Netflix’s stock has never been higher, with more subscribers than ever and more original content than most can consume. With that much power, influence and success under their belts, it would be remiss of them to not explore new ideas to keep their content modern and forward thinking. But what they’re considering now could change the face of TV.
Per reports, Netflix is toying with the ideas of certain original productions filming multiple outcomes and allowing the viewer to choose their preferred story arc. A source said: “We’re doing work on branch narratives so you are actually making choices as you watch”.
The idea will apparently be tested in children’s shows and, if successful, could be implemented in such Netflix Original Series as Orange Is The New Black and The Crown. The same source added:
“All the content will be there, and then people will have to get through it in different ways […] We’ll see how it plays out. It’s an experiment. We’ll see if it gets much success. For creators, it’s new territory”.
This would be new ground forged by Netflix, no doubt. Using this idea in the realm of children’s television might work, but it’s hard to imagine devoted fans of such prestige shows being happy with the idea of multiple endings being available, even if it did mean their favourite character could have the outcome they wanted.
Audiences flock to these shows not just for escapism, but for the high quality production and more esoteric stories Netflix provides that other networks still have trouble accepting. It’s hard to imagine fans being thrilled at their shows being toyed with in the name of interactivity and futurism, and even harder to imagine the writers and producers behind the shows being happy to alter their vision for the show in favour of a cheap gimmick.
Though who knows? Maybe this is the future of television. If you’d asked people ten years ago whether an over-the-top streaming service could win Emmys and garner millions of subscribers around the world, they would likely have laughed at you. Who knows where TV will be in another decade? Perhaps the ‘will they? won’t they?’ cliffhanger will be no more, instead replaced by a ‘you choose’ button.
Netflix have not yet commented formally on the matter.