Episode 1, "The National Anthem," is a real point of contention. Those who love it go on with the show; those who hate it may refuse to continue. Black Mirror's non serial format works in its favor. Every episode is a one off with a fresh cast and can be watched selectively, out of order. Don't care to know if the prime minister will engage in televised bestiality to save a beloved kidnapped royal? By all means, skip ahead!
"Fifteen Million Merits" is overtly abstract in set-up and execution. While other stories make an effort to ground themselves in some sort of palpable reality, its staged theatrical feel is stark, unapologetic, and reads like a visual thesis. There's nothing familiar for the viewer to latch on to, yet it remains fascinating if for no other reason than a small, but pivotal prop called compliance in a juice box. It's so damn clever.
"The Waldo Moment" spouts another tech-centric storyline, but is the weakest of the bunch, pissing away its potential on lacking character arcs of an all around despicable lot of people. The nature of politics is so dirty it can even turn a goofy cartoon bear into a flaming arsehole with a thirst for blood and world domination.
The top prize, however, goes to "White Bear" where every element of production converges to create a magnificent atmosphere of chaos. The key here is the point of view. There are two groups of audiences present: we - the viewers, and the strange voyeuristic mob within the narrative. We are made to identify with someone who may or may not deserve our sympathy, but after the reveal, it's nearly impossible to shift our focus back to 'proper' identification. The audience manipulation is truly brilliant.
The first 2 seasons are available on Netflix (a dream layout for those with commitment issues to seemingly never ending seasons with double digit episode counts.) Season 3 debuted in December 2014 and is currently airing on Channel 4.