Interactive Black Mirror spin-off Bandersnatch aired at the start of 2019, and its ‘choose your own adventure’ approach to television is shaking things up.
Not only is it an uncomfortably close-to-home comment on the bleak effects of technology, it’s also a brand new approach to narrative that hasn’t been seen before; at least not on TV.
Which begs the question: which other television shows deserve to be ‘bandersnatched’ away down a different path? Oh, and this piece obviously contains spoilers (for this universe).
Friends: help Rachel choose Joey instead of Ross
One of the more frustrating plot-lines of Friends is the fact that Ross ‘douchebag’ Geller – an insufferable man who exists as the human embodiment of an entry on the @beam_me_up_softboi instagram account – gets so much airtime from Rachel. When he’s not fretting over his son playing with Barbie dolls, Ross can most commonly be found stalking his girlfriends when they go out for lunch with male friends, and dating his own students. And yeah, while his romantic gesture of turning up at the airport to win back Rachel at the last minute does make for bloody good telly, let’s not forget that he also started up a club called the ‘I Hate Rachel Green Club’ at school because – shock horror – she was rude enough not to fancy him. Prick.
Things could’ve been different if Rachel had ended up with lovely Joey Tribbiani instead of sacking him off to get back with dreary old Ross. Forget banging on about different types of river sediment the whole time; Joey is a far better catch. We’re talking about a titan here: the sort of man who can eat an entire Thanksgiving turkey by himself, proudly wears a satchel despite close-minded bullying from his peers, and occasionally goes by the nickname “big daddy”. An absolutely fitting suitor for the woman who inspired a million ’90s hair-cuts. If only things had happened differently. And now it can!
The L Word: kill off Jenny Schecter
Besides the hauntingly off-kilter harmonies that pepper the theme tune, the worst thing about The L Word (a hyper-dramatic TV show which follows a group of filthy rich lesbians in LA) is undoubtedly Jenny Schecter. A vindictive and attention-seeking menace – who believes that having a fringe and a worrying obsession with manatees is a substitute for a likeable personality – her presence curses the entire series.
If I could have my time again with the ability to Bandersnatch the show’s plot, I’d choose for her to trade places with racket-slinging national sweetheart Dana Fairbanks. That way Jenny could meet her deserved demise way back in season one – sparing us an entirely unnecessary murder mystery further down the line – and Dana could continue playing tennis and snogging cute pastry chefs for many, many episodes.
Antiques Roadshow: crush WASP dreams!
There’s always one tweed-clad rich wanker who turns up on Antiques Roadshow, isn’t there? You know the sort; eagerly clasping a 400-year-old family heirloom in their sweaty little paws, hoping to cash it in on national television so that they can buy little Tarquin his fourth yacht? It’s just embarrassing: aside from the fact they clearly don’t need the money anyway, rocking up at a stately home to act all surprised about an expensive item is classic attention-seeking tory conduct. We get it, you’ve got a Clarice Cliff teapot. Now piss off.
Wouldn’t it liven things up no end if we had the ability to send Fiona Bruce and her panel of experts absolutely rogue, in the press of a button. “Nelson’s 18th-century sword..” she begins with a smirk. “Oh no, this is just a plastic replica of the Sword of Gryffindor from the gift shop at Harry Potter World. Value: £2.50”. Tarquin throws a tantrum. “Mummy” and “daddy” both faint. Justice is served.
Sex and the City: make Carrie sack Big off
Infuriating as Carrie Bradshaw may be (for starters, how the hell does a freelance journalist manage to fund a modest apartment on the upper east side with just one newspaper column: if anyone knows her secret, DM me) many of her self-doubts stem from her attraction to Big. Not too much shade on Big, actually – he’s actually pretty upfront about his commitment issues – but Carrie probably would’ve been better off sticking with Aiden?
Why? Well, with his turquoise ring collection, leather chokers, and love of vaguely worded philosophical questions – see: “You gave me a key, but when are you gonna let me in” – he’s New York’s very own male fashionista with a penchant for asking the big questions.
Aiden and Carrie are made for one another. Plus, he makes his own furniture, while Mr Big gets called “the next Donald Trump”. A very straightforward choice in the world of bandersnatch TV.
I’m a Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here: we choose the trials
This show sort of follows a Bandersnatch format anyway. Viewers are already able to gleefully select the most gruesome bushtucker trials, along with ringing up a sort of Hunger Games hotline where it’s possible to sentence minor celebrities to national humiliation. But what if things got 100 times more Black Mirror?
Look, given the choice between watching a) Noel Edmonds munch on one grasshopper b) Noel Edmonds wrestling with a malevolent Mr Blobby who has sought out the jungle to seek revenge on his creator; the very man who spawned his miserable custard-hued existence in the first place, we all know what the correct option is, don’t we?
Good Morning, Britain: Piers control
Currently, steaming hot turds fly out of Pier Morgan’s mouth every time he speaks, leaving Susanna Reid to play his weary but amiable on-camera antagonist. Think along the lines of lots of dramatic eye-rolls and tutted replies of “oh Piers, stop being a racist bastard” while frantically trying to scrape the evidence out of shot.
Given the choice, would you swap Piers’ hot-takes for Greggs vegan sausage rolls? You know it makes sense.