The new Netflix series Kaleidoscope has a twist

In other ways, streaming has fundamentally changed the business and aesthetics of television. As I wrote in 2015, the ability to give viewers the ability to exhaust themselves when they choose has fostered a form of storytelling that is more season-focused and less episode-focused.

Increasingly, television series over the past decade have aimed less at capturing viewers from the first few minutes and more at making them sink into quicksand. In conversation with Rolling StoneTony Gilroy, showrunner of the war of stars prequel series Andor on Disney+, dismissed “the idea that you have to wrap up every episode with an arc” and defended the series’ slow start as a necessary “investment.” (Granted, it’s easier to get audiences to make that investment when you’re selling one of the world’s most famous franchises.)

The dysfunctional Bluths from Arrested Development: out of commission.

The dysfunctional Bluths from Arrested Development: out of order.Credit:Netflix

All of this has made a difference for better and for worse. It has expanded television’s bag of tricks, giving creators the ability to create more unified long-form works. (Among other things, the streaming era was the heyday of the multi-hour limited series.) In other cases, the expectation of length is imposed where it’s not needed. One thing kaleidoscope In common with many streaming series, it feels like a 2 hour movie pitch repackaged and padded into a TV season.

For now, at least, streaming and television seem to meet in a middle that’s still converging, with elements of the media’s future and past. Talent is still flowing to streaming; Director Rian Johnson (knife out) is about to premiere its first series, poker face. But more as a mind-blowing narrative experiment in the form of his film grinderit’s a case-of-the-week detective story.


Netflix, amid recent signs that it can’t keep explosively growing forever, has introduced something it used to dread: a subscription tier with advertising. A decade ago, Netflix defined our current understanding of streaming. The next phase could be turning yourself into television.

This article originally appeared in The New York Times.

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Jaclyn Diaz

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