‘Bandersnatch’: An interactive way to watch Netflix

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By Ella Dame

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Yes or no. Eat Frosties or Sugar Puffs. Listen to the Thompson Twins or Now 2. Decisions surround everyone on a daily basis, but Netflix’s new episode of the Black Mirror series, “Bandersnatch,” takes simple day-to-day decisions to a new level.

“Bandersnatch’s” plot focuses on Stefan, a young gamer and coder, who is creating a choose-your-own-adventure video game. Similar to the game he is coding, the “player” of the show must make choices that determine what happens throughout the plot.

While watching the show, which is a new installment of the Black Mirror series, viewers must make interactive decisions for coder stefan.

Ultimately, “Bandersnatch” has around 12 endings and contains many secret scenes that the majority of viewers haven’t discovered, according to the show’s producers.

Netflix has been releasing interactive shows since 2017, and “Bandersnatch” is its fifth. What makes “Bandersnatch” unique is its audience. The other four interactive shows are targeted at younger children, as they are in Netflix’s kids section and feature child-friendly characters like Puss-in-Boots and Minecraft characters. “Bandersnatch,” on the other hand, is targeted  towards an older audience, as it’s listed under Netflix’s horror/thriller section.

“Bandersnatch” was much anticipated and producers expressed their hopes for the episode in an interview with The Wrap.

Stephanie Huizar, Div. 183, is an avid Netflix watcher. Huizar expressed her appreciation for the interactive aspect of “Bandersnatch.”

“I liked how there were multiple endings and how you are able to keep going back to change your choices,” Huizar said.

There are constantly decisions to make throughout the episode. While some decisions are simple, such as choosing what cereal to have for breakfast, others are more important. As the show progresses, the decisions become more plot-altering.

“It altered my watching experience because it made me pay attention through the whole show to see what I should do next,” Huizar said.

The importance of each decision is apparent as some decisions send the viewer back to the beginning. Bianca Condurache, Div. 183, said that the weight that each decision holds makes some viewers more engaged.

“I liked how you knew what was going to happen because you made choices,” Condurache said. “But at the same time, [you] didn’t know exactly what would happen or how it’d end.”

While many positive things have been said about “Bandersnatch”, there has been some negative feedback as well.

With all of the choices that the episode has, as well as the feature where the viewer can be sent back to the beginning of the show, watching the episode can be time-consuming.

Reviews of the show done by sources like The Hollywood Reporter and Rolling Stone made positive comments about the shows “innovative interactive approach.”

Both of their articles also made a point to depict how much of a time commitment “Bandersnatch” is. Since the show has multiple endings that can occur very early on in the show, (as early as by decision 4) other endings may take up to two hours to reach.

It took Condurache about two hours to watch the episode, and that didn’t affect her watching experience negatively.

“I never noticed how much time it took, not at all. I think it’s because of how engaged I was with the choices and storyline,” Condurache said.

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