On Christmas Day, Netflix is releasing the Black Mirror Christmas Special: White Christmas. The episode, which first aired last year in the, U.K. and tells three chilling tales under a single-frame work (Similar to A Christmas Carol’s formula, but with a much more bleak outcome.) Like all Black Mirror stories, “White Christmas” is a cautionary tale of familiar technology tested to its limits by some of humanity’s most complicated and dark behaviors.
In 1841, Charles Dickens was taking one of his long nighttime walks at the Canongate Churchyard in Edinburgh, Scotland, when a particular tombstone caught his eye. He scribbled down “Ebenezer Lennox Scroggie” in his journal, along with the words “mean man,” which he thought he saw carved on the man’s grave.
“Christmas is coming, but I’m not happy. I don’t feel the way that I’m supposed to feel.” – Charlie Brown (Charles Shulz)
Just about everyone feels like that at some point, if not about Christmas, then some other big, stressful event bathed in cultural expectations. For 50 years, A Charlie Brown Christmas has reminded us how to be a human during the holidays, and how to appreciate a small, wilted Christmas tree in a sea of artificial glitz.