Black Mirror vs. Doctor Who: Which is better?
- Created by Sydney Newman, Doctor Who has aired since 2005 on BBC, has 13 seasons (199 episodes), and is about “the further adventures in time and space of the alien adventurer known as the Doctor and their companions from planet earth.”
- Doctor Who’s main cast includes Jodie Whittaker (as the Doctor), Peter Capaldi (as the Doctor), Matt Smith (as the Doctor), and Pearl Mackie (as Bill).
- Black Mirror was created by Charlie Brooker, has aired since 2011 on Zeppotron and later Netflix, has five seasons (22 episodes), and is “an anthology series exploring a twisted, high-tech multiverse where humanity’s greatest innovations and darkest instincts collide.”
- Black Mirror stars Daniel Lapaine (as Dawson and Max), Hannah John-Kamen (as Sonja and Selma Telse), Michaela Coel (as Shania and airport stewardess), and Charles Babalola (as Tusk).
- Jodie Whittaker was the first woman to star as the Doctor on Doctor Who in 2017.
- Black Mirror formerly featured mostly British actors but transitioned to American actors after Netflix took over production.
Maha (Black Mirror)
One of the biggest reasons for its popularity is its dedication to testing new limits, especially through its plots. While the show focuses on the downside of technology, there's an equal focus on human behaviors.
For instance, 'Nosedive' highlights people's growing obsession with their own images to stand out on social media and in real life. Similarly, according to Entertainment Weekly, the best episode of season one is 'The Entire History of You' as it flawlessly combines tech innovation with domestic drama.
Black Mirror is also intriguing as it made several predictions that turned into reality. Its first episode, 'National Anthem,' depicted the Prime Minister performing an intimate act with a pig. A few years later, rumors of David Cameron doing something similar made headlines. Complementing the plot is the storytelling technique. 'Bandersnatch' delivered an interactive experience to viewers. In addition to making choices for the main lead, they can converse with him at one point in the episode.
Black Mirror's structure also adds to its appeal. As an anthology show, it delivers a cross between TV and movies. This format has become quite popular over the recent years, especially since viewers can watch a whole season in one weekend. That too, and in any order without referring to 850+ episodes, as is the case with Doctor Who.
Finally, with shows such as Electric Dreams and Westworld trying to replicate its success, Black Mirror is doing something right. And since seeing is believing, maybe watching an episode or two of this show can prove why it wins this comparison.
Zoe (Doctor Who)
Doctor Who is a better viewing experience than Black Mirror for a multitude of reasons. For one, Doctor Who has a much bigger scope. With the aid of time travel, the Doctor has encountered aliens, robots, and every time period of human history. In contrast, Black Mirror has a distinct focus on technology in the near future. This smaller scope and its commitment to realism make it impactful yet less imaginative.
Doctor Who also has a strong cast of characters. Although most of the characters rotate in and out of the plot intermittently (with the exception of the Doctor), they are given meaningful development and arcs. This allows for the audience to become attached, to either love the characters or loathe them. On the other hand, Black Mirror has, for the most part, new casts of characters in every episode. This makes it more difficult to develop strong feelings about characters, as they are not given the opportunity to develop over multiple episodes or seasons.
Finally, Doctor Who has a sense of optimism that Black Mirror lacks, which makes it a better viewing experience. As the Doctor says himself, 'I am, and always will be, the optimist. The hoper of far-flung hopes and the dreamer of improbable dreams.' The Doctor's sense of wonder is infectious. Having literally two hearts, the Doctor's main goal is always to help those in need, whether it's saving a companion or showing Van Gogh his impact on the world. Compared to this, Black Mirror's fear-based narratives feel somewhat one-dimensional. While both shows are undeniably thought-provoking, Doctor Who leaves the viewer hopeful for the future.