For the most part, Black Mirror is as good as it’s often hyped up to be. And for the past few years, Netflix has done an excruciatingly good job at hiding the details for what the episodes might be and when they’ll drop. Like clockwork, every December I sit in front of my TV and consume all of them in one swoop, and then feel disgusted with myself. It’s great!
But this year fans did not get a series of standalone episodes. Instead, Netflix gave us Bandersnatch, a tedious, “choose-your-own-adventure” style movie that was half video-game, half regular narrative. I hated the idea from the start for several reasons, but largely because I don’t go to movies to tailor a story to my desires! The idea of picking a narrative hidden in a web of other narratives just doesn’t excite me.
I didn’t like watching (playing?) Bandersnatch, which felt like it took forever to finish and was boring, and I wasn’t alone. In an interview with Huffpost, Black Mirror creators Charlie Brooker and Annabel Jones acknowledged the hatred fans have expressed over Bandersnatch and the overall concept. Their response? You can just fuck off, really. Brooker says:
“It’s been interesting that you get different reactions from different people, partly based on what they’re expecting, or what they want. So some people go, ‘oh, I’m shit at this’, and you sort of go, ‘no no, it’s alright, we’ve built in that you’re going to fail’. We’re trying to make you fail a couple of times so that you have to go around and do things again, and that’s sort of baked into the story.”
“There’s also some people that are like ‘I don’t wanna make decisions’, ‘I don’t want to do any of it’... well fuck off, then. Do something else! And then there’s some people who think ‘oh, it’s too simple as a game’ or ‘games have done this before’ – well this isn’t on a gaming platform, it’s on Netflix. I’m well aware of what a computer game is, thanks.”
Brooker adds that when it comes to endings or pathways, “the more you do, hopefully the more fun an experience you’ll have.”
To which I say, no thank you! Call me when you drop the actual episodes.