The fifth season of Black Mirror is headed to Netflix this December, Bloomberg reports—but this time, the audience could get to pick its sad, dystopian ending.
Sources close to Netflix recently confirmed to Bloomberg that the streaming service is working on a one-off, choose-you-own adventure-style episode for the upcoming season. Netflix reportedly has a few other live-action interactive TV shows in the works, too, but details on those are still under wraps—and kicking off this bizarre, tech-centric storytelling experiment with a bizarre, tech-centric show feels like a natural fit.
The whole scheme is part of an ongoing push by Netflix to develop interactive TV, which they've already done with kids' TV shows like Puss in Book and Buddy Thunderstruck , but the upcoming Black Mirror will be the streaming service's first foray into turning adult series into Clickventures.
"The stories that branch off from the main narrative of Black Mirror will be more complex than the options in the kids’ programming," the Bloomberg report reads, "though it remains to be seen just how complicated the show will be."
Choose-your-own adventure films and TV shows aren't exactly new, but so far, no one has been able to pull them off successfully. Back in the 1990s, the guy who co-wrote Back to the Future made an "interactive movie" called Mr. Payback, which let audience members dictate the path of the film by pushing buttons—but the experience was so godawful that Roger Ebert dubbed it "mass psychology run wild, with the mob zealously pummeling their buttons, careening downhill toward the sleaziest common denominator."
Last year, Steven Soderbergh's HBO series Mosaic gave viewers the ability to follow different narratives thanks to a separate app, but the complex device didn't really make up for its sloppy storytelling. The experiment was mostly a flop, too.
It's unclear if Netflix plans to go the app route or let viewers control the Black Mirror narrative by clicking buttons on-screen or something, but one thing is clear: No matter how many potential storylines people have to choose from, all of them will probably end with some depressing-ass conclusion about the slow and lonely decline of our species and the ruinous fate of our collective technological addictions. This is Black Mirror, after all.
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