When I was younger, I had a thick book. It was a thick book, not because of the entire plot but because of the multiple endings that a reader could choose. These books gave the reader multiple paths to follow, each choice moving the reader towards a unique ending. Black Mirror: Bandersnatch brings this format to television (TV), allowing the audience to choose their own adventure and enjoy the movie for however long they like. Black Mirror is a Netflix original TV show that is known for its thought-provoking episodes. Bandersnatch allows the viewer to choose what happens next; from what the protagonist eats, whether he sees his therapist, or if he decides to follow another character.
The similarities between this show’s format and the Choose Your Own Adventure book series has actually brought Netflix under fire. The creators behind the books are suing Netflix on copyright violations.
Despite this development, the show is still on Netflix and still worth watching.
Bandersnatch follows Stefan, a video game designer who is making a computer game based on the book called Bandersnatch. The movie also brings the audience back into the 1980s and into the head of a mentally ill protagonist. He goes to an up-and-coming tech company that is interested in making his game for the public. Because of the interactive feature, there are many ways the story can go. Some paths include him spending more time with Colin, a renowned video game designer, or no time at all. The movie is exciting because, even though the audience is given unique control, there are some things that will remain out of our hands.
By using this new format through the remote, shows can further engage their audience. Unfortunately, it will probably take more time for creators to make these kinds of episodes. While deciding your character’s fate with a click of a button can be fun, it puts more work on the writers and actors to try to accommodate many paths of a single episode. It is probably more likely that the interactive format will be reserved for special episodes, rather every single one. That being said, the creators of Black Mirror have given the audience an impressive new way to watch a TV show.
Through different endings, Bandersnatch allows the audience to experience all the shades of Stefan and how the trauma of losing his mother and his mental health plays a part in the movie. The whole show can also be linked to Stefan’s mental state. As he comes undone with each action he figures out he is controlled.
Bandersnatch is a captivating experience and opens up many doors for Black Mirror, Netflix, and the entertainment industry itself. It gives the audience a chance to do something that can’t be done in real life: a do-over.
It also examines the many possibilities that life contains. The striking thing about this show is that while the audience pays attention more, it also shows the viewer how they think because each option is entirely up to them. Bandersnatch not only accomplishes using a new format and examining its characters, but also examines the audience’s ways of experiencing life.