If you are a particular type of viewer, the release of Netflix’s new drama Kaleidoscope will have excited you. This is due to the fact that Kaleidoscope represents nothing less than an innovative new approach to storytelling.
There are a total of eight episodes. Some episodes take place before a heist, others after, and one focuses on the heist itself. However, you are free to watch the episodes in any sequence you like.
There is Netflix’s (randomized) order, as well as any other order you can conceive of. It’s a good idea, wouldn’t you say? Netflix, after all, was the service that liberated us from the constraints of linear scheduling, so it makes sense for it to strive to liberate us from the constraints of linear storytelling.
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There are supposedly 40,320 ways to experience Kaleidoscope, as promised. Some viewers will begin with the episode titled Green, which is a flashback.
The audience could then move on to Violet (another flashback), Red (placed in the immediate aftermath of the theft), Blue (where the heist is being planned), or any of the other episodes with varying hues.
White is the actual heist episode, however, nothing prevents you from watching it in whatever order you choose.
In contrast to, for example, Bandersnatch, an interactive Black Mirror special modeled around Choose Your Own Adventure books, everyone who completes Kaleidoscope will have seen everything.
There are no concealed mysteries to discover. You will not gain access to any additional scenes by viewing the episodes in a specific order.
By the time the final credits roll, you will be as knowledgeable about the show as any other viewer. You will simply have had a subtly different experience.
Once you’ve sat through the entire production and rearranged it in your mind, Kaleidoscope is a fairly entertaining show. It is not an A-grade prestige drama, but it is engaging, occasionally compelling, and absurd enough to remain entertaining.
The cast consists of Rufus Sewell, Jai Courtney, and Giancarlo Esposito, who takes a short vacation from starring in every other film ever created. Occasionally it unfolds like in Hustle, and sometimes as in Heat. It is not at all negative.
However, it loses something when it is diced and thrown at you at random. Perhaps it’s the manner in which every character must be presented discreetly in each episode, as it could be the first time you’ve seen them. Perhaps this is due to the impossibility of cliffhangers due to the format’s inability to resolve them.
Perhaps it’s because Esposito’s emotional climax in the real chronological ending is so intense that everything that follows, including the intended conclusion, feels like an afterthought. By the way, you’ll be unlucky if you watch it first.
In actuality, it is even worse. For the majority of its life, the greatest pleasure of television was knowing that everyone was viewing the same programs at the same time. These shows unified us, for better or worse.
Netflix, despite its great convenience, ruined this to the point where individuals couldn’t talk television with their pals without performing a delicate little dance to avoid spoilers. And Kaleidoscope appears to be yet another time of destruction.
Even if, by some miracle, we end up seeing it at the same moment, it makes no difference because none of us are watching the same thing.
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I guarantee that there will be a point in Kaleidoscope where you will begin to long for a creator’s guiding touch.
Clearly, a great deal of effort has been put into making the whole thing cohere in any order, but the majority of the time it still feels arbitrary; a collection of flashbacks and flash-forwards thrown into a blender and served with little consideration for narrative satisfaction.
The more I consider it, however, the more certain I am that the only way to view Kaleidoscope is in order. Please view it in the following sequence if you have not already: Violet, Green, Yellow, Orange, Blue, White, and Pink. You’re welcome.
Kaleidoscope has merit as an experiment in narrative. However, as a narrative, it is chaotic and aggravating.
In one episode, sheets of colored paper tumble out of a broken case and cover the floor One of the characters stares at the mess and moans.