The Netflix experiment began with movie-watchers choosing a character’s morning cereal.

Soon, Netflix may be letting viewers choose everything from the best on-screen romance to the safest path to escape a killer.

The world’s largest online streaming service wants to try out more interactive entertainment, following great feedback from its recent groundbreaking episode of “Black Mirror.” The episode was called “Bandersnatch.” It let users make decisions at many important – and not-so-important – moments.

The company is looking for ways to include choices in different kinds of movies, from comedy to horror to romance, said Todd Yellin. He is Netflix’s vice president of product.

“Why can’t you have a romantic title where you get to choose who she goes out with?” Yellin said. “Or horror titles. Should you walk through that door, or should you dive out that window and get the heck out of there? You can make the choice.”

The breakfast scene became an Internet sensation when “Bandersnatch” came out last December.

“Like many of you, I got addicted to ‘Bandersnatch’ and trying to figure out what’s the significance of the cereal, and not just the cereal, all the different options,” Netflix Chief Executive Reed Hastings said.

When viewers can change what happens in a story, they feel deeply close to the character, Yellin said. That is why Yellin wants to try this way of moviemaking in other stories. In romances, “the emotional stakes are high.”

Yellin said the effort is still in the early part of development. Hastings said he does not predict that interactive entertainment will replace traditional storytelling.

Netflix already has produced a few interactive shows for children. 

“Kids don’t have established rules,” he said. “They assume that’s the way the world should be and they’ll try it.”

Exercise 1

Vocabulary

Read the following vocabulary with your teacher.

 

cereal (n.) - a breakfast food made from grain

interactive (n.) - designed to respond to the actions, commands, etc., of a user

streaming (adj.) - playing continuously as data is sent to a computer over the Internet

addicted (adj.) - unable to stop using a harmful substance (such as a drug)​

stakes (n.) - something (such as money or love) that you could win or lose in a game, contest, etc

established adj. accepted and used by many people

replace (v.) - to be used instead of (something)

assume (v.) - to think that something is true or probably true without knowing that it is true

 

Exercise 2

Questions

Answer these questions about the article.

  1. How did the experiment start?
  2. What does Netflix wants to try with this?
  3. Is Netflix producing episodes for children?
  4. What is happening when viewers can change the story?

 

 

Exercise 3

Debate

Please give your opinion on the following statement and give your reasons behind it.

  • Is viewer influence on the story a good idea?

 

Exercise 4 

Discussion

Have a discussion on following questions.

  1. Have you watched "Black mirror"?
  2. Do you watch a lot of TV series?
  3. What are your favourite?
  4. Would you try this new system?

Source

This lesson is based on a news article originally published by VOA Learning English.