“I’d say it was a trainwreck and a shitshow, but that would be unfair to trains and shit,” concludes the trailer for Charlie Brooker and Annabel Jones’ forthcoming mockumentary, Death to 2020, which tells “the definitive story of the most historic year in history”.
The Black Mirror creators have teamed up with Netflix on “the cathartic comedy event you’ll never forget about the year you really, really don’t want to remember”. The one-off special stars Hugh Grant as a history professor, Samuel L. Jackson as a reporter, Lisa Kudrow as a non-official spokesperson, Kumail Nanjiani as the CEO of a company called Shreekr, Tracey Ullman as Queen Elizabeth II, Samson Kayo as a scientist, Diane Morgan as an “average citizen”, Leslie Jones as a behavioural psychologist, Cristin Milioti as a “soccer mom”, Joe Keery as a “gig economy millennial”, and Laurence Fishburne as the narrator.
The trailer is the first proper glimpse at the mockumentary, which was teased earlier this month. It opens with a montage of clips referencing events from the year, including the Black Lives Matter protests, the US presidential election, and, of course, the coronavirus pandemic. It introduces a cast of “experts, politicos, monarchs, and average citizens”, who will share their stories from 2020.
“Those who only know me through Black Mirror may not realise that when not writing speculative sci-fi about people frowning at smartphones, I’ve spent years making comedy shows in the UK, including many topical comedy specials,” Brooker said in a press release. “So to me, Death to 2020 feels like the collision of several different strands.”
“The approach for this is quite different to most of the topical comedy I’ve done in the past,” he continued. “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 loneliness 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.”
“Death to 2020 features fictional characters discussing real events in a bombastic mockumentary, but quite a bit sillier than that makes it sound. 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.”
Jones added: “This highly unusual year has been dominated by huge global stories affecting everyone’s lives. These form the structure of the show, and we have added a few surprises along the way.”
Death to 2020 premieres on Netflix on December 27. Get your first look at the mockumentary via the gallery and trailer above.