someone wants to binge watch for 10 episodes — if they value their sanity.

After Season 4, Netflix commissioned a feature-length Black Mirror film and that ended up being the “choose-your-own-adventure” episode Bandersnatch in 2018.

By 2019, it was time for Season 5 and Black Mirror returned to its original format of just releasing three episodes in a season. Part of this was possibly due to the fact that Bandersnatch took so long to make due to multiple endings and directions the show could take.

THR reported that Netflix wanted the fifth season released in 2019, so there was only time for three episodes — Striking Vipers, Rachel, Jack and Ashley, Too and Smithereens.

Shawn S. Lealos has been a freelance writer for 25 years, starting with magazines and newspapers before moving to the internet. He has been published... read more
Shawn S. Lealos

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