For the uninitiated, Black Mirror is a futuristic series on Netflix about the dark side of mankind’s advances in technology. In reality, the biggest horror is from the fact that what was considered futuristic in its earlier seasons are already playing out in the real world. But this article is about television’s next step – interactive TV. It is only apt that such an experience is first seen with Black Mirror – just in case you weren’t fascinated enough by the content in the first place. The script of the episode isn’t reality a script but more of a software program written in the programming language “Twine” used for video games suggesting the first step towards convergence of gaming and television (Gaming is already a popularly viewed ‘sport’). It is also no surprise that the producers will ‘use’ the viewer’s choices during the interactive show to customise content, advertising, product placement, etc.
“Black Mirror: Bandersnatch sits squarely in the dystopian anthology show’s tradition of chilling tech parables. It has elements of horror, science fiction, and ’80s nostalgia. It has British actors you know you know, just can’t remember where you know them from. It has moments you’re not sure you’ve ever seen on TV before. One thing it doesn’t have, though, is a run time. You might watch it in 50 minutes, or it might be closer to 70. Hell, it might take you two hours to watch. Because Bandersnatch isn’t just any episode. It’s an “interactive film”—one you steer as you watch, choosing the way you want the story to unfold.”
“It registers your choice via “state tracking,” a technology Netflix developed to accomplish exactly what Brooker and Jones were hoping for, and saves it to be deployed later—in this case, when a television set in the background of a scene plays a commercial for the cereal you chose.”
“The magic of combinatorial math means that there are technically more than a trillion paths through the story, though in reality the number is much smaller. But “much smaller” is still pretty huge: There are five main endings, with multiple variants of each—though upon reaching an ending, Netflix will also helpfully bring you back to pivotal decision points so that you can ease your FOMO and try the path not travelled”
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