I spent a lot of time thinking and chatting about Black Mirror‘s standalone movie, Bandersnatch, over the holidays. If you haven’t seen it and you care about Black Mirror at all, you should get in front of it post haste, because it’s absolutely and devilishly fascinating. And because The Sopranos is very close to my favorite TV show of all time (I go back and forth at times with Mad Men and, increasingly, the combined Breaking Bad + Better Call Saul universe), this piece was required reading for yours truly. It does a really nice job of parsing out the desire in TV watching for a decisive ending versus the potential for meaning and resonance in ambiguity. On that note, the fact that we’re still discussing The Sopranos at all in 2019 says something about that.
And in case anyone cares: I was totally fine with the way The Sopranos ended. It doesn’t quite rank up their with the greatest TV finales of all time (The Shield, Six Feet Under, Breaking Bad) but I’ve thought about it often over the years and have increasingly admired the choice and what it says about the series as a whole.
And speaking of Black Mirror, I can’t help but get sucked into lists related to stuff I’m really into. Vulture does a great job with these, but in this case I got fired up about the ranking of some episodes (“White Bear” at #16? Come on, guys!)… which is exactly what these lists set out to accomplish.
So, I hereby give you my own personal ranked list of Black Mirror episodes. I hope you enjoy.
Freaking incredible — classic episodes of TV (+ movie*)
1. USS Callister
2. White Christmas
3. Fifteen Million Merits
4. Hang the DJ
7. San Junipero
8. White Bear
9. Be Right Back
10. The Entire History of You
Also excellent, not quite Top 10
12. Hated in the Nation
Really really good in their own right
13. Shut Up and Dance
Pretty good, with some problems
16. The National Anthem
17. Black Museum
18. The Waldo Moment
Could live without
19. Men Against Fire
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