‘Black Mirror: Bandersnatch’ Backfires with New Feature

Back to Article
Back to Article

‘Black Mirror: Bandersnatch’ Backfires with New Feature

Photo Courtesy of Netflix

Photo Courtesy of Netflix

Photo Courtesy of Netflix

By Hayden Swanson, Sports Editor

Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.


Email This Story






The streaming platform Netflix has recently begun experimenting with interactive content, where the viewer can determine how the story unfolds. They began with small titles such as Puss in Boots: Trapped in an Epic Tale, Stretch Armstrong: The Breakout, and other similar titles, and later expanded to include bigger name content, such as Minecraft: Story Mode, and now the infamously gloomy Black Mirror in the form of Black Mirror: Bandersnatch. This brand new addition to the Black Mirror franchise allows viewers to watch like never before, gaining the ability to now change the story at their will by determining the actions and decisions of the lead character. While content similar to this has existed for a while, it has never been exposed to such a large audience. Black Mirror: Bandersnatch unfortunately doesn’t provide the greatest welcoming to this new type of entertainment, and has so many problems that are just hard to ignore.

While Black Mirror: Bandersnatch provides the same unnerving atmosphere that the series is famous for, something about it just seems off. Although the story follows a very similar template to the rest of the episodes in the franchise, it is not considered an episode in the main series. The franchise is known for its take on how technology causes just as many problems as it solves. Throw in drama, and that’s the series in a nutshell. Black Mirror: Bandersnatch is no exception, but takes things much further than the typical episode. It probably has the weirdest twist of the entire series, or more accurately, twists. With some interactiveness thrown into the mix, there are now multiple different endings, but they all have one key moment that just completely ruins the entire thing. It’s not worth spoiling here, but it’s hard to miss once you come to it. The rest of the story is completely fine and can be very entertaining, but the end throws all of that out the window.

It would be very understandable if this first exposure to interactive content for many viewers completely turns them off from trying anything like it again because of its poor execution. During the episode there are several moments where the wrong decision will bring you back to an earlier point in the story. However, this doesn’t always work correctly and can make it incredibly hard to follow. This can be especially apparent if during the recap that plays each time you’re sent back, a scene plays out completely differently than the decision that you made. It is unfortunately not very well put together in that sense. Not to mention that some of the decision making can be completely pointless and might as well not even be there. On multiple occasions, selecting something will either have no impact on the story, not matter anyway because selecting both options does the same thing, or just send you back a couple of decisions so you follow the story correctly.

While it’s understandable that this is something brand new for Netflix and they haven’t exactly mastered the formula for producing flawless interactive content, they can do better than this. Black Mirror: Bandersnatch is a weak introduction to the concept, and is definitely something that worked a lot better on paper than in actuality. The Black Mirror series has always been very entertaining and generally leaves you with a lot to think about, and Black Mirror: Bandersnatch takes that away for a relatively dull and bizarre experience.