The experience of watching an upcoming episode of Black Mirror could itself be the basis for an episode of Black Mirror.
The Netflix sci-fi anthology series is planning a choose-your-own-adventure episode, Bloomberg reports. Details are scarce, but viewers will reportedly be able to pick their own story lines in one episode of the show’s secretive fifth season, due to be released in December. Viewers’ selections will ultimately decide how the episode ends.
Netflix’s response to a request to comment on the report was cryptic to say the least:
You have the ability to choose your own response from Netflix: This or this.
We’ll take that as a “no comment.”
Netflix has experimented with interactive TV before, notably in some of its children’s programs. But an interactive Black Mirror episode will mark the streaming service’s most high-profile and complex foray yet into the nascent storytelling format.
Choose-your-own-adventure stories have been around in books and video games for decades, but are only recently showing up in television. HBO dabbled in the format with the Steven Soderbergh mystery series Mosaic, which allowed viewers to watch the story from multiple perspectives by using a mobile app that accompanied the show. Interactive TV startups like Eko are starting to catch on. And Hulu recently made an interactive virtual-reality comedy series called Door No. 1.
Black Mirror shows humanity reckoning with technology it doesn’t fully understand or control, depicting with often terrifying insight how we’re dependent on the gadgets and gizmos that purport to improve our lives. A Black Mirror episode that is itself a demonstration of a technological innovation such as interactive TV would be a cleverly meta application of Charlie Brooker’s near-future series.