'Bandersnatch,' Black Mirror's Choose-Your-Own-Adventure Episode, Is Now on Netflix

Stuart Hendry, Netflix
Stuart Hendry, Netflix

If you’re looking for some more psychological torment to follow up your recent viewing of Bird Box, Netflix has just the fix for you. As Variety reports, the streaming service just dropped a much-anticipated Black Mirror episode with an interactive, choose-your-own-adventure narrative.

The standalone installment, titled "Bandersnatch," could last as little as 40 minutes or longer than the average viewing time of 90 minutes, depending on the viewer’s choices. Options will be shown at the bottom of the screen, and viewers will have about 10 seconds to make a decision. According to Variety, there are trillions of unique combinations but only five possible endings. If a viewer makes several “wrong” choices and strays too far from the intended outcome, they will be given the option of a do-over.

As the trailer indicates, the episode is set in 1984 and follows a teen programmer named Stefan (played by Fionn Whitehead, of Dunkirk) who wants to turn a choose-your-own-adventure book called Bandersnatch into a computer game. The word bandersnatch was invented by Lewis Carroll, who used it to describe a curious creature in the 1872 book Through the Looking-Glass and What Alice Found There, and in Black Mirror, Bandersnatch the game is an Easter egg: According to Bustle, it was briefly referenced in the season 3 episode "Playtest."

In true Black Mirror fashion, things start to get creepy when Stefan learns that the author of the book he's trying to turn into a game went crazy and murdered his wife. Meanwhile, Stefan is also struggling to keep track of what’s real and whether he actually has free will. At one point, he seems to become aware that someone else is making his decisions for him—a plot twist that led Stuart Heritage of The Guardian to deem "Bandersnatch" a “meta masterpiece.”

As for the endings: “One is bleak. One is hilarious. One is abrupt and creepy,” Heritage writes. And those are only three of the five possible outcomes. We don’t want to spoil the fun, so you’ll just have to watch it for yourself and compare notes with friends who may have gotten different versions of the same episode.

In the meantime, the premiere date of season 5 has yet to be announced. However, filming began in March 2018, so we might be seeing some new Black Mirror episodes in 2019.

[h/t Variety]

Wayfair’s Fourth of July Clearance Sale Takes Up to 60 Percent Off Grills and Outdoor Furniture

Wayfair/Weber
Wayfair/Weber

This Fourth of July, Wayfair is making sure you can turn your backyard into an oasis while keeping your bank account intact with a clearance sale that features savings of up to 60 percent on essentials like chairs, hammocks, games, and grills. Take a look at some of the highlights below.

Outdoor Furniture

Brisbane bench from Wayfair
Brisbane/Wayfair

- Jericho 9-Foot Market Umbrella $92 (Save 15 percent)
- Woodstock Patio Chairs (Set of Two) $310 (Save 54 percent)
- Brisbane Wooden Storage Bench $243 (Save 62 percent)
- Kordell Nine-Piece Rattan Sectional Seating Group with Cushions $1800 (Save 27 percent)
- Nelsonville 12-Piece Multiple Chairs Seating Group $1860 (Save 56 percent)
- Collingswood Three-Piece Seating Group with Cushions $410 (Save 33 percent)

Grills and Accessories

Dyna-Glo electric smoker.
Dyna-Glo/Wayfair

- Spirit® II E-310 Gas Grill $479 (Save 17 percent)
- Portable Three-Burner Propane Gas Grill $104 (Save 20 percent)
- Digital Bluetooth Electric Smoker $224 (Save 25 percent)
- Cuisinart Grilling Tool Set $38 (Save 5 percent)

Outdoor games

American flag cornhole game.
GoSports

- American Flag Cornhole Board $57 (Save 19 percent)
- Giant Four in a Row Game $30 (Save 6 percent)
- Giant Jenga Game $119 (Save 30 percent)

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The Office Writers Considered Making Michael Scott a Murderer, According to Greg Daniels

NBCUniversal, Inc.
NBCUniversal, Inc.

Greg Daniels is best known as the showrunner of The Office, a job that earned him two of his four Emmys. As reported by Screen Rant, the acclaimed creator dished in a recent interview with The Guardian about why the American version of the much-loved show almost wasn't made, along with a proposed plot twist for Michael Scott that forced Daniels to put his foot down.

"The UK version hadn’t finished airing and I’d never heard of it. My agent sent me a VHS tape of season one. It had a somewhat boring title so I didn’t look at it. He told me he wanted to show it to someone else if I wasn’t interested, so I popped it in. I watched the entire first series that evening," Daniels said.

As the show really got going after Steve Carell's role in The 40-Year-Old Virgin made him a household name, Daniels said some ideas in the writers room got too wacky for their own good. He recalled one particular instance, saying, “There were times where [the writers] would become enamored with a joke, and I'd have to put my foot down. For instance, they really wanted Michael to kill Meredith with his car. That was an early pitch, where he runs her over in the parking lot and then comes back, gets a tire iron and finishes the job. I was like, 'You can’t do that, that’s crazy!'”

Michael being a murderer certainly would have changed the tone of the show, so it makes sense that it never happened. Imagine the courtroom scenes we would have had to endure! The Scranton Strangler storyline would have paled in comparison.

[h/t Screen Rant]