Netflix Quietly Settles with Chooseco in Black Mirror Lawsuit over Choose Your Own Adventure

Black Mirror: Bandersnatch ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

A lawsuit update has come in.

In October 2019 we wrote about Netflix being the subject of a legal dispute over their interactive viewing program Black Mirror: Bandersnatch (see: Netflix Says More Viewer Interactive Movies Like Bandersnatch Are Coming).

At the time we tried to find out the status of that lawsuit with Chooseco, that owns the tradmark for “Choose Your Own Adventure” and it appeared the case was still pending.

Netflix has now reached a settlement, although the details haven’t yet been made public. The article does do some speculation, as we did as well. We promised to provide an update on the court case whenever we saw one. That day is here.

Best guesswork says that Netflix reached some kind of agreeable number for using the Choose Your Own Adventure trademark in the promotion of Bandersnatch. The real question is whether that deal includes any future use of the reference in other interactive films, or freedom to use the name “Choose Your Own Adventure” in describing the genre of interactive films Netflix is producing. If possible that would be a shrewd legal move on Netflix’s part, as Bandersnatch signaled that modern audiences are open to the novelty of interactive viewing – if done right.

Netflix Reaches Settlement In Black Mirror Lawsuit

Am not a fan of lawsuits like this where the details aren’t known. I realize no company wants to have negative publicity and maybe part of the reason the details aren’t public yet is Netflix plans to partner with Chooseco and co-brand with them for the interactive viewing genre. Suppose we’ll know soon enough.

Hopefully the interactive genre continues to expand. Only certain stories will fit this type of creative storytelling, but it’s something I’d be interested in watching more. What about you? Have you enjoyed these type shows? Or do you prefer more passive viewing that doesn’t require making decisions with your remote?

Guess it’s the gaming fan in me that likes the genre. As pointed out originally, there is a history in videogaming of interactive storytelling. Also enjoyed the books, now licensed by Chooseco. Whatever the details are, the main takeaway needs to be more of this content being created. Netflix paying license fees to Chooseco, fine, co-branding, fine, just don’t sit on a trademark and not let anybody else do anything creatively.

Perhaps a year from now or sooner we’ll know what’s happening. Feel free to chime in the comments below if you see an update with more details or to let us know if you enjoy these type of interactive viewing experiences.

TV REVIEW: Black Mirror Season 2 – All 3 Episodes Rated and Reviewed

Black Mirror Season 2 has three episodes

Season 2 of Black Mirror, a science fiction anthology show available for streaming on Netflix, all three episodes, rated and reviewed in this post.

“Be Right Back” ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Episode #4 – Original Airdate: February 11, 2013

A man dies in a car accident and his pregnant girlfriend, Martha, becomes attached to his persona embedded in a phone OS and including his virtual voice. This predated the movies, Her⭐️⭐️⭐️½ (October 2013) and Jexi⭐️⭐️⭐️ (2019). Good length, I think this idea works best as a short, not a full length movie.

“White Bear” ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Episode #5 – Original Airdate: February 18, 2013

Woman awakes with amnesia and runs into strange acting gawking people taking pictures of her with their cell phones. Nice twist on this one turned it into something very different than where I expected it would lead.

“The Waldo Moment” ⭐️⭐️⭐️
Episode #6 – Original Airdate: February 25, 2013

Comedian Jamie Salter is the voice for a blue, brash, foul-mouthed bear named Waldo. His producer gets him into politics, despite his reluctance where the lines between reality and comedy become blurred. Waldo engages in conversations on the street through at cartoon image controlled inside a truck by Jamie in a VR-like setup. The realness of virtual reality and a comic character are prodded, poked and explored. This is a lighter fare episode of Black Mirror. Not quite as enjoyable as the other episodes, but still pretty good.

Season 2 Overall Rating ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

An increased attention to technology in season two over the first. The episode lengths in this one are better, hence a bump in a half star overall rating for the season over the first. I think this season showed increased maturity over the episodes in the first and was a little better overall.

TV REVIEW: Black Mirror Season 1 – All 3 Episodes Rated and Reviewed

Black Mirror Season 1 (2011) – 3 Episodes – Originally Aired on Channel 4 UK, then on Netflix

Black Mirror is a British science fiction anthology series available for streaming on Netflix similar to The Twilight Zone focusing primarily on technology-related stories. Season one debuted with three episodes which are rated and reviewed in this post.

The show was originally available on Channel 4 in the UK. It ran two seasons and then was picked up by Netflix where subscribers can see today.

“The National Anthem” ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Episode #1 – Original Airdate: December 4, 2011

Princess Susannah has been kidnapped and the ransom demanded is that the Prime Minister have sex with a pig live on television. Will he or won’t he do it? And if he does do it, how will those watching feel? All kinds of darkness here. The best of the first season.

“Fifteen Million Merits” ⭐️⭐️⭐️
Episode#2 – Original Airdate: December 11, 2011

People work a stationary bike watching various TV shows all day long collecting “merits” and are subjected to forced ad watching. Heavier people are forced to work in more menial jobs. There is a reality game show mining every day people for talent. Has a very grinding, dark existence. Who would want to live in a world like this? The protagonist Bing tries to help a woman get noticed for her talent. Entertaining, yet depressing.

“The Entire History of You” ⭐️⭐️⭐️½   
Episode #3 – Original Airdate: December 18, 2011

What if everything you saw and did was recorded and instantly replayable through a memory implant? A man obsesses over what he thinks is his wife’s adulterous behavior. Is what he’s seeing and replaying what it looks like? A reminder that even if everybody had this technology, maybe some visions are not what they seem — or are they. Makes you really think how technology can divide people in a relationship. Good one.

Season One Overall Rating ⭐️⭐️⭐️½   

The stories are dark, compelling and thought-provoking. Some of the episodes are longer than necessary, with perhaps too much padding to reach a specific number of required minutes. This could be a totally amazing anthology show if they will tighten up in future seasons. Overall, a solid entertaining anthology show with a good technology hook that makes it different than others.

Also find it interesting that a single writer, Charles Brooker, is writing all the Black Mirror episodes. Rod Serling was responsible for major writing output on The Twilight Zone and many of the very best episodes he wrote. It’s great having multiple writers, but I think the series creator has the singular vision and it’s often helpful to these show’s quality seeing heavy output from the creator.