"The Waldo Moment," Black Mirror. (Image: Netflix)

Between the farce of the 2016 U.S. presidential elections, and that time the prime minister of England supposedly had sex with a pig, Charlie Brooker’s Black Mirror has earned a reputation for being weirdly prescient, no matter how bleak its sci-fi dystopias get. But while Brooker acknowledges that reality seems bound and determined to turn his worst nightmares into mainstream news, he’s made it clear that if the fourth season of his Netflix horror anthology starts coming true, “the world is really fucked,” before adding, “Well, the world is really fucked, so we’ll see.”

He went on to talk in detail about Black Mirror’s second season episode “The Waldo Moment,” in which a loudmouthed cartoon gains a shocking amount of political power by attacking career politicians and positioning himself as an iconoclastic outsider. (Our review at the time panned the episode’s depiction of the staying power of “angry apathy” as unrealistic. Whoops!) On that occasion, political reality actually managed to beat Brooker’s pessimism: “In our episode Waldo comes second I think, or third. But he doesn’t win. I was worried that Donald Trump was going to win partly based on the number of people going, ‘He’s got no chance’.”

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We‘d caution Brooker against daring the universe to keep on meeting his worst expectations, but it sounds like reality is already doing that for us. During his Radio Times interview about the show—which returns some time later this year—he noted that at least one scientific discovery recently gave him pause. “Weirdly there was one news story I read the other day that I thought ‘Oh, how does that reflect on an episode we’ve already finished shooting?’” he said. “There was some new discovery made. Hopefully not, but then when writing them I never think any of these are going to come true, and then it seems like some of them do.”