Netflix working on choose-your-own adventure shows for adults

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Dec 6, 2017

Forget about binging your favorite Netflix series. That's sooo yesterday. The next step in the streaming platform's evolution is a choose-your-own-adventure type of show, reports Bloomberg. This comes off the success of similar-type programs for kids like Puss in Book: Trapped in an Epic Tale and Buddy Thunderstruck: The Maybe Pile. They inspired the company's chief content officer, Ted Sarandos, to start playing around with grown-up versions of these types of shows. As a result, you'll be able to watch a series multiple times with different outcomes that you'll have had a hand in creating.

The idea of choose-your-own-adventure has long since been a part of certain storybooks for kids, the most famous being those printed in the late 1970s and throughout the 1980s by Bantam Books. Then, early video games like Dungeons of Daggorath and Zork allowed users to type commands into their console in order to further the gameplay. It only seems natural that the modern iteration would be TV and movies that allow you to have some sort of say in the plot. 

“A lot of the conventional wisdom that goes into TV programming turns out to be wrong,” Sarandos told Bloomberg, and he's right. Netflix hasn't become successful by playing it safe or sticking to convention. When you think about it, a choose-your-own-adventure television show is a bit easier to pull off for children than it is for adults. Entertainment such as Dora The Explorer and Blue's Clues were both proto-versions of this concept, as both encouraged their young audiences to participate, providing large swaths of silences after asking questions so the kids could learn. In addition, Puss in Book and Buddy Thunderstruck are both animated, making it easier to create multiple outcomes.

With more mature audiences, things get trickier. If you want to go the live-action route, you'll have to film several different scenarios with your actors for each episode. That means longer turn-around on entire seasons. On the other hand, the concept of being able to interact with your entertainment seems to be the logical conclusion, especially with the rise of virtual reality. Perhaps we'll get to traverse the Upside Down in Hawkins, parkour across New York, or try and escape the treacherous Count Olaf. The possibilities with the service's action-packed and suspenseful genre content are endless. After all, how many times did you wish you could rewatch a series after binging it in a couple of hours? This has the potential to solve that problem.