On December 28th the hit Netflix show released their most innovative project yet, their choose your own adventure movie, Bandersnatch. The special dropped with wide success and critical acclaim, so does this mean we’re going to get more choose your own adventures from Netflix?
The concept of interactive T.V. has been floating around for a while, but now Black Mirror has brought it into the tangible mainstream, taking T.V. where no network has gone before.
It’s hard to imagine that Netflix isn’t looking to do more of these considering the time and money they were willing to put into the project. And not to mention the whole concept was Netflix’s idea and was even met with resistance from Black Mirror showrunner and creator, Charlie Brooker.
It’s weird that even after a huge success of the new format it’s nearly impossible for me to think of what else Netflix could do with the novelty and I think that’ll be the issue the company runs into if they decide to dive into this, it’s just a gimmick.
As fun as Bandersnatch was and as much as I loved it, it’s kind of a jumbled narrative that doesn’t really stand out without the options to pick what should happen. And here’s the thing, in my opinion I don’t see this getting better than what Black Mirror did. The show made a conscious effort to weave the gimmick into the narrative and because Charlie Brooker and his team are geniuses they pulled it off. But what happens when another, less capable team takes the reigns?
Unfortunately I don’t think there’s a sustainable market for the choose your own adventure, unless they made it an annual thing for a few years. And given the reports that Bandersnatch was so time consuming it delayed the production schedule for Black Mirror’s season 5, it doesn’t sound practically viable either.
Also this is a fun fact, Netflix is also being sued over the special. Chooseco, the publisher of the popular books claims Netflix is tarnishing their family friendly brand. But apparently they had also been in lengthy discussions with Netflix, who were trying to acquire the license for the brand and were denied.
While this is all just accusation at this point, if it’s proved to be true, then this new format might be over before it even started.
I’m glad that it happened, but I’m hesitant to say I want more of these. I think it’d be better just to chalk this up to that-one-fun-creative-thing everyone watched for a weekend.