Black Mirror Creator Fires Back At Bandersnatch Critics


Black Mirror‘s latest episode arrived in the last days of 2018 and became an instant hit with Netflix users. “Bandersnatch,” a choose-your-own-adventure special, allowed viewers to decide how the life of video game programmer Stefan Butler (Fionn Whitehead) progressed, with the trippy, meta storyline weaving every decision into the narrative. For example, in many of the episode’s outcomes, Stefan ends up losing his mind as he believes someone is controlling his actions.

It’s an impressive achievement from creator Charlie Brooker, not only knocking down the fourth wall but also blurring the lines between what makes a video game, a TV show or a movie. But as with everything that’s popular, “Bandersnatch” earned a bit of a backlash from critics and Netflix users who felt the Black Mirror special wasn’t as good as it was cracked up to be.

Brooker was asked about the criticisms of the endeavor while speaking with The Huffington Post and opened up about how he’s heard every complaint under the sun about it – which must make it easier to take as you know they can’t all be right. For those who thought they always picked the wrong choices, Brooker had this to say:

“It’s been interesting that you get different reactions from different people, partly based on what they’re expecting, or what they want. So some people go, ‘Oh, I’m sh-t at this’, and you sort of go, ‘No no, it’s alright, we’ve built in that you’re going to fail’. We’re trying to make you fail a couple of times so that you have to go around and do things again, and that’s sort of baked into the story.”

For those viewers that complained about making decisions at all or that felt the decision-making process should have been tougher, the writer has less good will. In fact, he had some pretty strong words for the people that flung these criticisms at “Bandersnatch,” saying:

“There’s also some people that are like, ‘I don’t wanna make decisions’, ‘I don’t want to do any of it’… well f-ck off, then. Do something else! And then there’s some people who think, ‘Oh, it’s too simple as a game’ or ‘Games have done this before’ – well this isn’t on a gaming platform, it’s on Netflix. I’m well aware of what a computer game is, thanks.”

It’s fair enough that Brooker isn’t taking too kindly to these criticisms. “Bandersnatch” was a huge undertaking for him and his team that took four times as long to develop as a regular episode of the sci-fi anthology series. In fact, it took so long to make that season 5 has now been delayed until later in the year.

But what do you think of Black Mirror: Bandersnatch? Are you a fan, or are you one of the critics that Brooker’s talking to here? Let us know in the usual place.