Welcome to 2019. I just got here myself, too.
I know we’re a week in already, but the statute of limitations on treating a new year like the New Year doesn’t lapse until the fat baby sings, or cries.
If “va-va-voom” means “interesting, exciting, or sexually appealing” (per dictionary.com), putting aside that last criterion, during New Year’s weekend, within three days of each other, I happened across two new ways of watching television that envision a dramatic shift in how we relate to video screens.
Surfing my iPad that Friday night, I noticed a new episode of surreal sci-fi series “Black Mirror” had suddenly appeared on the Netflix menu. The show is a latter-day “Twilight Zone” that cleverly explores the moral quandaries that 21st-century technology visits on us.
As I begin watching it, lolling lazily on my lounger, I see on the screen a pair of buttons labeled “Yes” and “No.” That’s cute, I thought. I didn’t bother to touch either button because, of course, it’s not like this is a video game or a website. It’s a TV show. Besides, the episode itself is about a video game creator, so the buttons displayed are in the context of the storyline. I get it.
Then, a couple of minutes later, two more boxes pop up: “Accept” and “Refuse.” Now I’m curious, so, just for laughs, I touch “Accept,” and the scene I’m watching starts to repeat itself. Well, I’ll be!
It was only the next day I discovered that this unannounced episode, titled “Bandersnatch,” was Netflix’s mostly secretive wide release of its first live-action interactive show. (Last year, it introduced a few animated titles for kids) I have yet to return to “Bandersnatch” to try its multiple endings, but I plan to.
On New Year’s Eve, I noticed that both ESPN and ESPN 2 had the same College Football Playoff game listed on their schedules. The difference was ESPN 2’s listing had the additional words “Command Center.”
Heady as I was from my Netflix “eureka!” moment, I became all excited, thinking maybe I could call plays in the live game from my lounger!
Instead, what I saw was cool enough. There were five windows displayed simultaneously on screen: two different angles of play action, two shots of the opposing coaches on the sidelines, and a data chart in the middle with key in-game statistics continually updated live as the action unfolded. It definitely made the viewing experience more compelling.
About the only thing missing were gambling odds on the game. How much you wanna bet that’s next?
Bruce “The Blog” Apar promotes local businesses, organizations, events and people through public relations agency APAR PR. He also is an actor, a community volunteer, and a contributor to several periodicals. Follow him as Bruce The Blog on social media. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or 914-275-6887.