Spoiler alert: If you haven’t finished Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, this article will contain some spoilers from the final season. Also, why haven’t you finished it yet?
Wednesday at FYSEE, Netflix’s annual exhibition highlighting its best series, the company announced that an interactive special was in the works for Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt and was scheduled to stream in 2020. The show ended its fourth and final season back in January, and creators Tina Fey and Robert Carlock strongly hinted that a movie was in the works. Turns out, we’re not just getting a run-of-the-mill TV movie, but a Bandersnatch style special with the main cast.
The ending of Season 4 for Kimmy Schmidt was satisfying, at least in that most of the characters’ storylines were wrapped up happily, but it was also really rushed. For example, why does Jacqueline end up with Eli when she only met him the episode before? I’m curious to see where this special is going to pick up from, since most of the characters are off doing their own thing and being successful. There are a few options, like a reunion or a flashback, but it’s definitely going to be weird, creative, and f-cking hilarious.
UKS is the perfect candidate for a “choose your own comedy adventure” because the episodes are pretty self-contained and wacky, ranging from Titus-yoncé to the Legends of Greemulax. The jokes and the plots are so incredibly over the top and unexpected that simple decisions can have huge impacts on the characters’ trajectories, like in the “Sliding Van Doors” episode. (Side note, does every comedy show do a sliding doors episode? Broad City did too.)
When I wrote about Bandersnatch at the beginning of this year, I wondered about whether this would become a new trend in film and television, albeit at the detriment of “collective viewing.” Lainey talked about how the final season of Game of Thrones is probably the last time we’ll all be watching something together for a while. But since the immense popularity of Bandersnatch, Netflix released another interactive series called You vs. Wild with Bear Grylls. This makes UKS the third installment of this type of media on Netflix, and they’re probably working on more.
I never thought Bandersnatch would be a one-off, but I was a little skeptical that interactivity would become a staple in TV and Film. Now I’m not so sure, and I’m also imagining all the major moments that might have been enhanced if we had it. Imagine Twilight, where you could choose to be with Edward or with Jacob. Or even Avengers: Infinity War! I’d choose whatever option would let me kick Star Lord in the face for f-cking everything up. UKS is the first comedy to make use of the format. What’s next? Rom-coms? What if the TATBIL 2 was interactive, and at the end of the movie, we had to choose between Peter Kavinsky and John Ambrose McClaren. That’s the kind of friendship ruining content that I want!
Interestingly, with the success of Bandersnatch, we haven’t seen anything from other competitors like Amazon or Hulu. Granted, making an interactive episode is a LOT more work (because you’re basically writing like 20 different episodes just to make one). That means that we won’t be seeing it in EVERYTHING but still, don’t be surprised if Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt isn’t the only interactive special in 2020.