Black Mirror is built around modern technology and our obsessions. Episodes focus on the things that are dividing us from humanity or obsessing us. These obsessions invariably destroy the characters in the stories in some way and show us the worst case scenarios that our obsessions could lead to. But what if Black Mirror had existed in the past? What are the stories that would have been told and what are the things that would have controlled us and held our interests hostage?

1. Morse Code

Black Mirror 1836

Lord Alfred and Lady Joanna are married in the spring and begin a life of marital bliss. However, Lord Alfred is always tinkering with his newfangled Morse code machine. Forever he is dotting and dashing away. At the dinner table, during parties, between sets of tennis, even in the marital bed when he believes Lady Joanna to be asleep. Lady Joanna is at her wit’s end and one night they fight about it. It’s all dot this and dash that, yells Joanna. And Lord Alfred, in a fit of rage, and after one of the servants has dressed him in his driving gear, storms from the house to have a drive and clear his head.

Oh, poor Lady Joanna. Within hours the police arrive. An accident. No survivors. Black melancholy falls upon the home for weeks until a young scientist arrives at the door. He offers Lady Joanna a way to speak to her dear, late husband. Lord Alfred used his Morse code machine so much that science can now make it seem as though he is not gone at all. Lady Joanna agrees, anything to bring her Alfie back. The scientist powers up the Morse code machine and it begins. Dash, dot, dash. Lady Joanna exclaims, that’s him, I’d know those dashes anywhere. And as the weeks pass Joanna is content with her Morse code husband. Until one night, thieves break into the house and take jewelry, money, and the precious Morse code machine. Awaking the next morning Joanna cannot find her husband. She calls for the servants. She shouts at them but all they hear is dots and dashes. She shakes them and demands they find her husband but they do not understand. She runs into the rain and screams into the sky: Dot, dot, dot, dash, dash, dash, dot, dot, dot, dash, dash, dash.

2. Guillotine

Black Mirror 1793
The National Razor

M. and Mlle Dauphin ate their breakfast and read the paper. M. Dauphin chopped the top off of his boiled egg with a mini guillotine his wife had bought him for Bastille Day and all was right in the world. From the study there came an almighty crash. M. and Mlle went to look and saw their son, Francois, standing next to the remains of their tall grandfather clock, which now lay on its front, its frontispiece smashed and it’s ticking silenced. Francois apologised profusely and begged for a second chance but Mlle Dauphin reminded him that he had already had multiple second chances in the past and this was a transgression too far. They marched Francois out to the back patio where the family guillotine stood. A servant played a drum and another brought a stool so that the child would fit in the stocks. The child, a true child of the Revolution, knew that what happened next was in the best interests of the nation and climbed onto the scaffold without aid. He sang two verses of the La Marseillaise and then put himself in the stocks and waited for the servant to drop the blade. Mlle Dauphin dipped her handkerchief in a pool of the boy’s blood, and added it to her collection.

3. Theatre

Black Mirror 1599
The Play’s the Thing

It was murder most foul he did commit.
In the dead hour of night, evil were his deeds.
The baker’s son’s throat with knife he did slit.
Quickly caught was he and planted were seeds
of revenge most fitting of crime so wrong.
A play, each night, would prisoner perform.
A play of horrors, murders, verse and song.
On and on he would play, in sun and storm.
The show would go on, in health and sickness.
When the villain fell, he was dragged up.
When he wept, the watchers called him dickless.
He was fed bread and wine, a single cup.
He had a wife, but could not be near her.
And his sole possession was a black mirror.

5. Fire

Black Mirror 2,000,000 BC
The Unfortunate Tragedy of Ug

Ug’s tribe make fire. Fire hot. Fire dances. Fire entertaining. Ug stare at fire. Ug no listen to tribe. Ug say yes but Ug no really listen. Ug no hunt. Ug eat little. Ug look at fire. Fire dances. Ig say Ug no fire. Ug no listen. Ag say Ug no fire. Ug say Ag ugly. Ag sad. Ag run away. Ag see big teeth cat. Ag no come home. Ug look at fire. Fire dances. Ug happy. Ug face warm. Ug heart hot. Ug sleep. Ug wake up. Ug’s tribe go. Fire stay. Ug no hunt. Ug tired. Ug sleep more. Ug no get wood. Fire little. Ug sleep. Fire sleep. Ug wake up. Fire no wake up. Fire gone. Ug leave cave. Ug see nobody. Ug see big fire in sky. Ug crawl up big mountain. Ug reach. Ug no reach. Ug stand. Ug tired. Ug run. Ug jump off big mountain. Ug reach for fire in sky. Ug no reach.

Featured Image: Netflix