[TV REVIEW] Kaleidoscope’s unique viewing experience disappoints


Screen capture from Kaleidoscope official trailer at Netflix

LIGHTS, CAMERA, ACTION. Kaleidoscope was released on Netflix on Jan. 1, 2023 after building up hype across social media platforms.

Six theives, 25 years, and $7 billion.

Kaleidoscope is a Netflix original series released on Jan. 1, 2023. The show follows the story of six thieves over 25 years hoping to secure a historic $7 billion payday. The show stars Giancarlo Esposito, who found his fame spark from hit TV shows Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul, but his importance in the series is closely followed by Jai Courtney, Rosaline Elbary, Paz Vega, Peter Mark Kendall, Jordan Mendoza, Rufus Seawell, and Tati Gabrielle.

At first glance, Kaleidoscope does not seem to be an extraordinary show, but program creator Eric Garcia added a severe twist to its creation. Unlike any series on Netflix or other streaming services, Kaleidoscope‘s eight episodes can be watched in any order. This completely changes the viewing experience for each individual and creates a completely unique outlook on each character and their actions throughout the show.

Each episode is named after a color, a nod to the color most prominent in that specific episode. For example, in the episode titled “Yellow,” there is yellow smoke and a yellow flash drive that prove to be incredibly important to both that episode and the show as a whole.

Episodes “Violet,” “Green,” “Yellow,” “Orange” and “Blue” are all set before the heist, ranging from “Violet” taking place 24 years before the heist to “Blue” being just five days before. The “Red” episode is the morning after the heist, and the “Pink” episode is set six months later. The “White” episode is the day of the heist.

The idea of watching a show and formulating an opinion about it without any implications from the creator’s intent made Kaleidoscope explode across social media, specifically on TikTok. Influencers have made countless videos highlighting the series and its new idea, with some receiving millions of likes and thousands of comments.

The main argument circulating these videos is the correct viewing order. While some choose to be surprised, countless articles explain different ways to watch the series. Whether viewers choose to watch the series in chronological order, in order of their favorite color, or in a completely random fashion, most influencers and writers urge potential viewers to watch the “White” episode last, as they believe it provides the best wrap-up to the series without spoiling any build-up.

While Netflix did a fantastic job marketing the show, Kaleidoscope does not live up to the social media hype. I watched the show chronologically yet saved episode “White” for last and was underwhelmed. An underdeveloped plot, bland characters, and overused timelines produce a shaky, confusing storyline. Many of the characters tend to linger in the show’s background, making their presence unnatural and throwing off the entire vibe of the series.

While the show’s original idea did pick up interest across the globe, there were not any breathtaking moments or showstopping scenes. A better script and more outlined roles for each actor would have taken this series to the next level, and possibly even to the top of Netflix’s most-watched shows list.

While a few strong scenes, good cinematography, and somewhat-interesting dialogue do preserve the show and make it watchable, there are not many reasons to argue Kaleidoscope is a must-watch.

The idea of a unique viewing order and a few strong scenes do not distract from the fact that Kaleidoscope is an underdeveloped and disappointing Netflix series.

Rating: ★★★

If you liked Kaleidoscope, you might also like other Netflix original series like Money Heist or Squid Game.