Reaction

Posted by Prem

 

Bandersnatch

 

Can you believe those other people? A Netflix episode released a week ago is ancient, how have they not seen it? Now that we got rid of them, we can spill the real tea. Thematically, Bandersnatch is perfectly on brand for Black Mirror. At one point, you can literally explain Netflix to the Stefan, which was a bit too obvious but definitely in the realm of “eerie future technology” that defines the genre of the show. Despite that fact, I think the narrative suffered at the hands of interactivity.

My favourite parts of Black Mirror are the tight storytelling and the exquisite cinematography. Black Mirror episodes creep up on you with unmatched subtlety which leaves you wide awake for the next two weeks. The problem with a choose your own adventure is that cohesion is difficult to achieve. I’m discovering this the hard way by writing this article. Each part of the adventure is almost self-contained because it must account for previous decisions made by the viewer. This makes the story seem disjointed and jumpy, and it makes the connecting themes seem obtuse and heavy handed. Each part of Bandersnatch was good, but they were very different. The LSD scene feels like a different episode compared to Stefan killing his father. 

Although the story was weak, I still love Bandersnatch. The story is only a backdrop for the real enjoyment: the novelty of choice. Bandersnatch is just fun to watch! Forcing you to interact with the episode fosters an immersion in the world. Emotional connection is absolutely key to good storytelling. By putting control in the viewer’s hands, you also place them closer to the action, making them feel responsible for what happens on screen. Netflix executes this part of the episode beautifully, especially because even if you “make the wrong choice” and are forced to restart, your decisions down the road are still affected. It ensures that each viewer has a unique, fully engaged experience and what more could you want out of TV?

What did you think? Did you like Bandersnatch?

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