Netflix releases new interactive show: ‘Cat Burglar’ lets viewers choose the outcome

The streaming network now has 20 titles that audiences can influence the outcome of by using their remote control

A still from interactive Netflix show 'Cat Burglar' starring James Adomian as Rowdy and Alan Lee as Peanut. Photo: Netflix
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If you’ve ever watched a TV show and found yourself screaming at the main characters for their terrible decision-making, Netflix’s latest interactive offering puts the audience firmly in the director’s chair.

With Netflix's new interactive features, available on 20 shows, documentaries and films all accessible in the UAE, viewers can influence the outcome of the tale.

Cat Burglar is the newest addition to Netflix’s interactive slate.

Created by Charlie Brooker, the brains behind Black Mirror, the audience is invited to help Rowdy the cat evade Peanut the security dog as he tries to steal some paintings. With a series of questions to be answered using the remote control throughout the 15-minute-long show, getting the answers right or wrong will affect the direction the narrative takes.

“You’re controlling the luck of the character, rather than the decisions they’re making, if that makes any sense,” Brooker told The Guardian. “It’s a curious experiment, and I can’t quite work out how it will be received. It’s not aimed at children, although the idea was it’s not necessarily massively off-putting to children.”

Interact with 20 different shows

Netflix's interactive television titles include children's favourites and survival specials featuring Bear Grylls. Photo: Netflix

With hundreds of different outcomes on offer depending on how you answer, Cat Burglar joins the likes of The Boss Baby: Get That Baby!, Minecraft: Story Mode, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, and survival adventure You vs Wild: Out Cold, featuring popular British survivalist Bear Grylls.

In You vs Wild: Out Cold, the audience follows Grylls as he survives a plane crash but suffers from amnesia. The audience has to help him make the right choices to locate the missing pilot and survive not only the freezing temperatures but also the wild animals lurking in the frozen tundra.

“I’m about to embark on one of my most epic adventures, and this time you’re going to be in charge,” Grylls says in the trailer. “So, get packing, get ready, because every jungle, desert, mountain that I’m in, every decision is your decision. You’re going to dictate what I do.”

From personalised meditation to helping out ‘Puss in Boots’

December 2018 marked a turning point in interactive television, when the acclaimed techno-dystopian show Black Mirror released its Bandersnatch episode on Netflix.

The episode, set in 1984, allowed the audience to make decisions for the main character, a video programmer called Stefan Butler, as he adapts a “choose your own adventure” book into a video game.

While Bandersnatch wasn’t the first foray into collaborative entertainment, which began back in 2016 with the interactive film Late Shift, it signalled a new era in storytelling by streaming services, which now encompasses everything from children's TV favourite Stretch Armstrong, to making an escape from the spooky mansion of WWE star The Undertaker.

There’s also the chance to create your own personalised meditative show in Headspace: Unwind Your Mind, head to Shanghai to shadow a super-thief in Carmen Sandiego: To Steal or Not to Steal and dictate the action in children's favourite Puss in Boots, as he falls into a magic storybook in Puss in Boots: Trapped in an Epic Tale.

Type “interactive specials” into the Netflix search bar to find the full list of immersive shows

Updated: February 25, 2022, 11:58 AM