At the Netflix Labs press event earlier in March, Netflix confirmed its ongoing commitment to interactive entertainment in several ways. Journalists at the event got advance peeks at a few more children’s shows that would let viewers pick their protagonist, or unlock areas on a map during viewing. One breakout session was devoted to the process behind the creation of Black Mirror: Bandersnatch, Charlie Brooker’s movie-length interactive Black Mirror episode. And during the event, Netflix revealed its plan for a new series called You Vs. Wild, an interactive spinoff of Bear Grylls’ Man Vs. Wild, starring Grylls in a variety of survival scenarios where viewers get to pick his next move.
The first trailer for the series has arrived, and it relies heavily on dramatic situations forcing dramatic choices, with Grylls barking “You decide!” at the viewers. He even implies that a wrong choice could have real consequences: “You’re in charge here! You’re on this journey with me! And if you don’t make the right choices, it might not end well for me!”
The drama in You Vs. Wild is naturally a little trumped-up, since to shoot a real choose-your-own-adventure-style branching narrative, Grylls would have had to play out both choices in any scenario, including the one that didn’t “end well.” And this particular narrative feels more like a video game than past Netflix interactive shows, opening up the potential for the whole thing to feel like a playthrough of Dragon’s Lair, with players trying to hit the right beats to keep their on-screen avatar alive. But while the entire story may be more based in fiction and theoreticals than Grylls’ actual wilderness survival in any given situation, the show’s over-the-top aesthetic and elaborate threat situations still look pretty entertaining and immersive.
You Vs. Wild launches on Netflix on April 10th.