Netflix loves a good experience – and the streaming giant’s upcoming TV test is unlike anything you’ve seen before.
Titled Kaleidoscope, Netflix’s upcoming show is being billed as a crime anthology series – but with a compelling twist. The series, which premieres January 1, 2023, is presented in a non-linear format, with viewers watching the eight episodes of Kaleidoscope in a different order than their family and friends. No two viewing experiences will ever be the same, creating an air of mystery around the theft and leading to countless watercooler-style arguments between you and your fellow Netflix subscribers.
Need more context? Let the cast and crew of Kaleidoscope guide you through Netflix’s latest ambitious experiment in this first behind-the-scenes video:
In a press release, Netflix also revealed more about what audiences can expect from its choose-your-own-adventure TV show.
“Loosely inspired by the real-life story where seventy billion dollars worth of bonds disappeared in midtown Manhattan during Hurricane Sandy, Kaleidoscope consists of eight episodes spanning 24 years before the heist to 6 months after,” says the press release.
“Kaleidoscope is an all-new anthology series that follows a team of master thieves and their attempt to break into a seemingly unbreakable safe to reap the biggest payday in history. Guarded by the world’s most powerful corporate security team and with law enforcement on the each episode reveals a piece of an elaborate puzzle of corruption, greed, revenge, intrigue, loyalties and betrayal. How did the crew of thieves plan it? Who gets away with it? Who can we trust?
There are 7 billion ways to solve a crime. Check out KALEIDOSCOPE, a new heist series starring Giancarlo Esposito, Paz Vega and Tati Gabrielle. Only on Netflix January 1st. pic.twitter.com/8QIpR4suZCNovember 22, 2022
So how will Kaleidoscope work? When you start watching the series, you’ll start with a specific episode (randomly assigned to you by Netflix), each named after a specific color – hence the title Kaleidoscope. For example, Netflix might start with the entry called Yellow, which is set six weeks before the heist. Meanwhile, your best friend can start his adventure with the episode titled Red, which begins on the day of the robbery itself.
Once the episode is complete, you’ll have another episode to watch, like Violet (set 24 years before the heist) or Pink (six months after the heist). The one episode every viewer will end up with is White, which marks the story’s epic conclusion.
The idea is that each subscriber has a unique viewing experience, with the order in which they watch Kaleidoscope episodes affecting how they view each crew member, when the plot is taking place, and what questions they will have (and answers they will get) after each portion. In this way, Kaleidoscope will keep you guessing until its last moments and force you to rethink what you know about the pieces of the puzzle with each passing episode.
Kaleidoscope stars Giancarlo Esposito (The Mandalorian season 3, Breaking Bad), Jai Courteney (The Suicide Squad), Paz Vega (Rambo: Last Blood), Rufus Sewell (Old), Tati Gabrielle (Uncharted) and Peter Mark Kendall (The Americans) among others. The crime drama comes from creative visionary Eric Garcia, with the likes of Russell Fine and Everardo Gout at the helm.
Analysis: Experimentation is the name of the game
Kaleidoscope isn’t the first big experiment Netflix has conducted when it comes to original content.
Netflix, which is still seen as one of the best streaming services in the world despite facing a tough 2022, has had mixed success with its other two main entertainment-based tests. The first – 2018’s Black Mirror: Bandersnatch – was a true choose-your-own-adventure affair, with viewers choosing one of two options to advance the film’s narrative and earning one of five possible endings from their personal interactive experience.
The other – Fear Street, an adaptation of R.L. Stine’s fan-favorite horror novel series – saw Netflix release its adaptation of the film trilogy for three consecutive weeks. This trio of films, which starred the likes of Stranger Things season 5’s Sadie Sink and Maya Hawke, were filmed back-to-back before being released weekly through the summer of 2021. Its release schedule allowed Netflix to boast that it was releasing the first film real. trilogy in anthology format, although this is up for debate.
Kaleidoscope, then, represents another intriguing step into the unknown for Netflix. Sure, it’s taken creative risks before that haven’t paid off in the way many had hoped, but the streaming company isn’t afraid to keep trying. In an era where its competitors like Disney Plus and HBO Max follow tried-and-true formulas like TV episode releases, Netflix is at least trying to push the boat out and offer something new to its subscriber base. Maybe everyone else should take note.
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