‘Kaleidoscope Review: Netflix Series Time Scramble Offers Mild Confusion More Than A Compelling Hook

‘Kaleidoscope Review: Netflix Series Time Scramble Offers Mild Confusion More Than A Compelling Hook

The story told in Netflix's Kaleidoscope is very interesting – a small group of thieves use a Category 4 hurricane to cash in $7 billion worth of uninsured bonds – but the explanation is even more compelling. The Eric Garcia series is designed so that viewers can watch its episodes in any order. Depending on which path you take, you'll get a different look at what the show's deeper mysteries are, which characters are lovable or evil, and whether certain beats play out as setting or payback.

Or at least that's the idea. And it works well, at least in the sense that you can actually follow what's happening, no matter how it's happening. Whether this will actually improve the story is a completely different question, and the answer is far from encouraging.


The bottom line is that a lot of noise for little profit.

The series suffers in part from a lack of inclination to bite. Tricks aside, the game lends itself to fairly simple linear progression. The chapters of Kaleidoscope , each named after a color, are not divided by character or theme (which can make it difficult to prioritize which parts or clues to separate from the red herring), but separate temporal parts are named. Each covers a distance of 24 years.

In this respect, watching an episode ("blue") filmed a few days earlier, the morning after the robbery ("red"), is more like a personal interactive experience than watching a program. My colleague Dan Finberg recently wrote a text against the overuse of initiatives in the media . Wandering the Kaleidoscope essentially turns a person into a media source , appearing one after the other without the level of shock needed to make any of them worthwhile.

For at least six weeks before the murder, The Yellow was the best place to start watching the series. This segment explores the mind of Leo (Giancarlo Esposito) as he puts his longtime criminal plans into action, assembling a team and raising money and equipment to expose her. In the classic style of heist movies, each recruit plays an important and very specific role: driver, security guard, pharmacist, etc. They suspect each other as their talents combine to accomplish the unthinkable.

Or that's the idea anyway. In practice , Kaleidoscope seems like a neat but forgettable two-hour movie that morphs into a chaotic six-hour epic. The main advantage of its unusual structure is that it helps to hide the prevalence of some ingredients. The love triangle subplot hinges on relationships so subtle that I still feel like I don't quite get it no matter which chapter ends up explaining these people. I didn't realize it until I gutted the whole season. The man at the center was never given an inner life.

Perhaps worse, the elements presented in the work tend to get lost in the slight but constant confusion generated by her approach. Esposito is a great anchor, as is Leo, who can simultaneously display steely power and vulnerability, and his relationships with other protagonists, such as wealthy businessman Brand Roger (Rufus Sewell), carry a lot of emotional weight. But the dispersal of their histories makes it difficult to track these journeys and thus diminishes their impact.

(And yes, I know I'm terribly vague. If I'm counting correctly, there are over 5,000 possible ways to end the season if you choose Netflix's "White" heist episode that includes – or over 40,000 if you choose turn down this offer at the window. All this means is that I can't guess what would be considered someone's "spoiler".)

When used properly, the time jump structure can cause major shifts, present conflicting viewpoints, bring us closer to a character's inner turmoil, or draw thematic parallels between past and present. But without the ability to learn what the audience already knows, the show keeps its secrets so simple that they hardly pass them off as secrets. In one episode, the characters worry that there might be a mole between them; Another group reveals who and why earlier in the timeline. A traditionally staged show would have removed the high tension from the stage anyway. The kaleidoscope only scratches the surface so you can look at it later.

At the very least, creator Garcia deserves credit for his ambition. His series is one of the few that really tries to take the Netflix format in new directions, and the events of the entire season take place simultaneously with your own Black Mirror adventure.

Well, okay, your mileage here may vary depending on your personal taste in steering, or perhaps the premium layout you end up choosing. I can only talk to those I go to. From where I sit, at the end of my tortuous journey through history, Kaleidoscope only proves that a puzzle approach to the imagination is possible , but for no particular reason.

reform | Critical Turn Campaign 2, Episode 76

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