Black Mirror Season 4 released last week to an encouraging response. One particular episode that is being hailed as the season's standout is USS Callister. In fact, people are already rooting for a potential spinoff series inspired by the twisted space drama.
Written by Black Mirror creator Charlie Brooker and William Bridges, directed by Toby Haynes and starring Jesse Plemons, Cristin Milioti, Jimmi Simpson and Michaela Coel, USS Callister follows Robert Daly (Plemons) – a gifted programmer and co-founder of a popular massive multiplayer online game who is disgruntled over the lack of respect he's given in the workplace.
To take out his anger, he creates a Star Trek-inspired world within the game using his co-workers’ DNA, including his business partner James Walton (Simpson), new employee Nanette Cole (Milioti), employee Shania Lowry (Coel), programmer Dudani (Paul Raymond), receptionist Elena (Milanka Brooks) and intern Nate Packer (Osy Ikhile) to create digital clones of them.
In a new interview with The Hollywood Reporter, episode director Haynes spoke about a potential spinoff series of USS Callister.
"I was talking with Louise Sutton, who produced this and Metalhead, and she cooked up a brilliant idea of spinning it off into a TV series. I'd love to do a TV series of USS Callister — it’s probably one of the best pilots for a space show, ever. And I made it! So I’m keen to see it as a TV series."
"I think Charlie might revisit it as a Black Mirror. Whether I’m the one to do it, I don’t know. Being a fan of the show as much as I am, and being a part of making it, I’d love to work with that crew and cast again. It’s a gift for a director."
Apart from its stylish treatment and interesting storyline, the episode very subtly addresses issues such as sexual harassment at the workplace, criticism of classic science-fiction tropes, racism and even possibly a critique of the current US president (notice the hair?).
The show's creator and USS Callister co-writer Charlie Brooker spoke about the social and political references in the episode, during an interview with Entertainment Weekly saying:
"It was written in November last year, so certainly when we came to film it in January 2017, it was around the time of the inauguration. There was a certain mood among a lot of the cast that we were dealing with a new regime coming in. That’s an aspect of it."
"It’s not where the idea came from. But as soon as you get into the workplace stuff, forcing people [into the virtual prison] for what he perceives as slights in the workplace, that then gets to a whole other level of stuff."
"So often with our episodes, really, there’s not a central message or certain thing we’re trying to evoke, but it comes out alongside of that. Certainly, a lot of those things resonate in that episode, but it’s not directly about any one of those things. Really 'USS Callister' is about someone who is wielding absolute power who shouldn’t be, and people overthrowing him."
Watch the trailer of the episode here.
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