Let’s be honest, for those of us that have watched Black Mirror on Netflix or Channel 4 (where the series originally aired for the earlier seasons), the thought of an interactive episode sounds…concerning. Upon hearing the news it definitely sent a few chills down my spine.
Intrigued nonetheless, I decided to investigate. Plans are supposedly still being kept very private by Netflix who are yet to comment on the matter but Bloomberg’s report managed to suss out the inside scoop.
Netflix is delving into a campaign to allow us – its users – to determine the ending of our favourite shows. While rumours suggest that the streaming service is developing several series specials that will allow the audience to determine storyline endings, the focus for now appears to be on producing an interactive episode of Black Mirror as part of its fifth season.
Black Mirror, dystopian anthology created by former journalist Charles Brooker, has completed four full seasons while fans are currently (eagerly) awaiting the release of the fifth. The series was originally created for Channel 4 where Brooker oversaw four seasons alongside Annabel Jones but was acquired by Netflix in 2015, granting them access to past episodes as well as the rights to release future seasons.
Earlier seasons of the show adopted thought-provoking storylines with most endings going down the melancholic route. Subsequent seasons have seen an occasional shift to more positive content with episodes such as “San Junipero” and “USS Callister” adopting more traditional and upbeat endings – a move that earned strong reactions that were both positive and from those who felt Black Mirror was losing its edge and in the eye of some, selling out.
So maybe the idea of an interactive ending isn’t such a bad idea? It keeps everyone happy, right? Plus, it’s a very natural fit for the futuristic, technology-driven theme of the show with audience interaction fitting into its storylines seamlessly.
While Bloomberg’s report was vague of episode specifics, Black Mirror would be Netflix’s first interactive show for adult viewers having successfully experimented with the idea through children’s shows including a spinoff from the Shrek franchise, Puss in Book where kids could choose whether the cat fought with a god or a tree and could go back to view alternative scenarios. The report suggests that there are video games also in the works for Netflix in adopting this experimental interactive approach.
While no official release date was announced for the rumoured interactive episode of Black Mirror, judging from previous release patterns fans are expecting it to hit screens before the year is out.