Netflix’s ‘Kaleidoscope’ Provides a Unique Viewing Experience

“Kaleidoscope” was Netflix’s first limited series to be released in 2023. It has an exciting premise where episodes can be viewed in any order. The trailer describes the episodes as puzzle pieces to put together.

“Kaleidoscope” follows several characters involved in an $7 billion heist. We meet the criminals who planned it, along with their backstories. The cast includes Paz Vega as Ava Mercer, and Giancarlo Esposito as Leo Pap, along with other well-casted stars. “Kaleidoscope” is full of plot twists and turns, but the reveal of these depends on the episodes one watches first.

Courtesy of Netflix.

Episodes are titled after colors. Instead of watching them in order of appearance or chronological order, I decided to watch them in order of the rainbow. I watched them in the following order: Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Violet, Pink, and White. Each episode features the titled color throughout the episode. Red begins in around the middle of the order of appearance. Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, and Violet are before the Red episode. After Red, the show ends with Pink and White episodes. The color of each episode is also featured in the title opening and end credits episode. I think this makes sense with the show’s overall theme, and I liked the usage of colors throughout each episode. 

My viewing experience was pleasant, although I do not know if it is the most optimal way to take in the story. The Red episode focuses on events after the heist. There was betrayal and discussion of characters that I did not know about due to starting at this point in the show. I like the element of confusion that came along with this, but I also wanted to be in the know. As I continued watching through the order of the rainbow, I gained more insight into the characters and their backstories. This order still made sense. I never felt completely lost, but I do think that the chronological order or order of appearance could be easier to follow.

The actors played their parts well and the suspense throughout the show was intriguing. Once I started watching, it was hard to stop. Netflix has had a lot of success in previous limited series such as “The Queen’s Gambit” (2020) and “From Scratch” (2021). “Kaleidoscope” is nothing less than another Netflix success. This show had elements that reminded me of the classic film “Pulp Fiction,” playing with the concept of time and using scenes out of chronological order to put together a puzzle. The variety of characters with intriguing backstories reminded me of “Money Heist” (2017), as well as a similar plotline. I enjoyed both and I think “Kalidescope” is an excellent representation of this type of show.

“Kalidescope” has had mixed reviews among critics. It currently has a 52% score on Rotten Tomatoes. According to The New York Times, “Kalidescope” is by no means revolutionary. “Let’s be honest, at this point, it’s not that interesting! A few years ago, sure; the series would have seemed like a bold experiment in the ways new technology might change TV.” The article continued to give examples of other shows that have successfully done a similar concept and decided that the “choose your own adventure” style is not revolutionary for 2023. I can understand this perspective, but if one likes crime dramas, I think that “Kalidescope” is worth the eight-episode watch to start off the New Year. 

By Meyshia Lantz

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