Love it or hate it, Netflix is making more Bandersnatch-style interactive shows
Netflix says it is “doubling down” on interactive choose-your-own-adventure content.
The company’s vice president of product, Todd Yellin, made the announcement this week at the FICCI-Frames media and entertainment conference in Mumbai (via Variety).
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“It’s a huge hit here in India, it’s a huge hit around the world, and we realized, wow, interactive storytelling is something we want to bet more on,” he said.
“We’re doubling down on that. So expect over the next year or two, to see more interactive storytelling. And it won’t necessarily be science fiction, or it won’t necessarily be dark. It could be a wacky comedy. It could be a romance, where the audience gets to choose, should she go out with him or him.”
The streaming giant’s first interactive show, Black Mirror: Bandersnatch, came out over the Christmas holidays.
If you haven’t yet seen it, it allows you to choose between options that appear on-screen at various points throughout the show. Your decisions will lead you to one of five possible endings. After you reach a conclusion, you’ll return to a different point earlier on in the story, and have the opportunity to choose a different storyline.
However, despite picking up widespread praised for its exciting new format, the show itself has received mixed reviews.
It has a 71% rating (and an Audience Score of 66%) on Rotten Tomatoes, a 7.3/10 rating on IMDb, and a 61% rating on Metacritic.
I personally wasn’t a huge fan of Bandersnatch (though I know lots of people who disagree with me, and weren’t afraid to let me know). I didn’t think it flowed very well, and the sheer frequency at which the choices presented themselves quickly got on my nerves.
The format has also raised some privacy concerns. After Bandersnatch came out, UCL technology policy researcher Michael Veale discovered that Netflix not only tracks every choice viewers make, but also stores this data.
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Another issue is that, at present at least, Bandersnatch “is only available on devices that support interactive content”. The Chromecast dongle and Apple TV are amongst those that don’t play nice with interactive content.
Did you watch Bandersnatch? What was your verdict? Let us know on Twitter @TrustedReviews.