Netflix has released the first trailer for their upcoming Death to 2020 mockumentary from Black Mirror creators Charlie Brooker and Annabel Jones. In addition, the streaming service has announced that it will be available to stream starting on December 27th. Before producing Black Mirror, Brooker had done several end-of-year topical comedy specials for the BBC, which were based on his Weekly Wipe series. He did this until 2016, before setting up Antiviral Wipe earlier this year. As 2020 started to unfold, Brooker saw making Death to 2020 as something completely different from what he’s done in the past. Brooker had this to say about his comedic background.
“Those who only know me through Black Mirror may not realize that when not writing speculative sci-fi about people frowning at smartphones, I’ve spent years making comedy shows in the U.K. – including many topical comedy specials. So to me, Death to 2020 feels like the collision of several different strands. (Do strands ‘collide’? No. Apologies.) But the approach for this is quite different to most of the topical comedy I’ve done in the past. For one thing, I’m not on screen presenting it – a relief for anyone watching in 4K – and it’s more character-based. In the loneliest year on record, I got to work (remotely) with writers and team members from my previous comedies, as well as many sickeningly talented people who were new to me.”
As for characters, Death to 2020 features a lot of them. Samuel L. Jackson plays Dash Bracket, who is a reporter the New Yorkerly News, Hugh Grant plays Tennyson Foss, professor of history, Kumail Nanjiani is Bark Multiverse, CEO, Shreekr, Tracey Ullman plays Queen Elizabeth II, while Samson Kayo is Pyrex Flask, a scientist. Friends star Lisa Kudrow plays Jeanetta Grace Susan, who is a non-official spokesperson, Diane Morgan plays Gemma Nerrick, an average citizen, Leslie Jones plays Dr. Maggie Gravel, a behavioral psychologist, and Cristin Milioti is Kathy Flowers, who is a soccer mom). Elsewhere, Stranger Things star Joe Keery plays Duke Goolies, who is gig economy millennial and Laurence Fishburne is the mockumentary narrator.
Charlie Brooker went on to note that Death to 2020 features fictional characters discussing real events in a the bombastic mockumentary. And while 2020 has been a difficult year for just about everybody, Brooker says that his mockumentary is good and “silly.” You can read what else Brooker had to say about Death to 2020 and the attitude behind it below.
“It felt like an apt format for Netflix, which is known for high-end documentaries, but also like a good opportunity to create a different kind of comedy special that deals with the year head-on while also showcasing some brilliant performers. I don’t love the word ‘satire,’ but there’s some of that here, alongside some angry jokes, and some goofy jokes. And hopefully, viewers will find at least one joke to their liking – because let’s face it, in 2020, any laugh you can emit, no matter how fleeting, is a small but precious victory.”
Even in the brief trailer for Death to 2020, there are some decent laughs to be had. We even get a timely Quibi joke. Annabel Jones adds, “This year has been unusual in many regards but what’s unified this year is the main stories we focus on – huge global stories, stories that affect the whole world, so we knew what the structure of the show was going to be with quite a few surprises along the way!” Comedian Leslie Jones ends the trailer with a good NSFW joke that a lot of people will more than likely relate to.
Death to 2020 is not going to be like Black Mirror in terms of genre, but the trailer reveals that it is still very much from the minds of Charlie Brooker and Annabel Jones. And now that The Mandalorian is over, we all need something knew to watch. Netflix calls the movie as “the cathartic comedy event you’ll never forget.” You can check out the first Death to 2020 trailer above, thanks to the official Netflix YouTube channel.