The next thing in Netflix programming could be something very interesting for adults. Their choose-your-own-TV adventures could be the next step in assuming a new level of dominance over regular TV programming. To date this idea has already been used for kids’ shows but it has yet to really catch on with bigger audiences that simply want the shows or movies given to them without having to make a conscious decision on which way it will go. But with so many different options and so many different ways to help the story develop it could be something that might finally push this type of programming over the edge and allow it to help Netflix further dominate the TV industry.
Anyone ever remember reading those small adventure books that had so many different choices to make after every chapter? If you selected one path it told you to make your way ten or twenty pages, or however many, ahead in order to see how your selection affected the story. There have been video games that have done this as well, as they will have different outcomes that are reflected by the choices the player makes. That’s the same thing that’s being proposed by Netflix, as each program will have a wide array of different outcomes that are possible from the choices the viewer makes. It might not always be what the viewer really wants to see but it will be something that they hold some control over.
Obviously the choices and the results are fixed so they can’t be circumvented or somehow altered in any way, but it gives people at least some say in what happens, be it for good or ill. It hasn’t caught on quite yet but the idea has some merit since it offers a chance to see a different story depending on the choice. In some cases these choices might even have a moral implication that has been seen in video games. It won’t mean much to the viewer but it will shape how the story ultimately goes.
A good example of this is Star Wars: The Knights of the Old Republic. Within the game are many upon many choices that a player can take that will send the story in a different direction. However in the game the player will accrue influence towards the Light or Dark side respectively based on their actions. In real life there would simply be a cause and effect that came from the different pathways that were taken through a story. Likely it would be a lot of work for those directing and acting out the stories, but it could be something that, if it catches on, could become the next big thing that would dominate the TV industry.
One curious thought about this however is that it seems as though these programs could never be called canon in their own right, meaning that thanks to so many alternate routes that are taken through the story line that there would be no single one that could be called the most definitive plot line. Of course if the film maker decided upon one plot line and announced that all others would be alternates it might work. Maybe.