January 2, 2019
I Binge Watched Black Mirror for 15 Hours Straight and This Is What Happened

Would you dare to binge watch Black Mirror? Like others before me, I too was attracted by the prospects of an experiment, and a Black Mirror binge watching experiment nonetheless. You know, for science. Unlike others before me, I wanted to go hard or go home. So I chose to watch Black Mirror for 15 hours.

I ignored every warning I found online that Black Mirror is not a binge watchable show, and I started planning my experiment.

I documented everything in writing, images, and video, and decided to post it on the internet, because why not? Below, I ramble about my thoughts and feelings while binge watching, as well as my impressions now that a couple of days have passed.

Let’s start with a brief video of the 15 hours summed up. Behold my poor editing skills!

Here’s Some Things You Should Know

  • Why Black Mirror? Because I had only just watched the first season, and because the fifth season is due to be released soon.
  • I started with season two because I didn’t want to watch the first three episodes again, and because conveniently, the other 3 seasons amount for exactly 15 hours.
  • I was pretty knackered when I started my Black Mirror binge watching experiment, having just returned from a packed trip to London, so getting into the rhythm of things was a bit difficult.
  • I was fully aware before starting that Black Mirror might not be the wisest choice, but I wanted to really test myself, and I was overall surprised by the results.
  • I did a little bit of research on other people who have binge watched before. Did you know the record for the most hours spent binge watching was set by Alejandro “AJ” Fragoso? Or that Chris Bailey from A Life of Productivity binge watched a ton of Netflix for a full month?
  • Best time to binge watch? When you can dedicate your full attention to the show, without worrying about other things you need to do. Depending on how much time you want to spend binge watching, you might need a full day to do it, so the weekend is your safest bet.
  • A little disclaimer: this article, as well as the video attached, are created for entertainment purposes only. I do not encourage people binge watching for 15 hours or snacking on as many things as I did in this clip for that matter. If you choose to do so, do it responsibly! Now that I got the boring things out of the way, let’s give you what you came for, a Black Mirror binge watching experiment!

Binge Watching Alone for 15 Hours: A Timeline

  • 9 AM – So it begins.
  • 10 AM – My spirit might be a bit down, but my body is handling it well.
  • 11 AM – I take that back, my neck hurts as much as my heart aches for the characters in this episode.
  • 12 PM – Getting slightly hungry. No worries, the mountain of snacks beside me awaits.
  • 1 PM – 4 hours in and it feels like I could go on forever. I wonder what that says about my TV watching habits
  • 2 PM – Cats are active for two seconds. Not gonna lie, I jumped a bit.
  • 3  PM – It’s already starting to get dark outside. Fucking winter.
  • 4  PM – Oh well, I guess not all episodes can be great.
  • 5 PM – Already dark out. I’m starting to find all electronics in the house suspicious.
  • 6 PM – Looking out the window at a light coming from the apartment across the street. Wondering what they are doing. Are they also contemplating the cruel fate of humanity?
  • 7 PM – I hear talking from the neighbor upstairs. Other people have lives. Cool.
  • 8 PM – “An eternal waking nightmare from which there’s no escape.” Sounds like my life right now.
  • 9 PM – Had to turn on the light in the bathroom without actually walking in first.
  • 10 PM – The light outside just turned off. I am now alone in the world.
  • 11 PM – Noise heard in the hallway. My logical self: it’s just the cats playing. My paranoid self: So this is how we die. Huh.
  • 12 PM – Can you take baths in coffee?

Before and after the binge watching

Let’s Work Our Way Back from My Conclusions

Overall, this Black Mirror binge watching experiment was much more of a success than I initially thought it would be. If it were up to me, I would have stopped at the 10 hour mark, which is still A LOT of time to watch TV without a break.

I guess what I mean is that I’ve tested my limits and realized that I am mentally stronger than I imagined. However, the last 5 hours were quite the struggle, especially toward the end, where for a moment, I actually considered stopping before the 15 hours were up.

But let’s not get ahead of ourselves and start by talking a little bit about what the episodes made me feel.

Having All of the Feels

What I’ve noticed about Black Mirror episodes is that they don’t make me feel particularly sad, emotional, or like I want to cry my eyes out. They make me feel empty inside. Dramatic, I know.

If one episode is an interesting but albeit challenging thing to watch, and it makes you think about important stuff, more than one starts to pile up on your brain, making it difficult not to hate all of humanity.

Humans Are Shitty

Which brings me to my next point. I know everybody talks about Black Mirror as this show about what technology can do to us, but let me just say, all it made me feel is that humans are the fucking worst.

There’s just so much a person can hear about how shitty the human kind is in one day, to be fair. It’s not about technology, it’s about technology in the hands of entitled, power-hungry, ungrateful bastards.

What I Love About Black Mirror

Not every episode managed to capture my full attention, and in some instances, I used that time to text, browse Instagram, and generally be on my phone.

That said, one of the most fascinating things about the show, in my opinion, is that every episode has at least one moment, be it at the beginning, middle, or very end, that manages to hook me back in when I lose my focus.

Except for the penultimate one, Metalhead, that one just sucks.

Too Much Information, Too Little Time

There is a lot of information that needs to be assimilated in this show, which is why I do not recommend it for binge watching. I managed to pay attention to most episodes properly, but I’m sure I would have enjoyed them more if I had watched them one at a time.

Upon hitting the 10 hour mark, my brain was protesting my Black Mirror binge watching experiment hard. Even if my brain was tired, I was having mixed feelings about the show. Why? Because I was also really enjoying it.

Proudly wearing my Hermione socks while my cat does…something

Psychological Effects of Binge Watching I’ve Experienced

The show is right up my alley (which is why I chose it in the first place), and the episodes are undeniably good (some more than others, of course). However, it is not a show I recommend to the faint of heart.

Even I, used as I am to creepy, disturbing shows, started getting anxiety around the 11th hour of watching the show.

I tried watching with the light turned off, but that made me too uncomfortable. Any noise around me seemed like a threatening one, and I was looking right and left too often for comfort.

Physiological Effects of Binge Watching I’ve Experienced

The feelings I was experiencing were quite visceral. I was sweating a bit and felt unable, at times, to keep looking at the screen. The psychological discomfort was starting to settle in, and the episodes were starting to break me.

Perhaps due to the amount of episodes I had already watched, the episode with the young woman killing all those people to cover for her initial crime really messed with my brain.

I tried to distract myself with some chocolate and beer (glorious combination) to feel better, and it worked for a bit.

The End Is Nigh

With two hours left of my intense Black Mirror binge watching experiment, my notes became more erratic. In fact, I didn’t feel like recording or taking notes anymore. Because I don’t like to feel like a quitter, I kept watching and recording.

However, I also did things like look at my phone, browse my laptop for a bit, and focus on other things that were not the show. When Metalhead hit, it felt like a blessing, since it was really not that interesting or impactful for me.

Random Thoughts I Had While Binge Watching Black Mirror

  • Waldo is basically Trump.
  • That moment when you’re recording yourself on your webcam for science and there’s an episode where someone blackmails people with the things their webcam records.
  • My cats sure do sleep a lot.
  • That other moment when you google “black mirror roaches” to make sure this episode doesn’t feature giant cockroaches. It doesn’t – phew.
  • I knew bees would be the end of us.
  • Is this motherfucker cloning his coworker???
  • When your cat stares at a random point in the distance and you die a bit inside.
  • Interesting how in really uncomfortable moments in the show, I end up protecting myself from a screen (laptop) with another screen (phone). This works better if you read it picturing the “that’s deep, bro” meme. Your cooperation is appreciated.
  • The last episode sort of references binge watching. Feels nice to get a shout out.

How I Feel About My Experiment Days Later

Now that I got some distance from the whole experience (I’m editing this 5 days later), I can answer any potentials questions someone curious about my experiment could ask me. Here’s a quick FAQ section for you based on the curiosities my coworkers had about it.

Q1: Do I regret it?

A1: No. It wasn’t easy, I won’t lie, but I think I learned things about myself, my TV watching habits, and what I can mentally and physically stand during this experiment, so I don’t regret it.

Q2: Would I do it again?

A2: I wouldn’t rewatch Black Mirror for sure, and I wouldn’t necessarily want to binge watch shows that are similar (long and with heavy topics), but I will probably keep binge watching shows that are more lighthearted, or binge watch something similar and perhaps even more intense for the sake of another experiment.

Q3: Would I recommend binge watching Black Mirror to anyone?

A3: Honestly, no. If you really want to binge watch this show, I would recommend watching 2 to 3 episodes at most in one sitting.

Netflix urging me to watch another episode

Q4: How did it make me feel to binge watch Black Mirror?

A4: I went through an entire spectrum of emotions while watching, from genuine excitement and interest to dread. At the end of the experiment, i was both physically and mentally tired, as well as quite anxious, but that doesn’t mean I didn’t enjoy the episodes in and of themselves.

Q5: Did this experience confirm/refute any of my initial beliefs? Did it change me in any way?

A5: It did confirm the belief that if you really want to enjoy the episodes, you should watch them one at a time and take the necessary time to process them individually before moving on to the next.

While it didn’t change me in any meaningful, life-altering way, it did change the way I look at binge watching. While the immediate effects on my body were easier to ignore, those it had on my brain weren’t quite as easy to shake off.

Q6: What was your favorite and least favorite episode and why?

A6: It’s easier to pick the least favorite one, which was Metalhead, because as I mentioned earlier, I just didn’t connect with the story and the style.

As for my favorite episode, it’s quite hard to pick, since I liked many of them. It would have to be a close tie between San Junipero and Crocodile.

San Junipero because I absolutely loved the idea of Heaven as a place on Earth, and Crocodile because it nearly broke me and convinced me to quit watching altogether, and I admire the narrative instruments with which it managed to do that.

Q7: Why? Just why?

A7: Because I thought there must be other people out there who have considered binge watching Black Mirror, and I wanted them to know what they’re in for before doing it. Also, because who wouldn’t want to spend an entire day watching TV as part of their job duties?

So, What Did I Find Binge Watching Black Mirror?

I found that I can handle a lot of creepy, disturbing, information-packed episodes of the same show in one sitting, and I was quite proud of myself for that, not gonna lie.

However, I also found that watching too many such episodes gives me anxiety, especially when doing it alone, and that maybe I should have brought a friend along (making a mental note of that for next time).

Sitting for 15 hours wasn’t that big of a challenge for me, since I have an office job and spend most of my time sitting down. The psychological effects were much more intense than the physical ones, at least in the short run.

My advice to you, if you want to binge watch Black Mirror, or any other show for that matter, is to stop at the smallest sign of discomfort (both physical and mental). Other than that, just binge watch responsibly, make sure you eat, drink, occasionally stand up, and enjoy the experience.

I want to hear what you thought of my Black Mirror binge watching experiment down below. What shows do you usually binge watch? Have you ever binge watched Black Mirror? Tell me everything!

About the Author: Andreea Voicu

If you were to look for me most days of the week, you would find me either in front of my laptop watching TV shows, or reading a book with my cats beside me.

I enjoy keeping up-to-date with TV shows and movies that strive to provide positive and accurate representations of different aspects of society and groups of people. Moreover, I am a geek at heart when it comes to franchises like Harry Potter and Star Wars. If you think I own too many Harry Potter bits and bobs, you’re definitely right.

Get to know me better!



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