January 31, 2019
From the moment the Netflix interactive film Black Mirror Bandersnatch dropped at the end of December, viewers have been discussing, watching, re-watching, analyzing, and dishing about the film. For those unfamiliar with the deal, Bandersnatch is a choose-your-own adventure style viewing experience that blends the genres of psychological thriller, science fiction, horror, and metafiction. What genre dominates depends largely on the choices the viewer makes during the game.
As viewers watch Stefan Butler, a programmer who is adapting his favorite novel, Bandersnatch by Jerome F. Davies (both novel and author are fictional), into a video game, the audience makes choices that directly impact the story. Some are seemingly pointless, such as which sugary cereal Stefan will eat for breakfast or which record he will listen to on the bus. Others are weightier and have more apparent results, such as if he should accept the offer to work at an office or stay true to his vision of working at home by himself.
When the choices appear on the screen, viewers have 10 seconds to choose between the two options and see what happens to Stefan. The show has gone viral with many reviews and analysis videos from which fans can choose.
All of this conversation leads to plenty of opportunities for libraries to capitalize on this trend.
Six ways to connect with Bandersnatch fans:
Genres: Plot-your-own stories, Alternative histories, Experimental fiction, Metafiction
Themes: Fixing history, Time loop, Unreliable narrator
Appeals: Intricately plotted, Unconventional, Stylistically complex
Pop-culture is a great way to connect with some of those hard to connect with patrons and Bandersnatch is a great example. For more ideas, check out our webinar Unlocking Pop Culture to Improve Your Readers’ Advisory.