Too many choices: should Netflix make more interactive stories

After the success of Black Mirror’s Bandersnatch, the streaming platform has revealed ambitions to use the decision-making dynamic for future projects

Bandersnatch was many things. It was a Black Mirror episode. It was the first seamless, mainstream choose-your-own-adventure TV show. It’s possibly how Benedict Cumberbatch pronounces his own surname after a heavy blow to the head. One thing it was not, however, was a one-off.

True, Charlie Brooker might have ruled out making any more branching episodes of Black Mirror, given the complexity of even making one. But the Netflix product VP, Todd Yellin, has made it very clear that this is just the start for the platform.

“Expect over the next year or two to see more interactive storytelling,” he told a Mumbai audience on Tuesday, adding that whatever came next wouldn’t simply be a Bandersnatch rip-off. “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?”

Now, obviously there was always going to be more interactivity at Netflix, because economics demand it. Bandersnatch was such a process of discovery – requiring new user interfaces, new tracking technologies, new interactivity departments, new ways of writing and shooting and editing – that it would go down as an immensely expensive folly if it remained Netflix’s sole experiment in the form. The question now is: where next?

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