It’s hard to decide whether to think of Netflix’s Kaleidoscope as a groundbreaking novelty or as the kind of Ocean’s Eleven ordered on Wish. Perhaps a little of both is true.
Innovation is only partly innovation, because the fact that we can grind the string in an arbitrary – or even decided – order by us, It could be an innovation, if we hadn’t seen something similar in, say, Bear Grylls, or in Black Mirror (even if it wasn’t exactly about that). At the same time, it cannot be called a fixed habit in any way, so there is one point for Kaleidoscope.
The other question is how well the concept works. Still, that was enough to propel Kaleidoscope to the top of Netflix’s list – we’re not sure this would have happened in the same way as the “traditional” series.
The story does not contain many innovations, so much so that we cannot get rid of the kaleidoscope analogy mentioned in the introduction while watching the series. There’s not a lot of outstanding acting either, respect for the exception – and here we’d like to highlight the main character, Giancarlo Esposito, who plays Leo Papo, and Rufus Sewell, our favorite since The Man in the High Castle. – the story itself is quite banal, “let’s get a couple of greats together and have a big shot, also against someone who deserves it, plus a great success story”, which, let’s face it, doesn’t hint at a world-changing creation.
What can save it – and in part – is the centralization of the character in the story. At the very least, you want it to be character-centric, but the format makes that very difficult. The deepening of the characters cannot be—and will not be—complete in a work that has to be put together in such a way that the essence comes through no matter where you look at it. I have no doubt that out of a total of 40,320 different running sequences (it is no exaggeration, the series can be seen in many guises, more precisely, if we put the “white” at the end, there are still more than five thousand) that works. Perhaps the creators also started from this version – in the order they suggested, it might work perfectly. For obvious reasons, we couldn’t check them all out.
About the above story approx. We said the essence in one sentence. In two other sentences, An elderly prison thief, Leo Papp (Giancarlo Esposito), is preparing for his last big throw, a seven billion dollar party, and he must recruit a teamsuch as “experts” in the required subfields of burglary.
The individual episodes are organized in such a way that we move on different temporal scales: sometimes before the big robbery, sometimes after, the events sometimes take place in a jumbled fashion in terms of chronological order., shows the past, present and future, motives and consequences, from the perspective of different characters, not only from the perspective of the protagonists, but also from the perspective of the team members (Rosalyn Elpay, Paz Vega, Tati Gabriel, Jai Courtney and Peter Mark Kendall). Rings that in principle do not depend on each other are distinguished by color. There is one rule: “white” should be left for the end. We left ourselves to chance, which gave the story away – I obviously could have intervened if I wanted to, but I had the intention of leaving myself to chance.
Of the characters, we know the most about Leo, who naturally gets the most playtime, and we’ve already managed to get a full picture of the man behind the bank robber with him. Given the randomness of the storytelling and the lack of time, the others can’t be said to be so lucky, and there are also particularly cliched, predictable characters: especially the problematic member of the service, Bob (Jai Courtney), whose behavior is almost painfully predictable.
One of the main questions is whether the story has enough possibilities for you to go through it again in a different order, and thus limit how much you get from a different experience that way? Well, we’re not sure about that – I’m sure I won’t waste time on this again, but there are definitely experimental people who will. Not long after the series premiere, of course, more and more suggestions of “perfect” orders were circulating on the Internet, thus providing additional (free) Kaleidoscope appearances as well as critiques – to the delight of the marketers, I think. At the same time, even with this, in the collection that we will abandon after the “first” two episodes, due to its nature, story management, character development and introduction fail, and with the exception of the two protagonists, we do not even see outstanding acting.
Despite all these children’s ailments, Kaleidoscope is worth a try – who knows, maybe there is someone who will shoot the winning combination and get experience from the series that unfortunately is not given to us.
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