Netflix is forging new paths for streaming shows with a “choose your own adventure”– style episode of Black Mirror. How does it work?
Black Mirror: Bandersnatch is a new interactive special of the popular Netflix show Black Mirror that allows viewers to choose the direction that the episode takes. With a sprawling web of a “script,” the episode took twice as long and cost twice as much to produce as a normal episode of the show.
At multiple points in the movie, viewers are given 10 seconds to make a choice for the plot’s direction – if no choices are made, it chooses defaults for you, resulting in a 90-minute watch time. Depending on the choices made, the episode can last anywhere between 60 and 120 minutes.
Will the format become a common one for Netflix in the future? Without talking specifics, Netflix head of product Todd Yellin says:
We’re just beginning to scratch the surface of the kinds of stories that can be told in this way. We’d love to see an interactive wacky comedy. We’d love to see an interactive horror film. We’d love to see an interactive romance where you choose the prom date that you want to go with. I mean, there’s all kinds of great potential stories that are out there.
While the production of such shows may be expensive and time-intensive, the idea is certainly a novel one. It will be exciting to see if Netflix pursues this style of production with other shows.