- Netflix announces new programs to be done in the "Choose Your Own Adventure" style.
- Choose Your Own Adventure was a series of children's gamebooks.
- "Black Mirror" is a popular anthology series usually centred around technological dystopias.
Those who are nostalgic for the fun of "Choose Your Own Adventure books" will be thrilled to learn that streaming service Neflix will be applying the interactive approach to several of their programs, including an episode of popular British dystopian sci-fi "Black Mirror".
Originally published by Bantam Books, "Choose Your Own Adventure" was a series of children's gamebooks that sold 250 million copies between 1979 and 1998. They were written in the second person, allowing the reader to assume the role of the protaganist as they were asked to select from alterate plot options ("ploptions"?) that would determine the course of the story and how (un)happy the ending would turn out.
According to the Edward Packard, the creator of the concept, the lucrative idea came to him while running out of ideas while telling bedtime stories to his children. "I had a character named Pete and I usually had him encountering all these different adventures on an isolated island. But that night I was running out of things for Pete to do, so I just asked what they would do."
In 2006 the Choose Your Own Adventure franchise tried its hand at another medium, releasing the interactive animated feature film "Choose Your Own Adventure: The Abominable Snowman". The direct-to-DVD release - which starred Frankie Muniz, Lacey Chabert and William H. Macy - allowed the viewer to contol the character's choices via remote control. Though it was commended for its innovation, the film failed to grab the attention of a mainstream audience, and no follow up films were made under the OG brand.
Netflix have previously adopted the style for a few of their youth-skewed programs, including the 2017 Shrek spin-off "Puss in Book: Trapped In An Epic Tale". These were apparently well received enough for the streaming service to commission some more interactive programs, with some of them to be live action and skewed towards a more mature crowd - the first of which will be an episode of "Black Mirror", slated for a December release.
Black Mirror is an Emmy award winning sci-fi anthology series with stories that typically portray the potential perils that technology could cause us in the near future. It is known for its social commentary and its bleakness, so it is yet to be seen whether a Choose Your Own Adventure episode will pack a caustic riposte on the nature of interactive stories... or indeed, whether it will offer more paths to happy endings than usual, or conversely, ten times as many downers. Either way, I'm personally looking forward it!
Are you? And do you have the satisfactory broadband with which to stream it?