Netflix Adding New Interactive Elements to Shows, Including 'Black Mirror' Season 5

The streaming giant is currently developing series that allow viewers to engage with the plot. The first of these shows is dropping before the end of 2018.

With omnipresent on-demand streaming services, it’s easier than ever to watch what you want exactly when you want it. But soon, Netflix users will have a say in the content.

According to a new report from Bloomberg, Netflix sources say the streaming giant is developing series that allow viewers to “choose the next storyline in a TV episode or movie.” The first of these specials are expected to drop before the end of 2018.

The least surprising detail of this experiment on the future of entertainment is that it’s being tested on the upcoming season of Black Mirror. Audiences will be able to choose their own plot in one episode of the bleak sci-fi series, which is expected to drop in December. The “choose-your-own-adventure programming” is exactly the kind of thing one could expect to watch in a Black Mirror episode, a show that frequently explores the darker side of technology and its effect on how humans interact with the world and each other.

Netflix is dipping its toe into interactive TV as a new way to lure in customers. It moves shows closer to the world of video games, which have in turn become more cinematic over the years. Two of the unnamed interactive projects, aside from Black Mirror, are actually video game adaptations. And a simple method has already been applied to children's series, where kids are given the opportunity to choose alternate scenarios of a story.


It’s still unclear just how complicated this stories will get. We could be talking about two alternative storylines or several more, but either way, this clearly ups the ante when it comes to production costs for alternative scripts, filming time, etc. HBO released Mosaic, its first interactive show, earlier this year. The six-part series from Steven Soderbergh included an app with different storylines that could be customized, and was relatively well received.

It’s not guaranteed that a good number of viewers are dying to creatively engage in the plot of whatever they’re watching, but who knows. Netflix already altered the entire world of watching things; this could be the beginnings of the future, again.

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