TV Highlights

What was on Tuesday 16th December

Black Mirror

Channel 4 - 9pm

Who's in it?

Jon Hamm did his darndest to make us not constantly think "Oh look, it's Don Draper in a British TV show!!!!!" in this festive edition of Black Mirror, alongside Rafe Spall and Oona Chaplin.

In a nutshell

The idea of a Christmas edition of something as dark and twisted as Charlie Brooker's Black Mirror series is a bit peculiar. A Christmas Downton Abbey or Doctor Who, fair enough. But a Christmas Black Mirror? It's like having a festive-themed serial killer drama, or a tinsel-laced dystopian disaster movie. But these days every hit show has to have a Christmas version of itself, and at least they really, REALLY pulled out all the stops for this one.

For one thing, there was the super-awesome coup of casting Jon Hamm in the lead. The Mad Men star owned the screen in a tangled tale that spanned three separate stories, with Hamm himself looking strikingly different throughout (but still exuding unfeasible dollops of charm and charisma). There was also snow, this being a Christmas episode, but this was still Black Mirror, and that mean plenty of disconcerting "what if" scenarios made horribly real – most disturbingly, the idea of being able to "block" people in real life as well as online. That's more chilling than any amount of snow.

What's the verdict?

This was a reminder that Black Mirror is one of the most ambitious and thrillingly intelligent dramas on the box. And having the star power of Hamm and Spall only made it more engrossing. Unlike overcooked sprouts, this is one festive tradition we can get behind.

Star rating: 5/5

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07-07-2011