25 votes

So how did you guys like Black Mirror: Bandersnatch and more importantly, do you guys think interactive TV will be the "next big thing"?

Personally, I really enjoyed Bandersnatch as a one-off. Having the ability to choose what happens and trying to piece together the story by watching multiple endings.

But honestly, the story fell quite flat and it wouldn't have been a very entertaining episode had it not been for the gimmick. But what do you guys think?

19 comments

  1. [13]
    Adys
    Link
    So, no spoilers replying to me please since I haven't seen it yet, but…: How does it actually work? Is it heavily tied in to Netflix's interface? Like, would it work on YouTube? Would it work...

    So, no spoilers replying to me please since I haven't seen it yet, but…:

    1. How does it actually work? Is it heavily tied in to Netflix's interface? Like, would it work on YouTube? Would it work torrented?
    2. … is this worth actually seeking out and getting a subscription for? Netflix access is poor in my country.
    3. Is there a time limit of some sort, or is it something I can eventually watch in a few months/years?
    9 votes
    1. [7]
      tomf
      Link Parent
      It cannot be pirated without a lot of work. You sit at breakfast, your father offers two cereals. The black border rises from the lower part of the screen and gives two choices for you.... and it...

      It cannot be pirated without a lot of work.

      You sit at breakfast, your father offers two cereals. The black border rises from the lower part of the screen and gives two choices for you.... and it goes from there. Always two options.

      It's definitely worth going through a few times just to see how much you can discover. There are some really fun, interesting, goofy, etc moments that really pay off.

      Am I looking forward to this as a media standard? No. But for a one-off, it does make for a good event.

      Track your choices for the first time, play around a bit, then dig into /r/blackmirror to see some of the other possibilities.

      12 votes
      1. [4]
        Comment deleted by author
        Link Parent
        1. [3]
          tomf
          Link Parent
          well yeah, clearly -- but a non-interactive version of the movie doesn't properly represent the movie. I was hoping DEFLATE or whoever would post all of the files -- that's what I was speaking to.

          well yeah, clearly -- but a non-interactive version of the movie doesn't properly represent the movie. I was hoping DEFLATE or whoever would post all of the files -- that's what I was speaking to.

          7 votes
          1. [2]
            teaearlgraycold
            Link Parent
            The best option is for pirates to produce a custom BluRay disc .iso with programming on it to allow for interactivity. This kind of "choose your own adventure" video has been done with DVDs and...

            The best option is for pirates to produce a custom BluRay disc .iso with programming on it to allow for interactivity. This kind of "choose your own adventure" video has been done with DVDs and BluRays already.

            5 votes
            1. tomf
              Link Parent
              yeah, it wouldn't be too difficult either -- just time consuming. No amount of scene points is worth that :)

              yeah, it wouldn't be too difficult either -- just time consuming. No amount of scene points is worth that :)

      2. [2]
        Nitta
        Link Parent
        Did Netflix design this choice feature specially for this episode? I wonder if a fad of viewer choice driven shows will unfold

        Did Netflix design this choice feature specially for this episode? I wonder if a fad of viewer choice driven shows will unfold

        4 votes
        1. tomf
          Link Parent
          according to this: Puss in Book: Trapped in an Epic Tale Buddy Thunderstruck: The Maybe Pile Stretch Armstrong: The Breakout Minecraft: Story Mode Black Mirror: Bandersnatch

          according to this:

          • Puss in Book: Trapped in an Epic Tale
          • Buddy Thunderstruck: The Maybe Pile
          • Stretch Armstrong: The Breakout
          • Minecraft: Story Mode
          • Black Mirror: Bandersnatch
          6 votes
      3. mrbig
        (edited )
        Link Parent
        So... a Telltale game?

        So... a Telltale game?

    2. [5]
      brighteyes720
      Link Parent
      Yea, it's sort of tied to the interface. There are generally two options at the bottom and you select one of them and the story progresses depending on it. (Except for one part where (minor...

      How does it actually work? Is it heavily tied in to Netflix's interface? Like, would it work on YouTube? Would it work torrented?

      Yea, it's sort of tied to the interface. There are generally two options at the bottom and you select one of them and the story progresses depending on it. (Except for one part where (minor spoiler: you have to enter a phone number)).

      It's gonna be basically impossible to pirate and enjoy. Partially because there are many choices and it'd be super annoying to change video files in pirated version every so often unless pirates figure out a smart solution.

      One another thing why it'd be tough to pirate is it's not a simple tree like structure where you play one file depending on one of your choice. All your choices matter a little and are sometimes played back like a super quick recap. Also, there are many loopbacks and weird things.

      Basically, I'm sure you'll be able to pirate it eventually but not enjoy it as much.

      … is this worth actually seeking out and getting a subscription for? Netflix access is poor in my country.

      Honestly, no not just for this single episode of a show. This is not even that good of an episode story wise. But you can definitely get a Netflix trial for a month and then cancel.

      Is there a time limit of some sort, or is it something I can eventually watch in a few months/years?

      Nope. They might add easter eggs in the future but I find that unlikely.

      5 votes
      1. [4]
        bltzkrg22
        Link Parent
        It’s going to be cumbersome to rip and cut all the relevant pieces of video, and maybe reverse-engineer the choice tree, if it’s convoluted enough. Once that is done, you could use something like...

        It’s going to be cumbersome to rip and cut all the relevant pieces of video, and maybe reverse-engineer the choice tree, if it’s convoluted enough. Once that is done, you could use something like this to write a dedicated script, that would have access to your current playlist (to create the playlist on the fly), and show necessary keyboard prompts on the screen.

        It’s certainly doable on PC, I could see torrenting this episode bundled with mpv player and relevant scripts prepared in a few weeks.

        3 votes
        1. [3]
          Greg
          Link Parent
          Assuming it works in the Netflix web player, you could just stick the actual JS and HTML straight into an Electron container along with the video files and have it run as a standalone application....

          Assuming it works in the Netflix web player, you could just stick the actual JS and HTML straight into an Electron container along with the video files and have it run as a standalone application.

          I imagine there'd be some tweaking to make it work fully offline, but probably not a huge amount.

          That said, I would fully expect their code to be loaded with account specific watermarks that are basically indistinguishable from the rest of the minified JS. I wouldn't touch it with a 10 foot pole unless it were part of a legitimate archival effort with solid legal footing.

          1. [2]
            Weldawadyathink
            Link Parent
            Unless they process all of the decision tree server side and simply have the browser show what the server wants to and display some options. I find that more likely, because then they don't have...

            Unless they process all of the decision tree server side and simply have the browser show what the server wants to and display some options. I find that more likely, because then they don't have to rewrite everything for every platform, or have to deal with computers as weak as the Chromecast and smart TVs doing any heavy lifting.

            2 votes
            1. Akir
              Link Parent
              I read that at one point the Netflix app was basically just a simplified web browser, something they did to simplify porting the app to multiple platforms.

              I read that at one point the Netflix app was basically just a simplified web browser, something they did to simplify porting the app to multiple platforms.

  2. [2]
    teaearlgraycold
    Link
    I feel similarly to you, OP. I think that the episode has very little going for it besides the gimmick. The 4th wall breaks were groan-inducing. I like almost every other episode of the show but...

    I feel similarly to you, OP. I think that the episode has very little going for it besides the gimmick. The 4th wall breaks were groan-inducing. I like almost every other episode of the show but this one is poorly written.

    The journey to many of the endings isn't entertaining, and the actual act of finding the "right" path is a chore, because you're just doing graph exploration:

    Do I accept working for the game company? Sure. Oh that's a bad ending? Never would have known. Let me go back and just try the other option among the two choices. I still work for the company but now independently? That nuanced response boiled down to "No" is the right option? Okay.

    6 votes
    1. Cosmos
      Link Parent
      Yeah, a lot of the decisions were ultimately meaningless. Like which song he would play. There were even a few where they didn't even bother giving a second option. What was the point of that?

      Yeah, a lot of the decisions were ultimately meaningless. Like which song he would play. There were even a few where they didn't even bother giving a second option. What was the point of that?

      1 vote
  3. mb3077
    Link
    (Spoilers) I really loved it actually. Yeah the story was a bit flat, but with the focus being on making choices it was still really fun. The scenes with Colin were really great, wish there was...

    (Spoilers)

    I really loved it actually. Yeah the story was a bit flat, but with the focus being on making choices it was still really fun. The scenes with Colin were really great, wish there was more of him.

    In the very end where Colin says 'get the pen' in a different context and the characters start saying numbers was amazing. I got up from my chair with a big smile on my face to get a pen and paper.

    What I didn't like is that some scenes were unnecessarily too on the nose in regards of breaking the 4th wall, mainly in the first half of the movie. They could've done it with more subtlety or clever writing.

    4 votes
  4. mrbig
    (edited )
    Link
    Here in Brazil we had a TV show like that in the 90s. It was called Você Decide (You Choose). I remember an episode in which we had to decide if a murderer who seemed to be possessed by the devil...

    Here in Brazil we had a TV show like that in the 90s. It was called Você Decide (You Choose). I remember an episode in which we had to decide if a murderer who seemed to be possessed by the devil during the crime should go to jail or not. We said no.

    It was a good show, but also very cheesy and not at all subtle. It ended in 2002 and was never revived.

    So no, I don't think that is the future. David Bordwell proved that there's nothing passive about watching a movie. That's a solution in search of a problem.

    Regarding Black Mirror, I probably won't play it. As a (former?) screenwriter myself, I know how hard it is to make a regular story work, let alone something like that. Not that I think it's impossible, but I have other matters to attend.

    3 votes
  5. [2]
    Analogorithm
    Link
    i'm a huge black mirror fan, but I thought it was lackluster at best. Some of the main takeaways for me as follows: I didn't get the whole story and to eventually get everything i have to watch...

    i'm a huge black mirror fan, but I thought it was lackluster at best. Some of the main takeaways for me as follows:

    1. I didn't get the whole story and to eventually get everything i have to watch the same material over and over again.

    2. The choices really draw you out of the flow of the movie. There were so many quick dead ends and then you had to rewind to a previous point and just start over. The first time it happened to me, work for the company or not, was so jarring. It was just like that, wrong choice, start over. It felt awful.

    3. A lot of the choices weren't choices at all, and some of the choices were just driven down your throat. Kill your dad. no? Kill your dad. no? Kill your dad. The aforementioned choice to work for the company or not work for the company, where you actually can only end up working for the company from home.

    4. I saw many "endings" and all of them were quite lackluster. It left me feeling like it wasn't done, even though i had finished it at least five times.

    5. The amount of dead ends was painful. I love that they are trying stuff and taking chances, but if you are going to do this sort of thing(especially with just this/that questions) you need to really commit to it and realize all the lines on the same level. If you can't do that, then limit the choices. It would also have worked better if there were just a couple of actually lines, and the choices just put you into one of the other lines. That way the illusion of choice is still withheld, although it's even more difficult to do that.

    Overall it was a good attempt, and a fun enough watch, but it could have been so much more. I enjoyed their attempt to work the medium into the story, but it was heavyhanded to say the least. If I had to rank episodes, bandersnatch would be near the bottom, but even the worst black mirror has to offer is pretty damn good compared to the rest of the field.

    1 vote
    1. Wes
      Link Parent
      I'm pretty sure this one is designed this way. They guide you towards the wrong decision to explain the mechanic, and have a quick restart to allow you to get back on track quickly. It's more of a...

      The first time it happened to me, work for the company or not, was so jarring. It was just like that, wrong choice, start over. It felt awful.

      I'm pretty sure this one is designed this way. They guide you towards the wrong decision to explain the mechanic, and have a quick restart to allow you to get back on track quickly. It's more of a tutorial than a disciplinary action. It also makes the point that the "obvious" choice may not always be the most interesting.

      3 votes