This article contains spoilers for Kaleidoscope season 1.
In terms of creative TV structure, Netflix’s latest hit series Kaleidoscope is about as unique as they come. The show’s eight episodes (all named after colors naturally) follow the years, months, and days leading up to and after a grand heist and can be viewed in any order.
Only the eighth and final episode, “White,” has a consistent placement at the end of Netflix subscribers accounts. The remaining seven are presented in a random order for viewers to take in at the mercy of the algorithm’s suggestion, or to construct their own machete order of events.
While the way Kaleidoscope elects to present itself is unusual and rare, the story its eight episodes end up telling is surprisingly both conventional and conclusive. When presented in a strict chronological fashion, Kaleidoscope is a familiar genre story about the planning, execution, and fallout of a heist. It has all the twists and turns one might expect from this kind of story to go along with a properly climactic ending…or in Kaleidoscope‘s case, endings.
By the time the credits roll on either The White Episode (which details the heist) or The Pink Episode (which details six months after the heist) it’s quite clear that Kaleidoscope‘s story is definitively finished by just about any metric. Three heist participants are clearly dead. Their leader is also probably dead. The target of their criminal act is in prison. The FBI agent tasked with tracking them all down is off the job. The money itself is back with the billionaires they attempted to take it from and the woman who put it all into motion is living out her happily ever after. Roll credits!
This was all clearly designed to be a one-season experience. The story is over. But that doesn’t necessarily mean that the Kaleidoscope experiment has to be…
Though everything about Kaleidoscope screams “one season miniseries,” part of me can’t help but wonder whether the nature of its format and the success it led to is too much for Netflix to ignore. And if they decide to do so, there are certainly some routes they could take. Allow me to explain.
Prior to the premiere of Kaleidoscope, Netflix released a brief making-of clip about the series that included some soundbites from creator Eric Garcia.
In one notable quote, Garcia says that “the idea for the series started from a structural place.” This is a refreshingly open and honest bit of insight as many creatives might try to claim that story took precedent over structure in the creation of a TV series. Here, Garcia instead acknowledges the obvious that the “gimmick” at play is kind of the whole point. That’s not to say that he and his team of writers didn’t then go about making a narratively sound television experience but rather that the structure came before story in this particular “chicken or the egg” conversation.
The story of Kaleidoscope isn’t an afterthought but it is secondary to its structure. And that’s alright! The creators of 24, another structure-centric TV success story, once admitted that they almost applied their 24-hour TV show gimmick to a story about a wedding before they settled on a spy thriller format. Kaleidoscope‘s structural focus means that perhaps the show doesn’t necessarily even need to bother with the same story if it wants to craft a second season. If its structure is what makes Kaleidoscope work then why couldn’t the show return for a second season that either tells a completely new story or at least offers a new take on the fringes of its first story?
We ran this theory past a handful of Kaleidoscope season 1 actors and their desire to continue working within the Kaleidoscope universe was unanimous.
Niousha Noor, who plays FBI agent Nazan Abbasi, was the first to mention the “A” word.
“It would definitely be an anthology series. I don’t think it would be related to Kaleidoscope but I don’t know. That’s up to Netflix but I definitely see a world where it could be the same format but with different stories. I would love to work with the team again.”
Paz Vega, who plays complicated criminal Ava Mercer, imagined a scenario in which her season 1 character could return from beyond the grave.
“I will jump immediately if they call me for the second season. I don’t know in which way – maybe as zombie or a spirit. Also, maybe we can we can go back in time. I don’t know. I would be more than happy and grateful to be in this amazing show again.”
For his part, Stan Loomis actor Peter Mark Kendall was eager for the show to continue in any capacity at all.
“We have no idea about any kind of continuation in terms of the series. But I don’t feel out of line saying that all of the actors would would be thrilled to be back. We just had had the best time.”
Whether Garcia, Netflix, or any other Kaleidoscope decision-maker feels compelled to try out season 2 remains to be seen. But when a compelling structure is already in place, finding the right story to tell within it seems like less of a challenge to confront.
All eight episodes of Kaleidoscope are available to stream on Netflix now.