Netflix has announced another series into their programming line for the end of 2020 known as Death to 2020. The mockumentary is produced, written, and directed by Charlie Brooker, who is best known for creating the well-known anthology series Black Mirror. It is a mockumentary that shows a random group of people looking back at the hellish year that was 2020. They look back at the important events such as the COVID-19 and the US Presidential Election.
What events does Death to 2020 mention?
It even talks about other important events such as the 2019-20 Australian Bushfire, Greta Thunberg’s environmental speeches at the World Economic Forum, Prince Harry and his wife Meghan Markle stepping down from the British Royal family, and the 2020 Oscars. They even mention the killing of George Floyd and the U.S. protests against racism and inequality and even mention Edward Colston’s removal in Bristol, U.K.
On the coronavirus topic, they talk about the 2020 royal address to the UK citizens, two national lockdowns in England, online circulation of false information, vaccine trials, and the first use of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine outside of the clinical trial. Based on the US Elections, the topics that the characters talk about are Donald Trump’s impeachment, Presidential debates between Biden and Trump, The New York Times reports on Trump’s tax returns, and Biden choosing Kamala Harris as his running mate.
Who is in the cast?
The cast features big names such as Samuel L. Jackson, Hugh Grant, Lisa Kudrow, Leslie Jones, Joe Keery, Kumail Najiani, Tracey Ullman, Cristin Milloti, and Laurence Fishburne.
The special was written by a team of writers in over four months. It was filmed in later November in 10 days in Los Angeles and London. There were minimal crews that were used during the pandemic, with some actors in production bubbles. Each actor filmed for only one day. The Los Angeles filming caused a local lockdown there. Unlike the other specials, Charlie Brooker does not appear on screen but does play the director asking questions to the talking heads. The decision was made because non-UK audiences would not be familiar with his appearance. Actors influenced their character portrayals, with Brooker highlighting Kudrow as someone with things she felt strongly about.
Review of the special
The special mostly received negative reviews from the critics, branding the mockumentary, Death to 2020, as “disappointing.” They even compared it to Brooker’s previous works, such as Black Mirror and Screenwipe. Metacritic has rated the special 37 out of 100 based on 9 reviews, and The Independent gave it a one-star review. The Telegraph even gave the special two stars in the review. However, they did praise some of the character performances of Fishburne, Jackson, and Millot. The A.V. Club gave the special a B- negative review, summarising the mockumentary as “obvious jokes over-familiar footage.” It criticized a “few lame stabs at the polarization of American politics.” The Hollywood Reporter summarised the work as a “general hacky piece of recycled political satire and tired documentary parody.”