Channel 4 already started showing hesitancy about continuing “Black Mirror” since “White Christmas,” the one-off special that premiered in 2014. Months before the premiere, Brooker and Jones had failed to achieve funding from an American production company, and executives told Brooker and Jones on the morning of the press screening that Channel 4 didn’t have the budget to continue the show. Brooker had already pitched ideas for season 3, some of which ended up in “White Christmas” and some of which ended up in the eventual Netflix incarnation, but he revealed to the “Radio Times” that Channel 4 thought that they “weren’t very ‘Black Mirror.'” Instead, the network itched back to Brooker an alternate anthology sci-fi series starring Bryan Cranston entitled “Electric Dreams,” a reference to the works of Philip K. Dick.
Luckily for Brooker and Jones, Netflix had already added “Black Mirror” to its back catalog, meaning the streamer was in a highly strategic position to outbid American competitors AMC, SyFy, and HBO. Furthermore, Netflix didn’t have any qualms about the show’s future storylines and gave Brooker more creative freedom and a larger budget, a stark change from the stingy Channel 4 guidelines. Season 3 was noticeably happier than the cynicism of the previous episodes (the first episode, “Nosedive,” is visually and tonally brighter, while the Emmy-winning “San Junipero” is downright feel-good), which may explain why Channel 4 didn’t deem them worthy follow-ups. It turns out, unsurprisingly, that the concept of “Back Mirror” is much larger than its humble, dark, and British beginnings.