Is Kaleidoscope’s Episode Order Truly Random? and can we expect a season 2?

How to Watch Kaleidoscope’ on Netflix. A Complete Guide

There’s a lot that’s familiar in Netflix’s new limited series Kaleidoscope. It’s a heist story, and as such, it comes with many traditional beats: old grudges, team assembly, smaller missions that set up for the big one. But there’s one key way Kaleidoscope differs from similar shows you might’ve seen. You can watch the episodes in any order. 

Created by Eric Garcia. With Giancarlo Esposito, Rufus Sewell, Paz Vega, Rosaline Elbay.

Peter Mark Kendall, who plays Stan Loomis,says he received the “Green” episode first. He says castmate Paz Vega, who played Ava Mercer, also got this episode before the rest in their Netflix queue.

“I think Paz and I both started with ‘Green,’” Kendall says. “And of course it ended with White. I can’t remember exactly the order of the middle episodes. But again, there is no right order. So however people consume it: that’s perfect. You’re doing exactly the right thing.”

Niousha Noor, who portrays FBI agent Nazan Abassi discussed her viewing experience and she got “Green” followed by “Yellow”.

“My order was actually ‘Green’ first. And then it was ‘Yellow.’ And then I don’t remember the rest. I think I kind of just jumped around even though Netflix randomizes the order for you. But I was just so curious to see them because I hadn’t seen all the episodes before the premiere.” 

Noor reiterates that the randomized order being advertised by Netflix really encourages viewers’ curiosity. Rewatchability is something that should bring clarity to storylines people are confused about, or simply allow people at home to see the plot in an unexpected way, especially depending on where you begin the journey. 

“I rewatched it all ‘in order’ because I wanted to. It is that kind of show where it’s good to go back and rewatch everything. Depending on which color you watch first, you have a different idea of what the show is going to be about or who it’s focused on.”

How do I watch it chronologically?

In the spirit of the show, I’m going to skimp on episode descriptions as not to spoil anything. If you decide to watch Kaleidoscope chronologically, the episode order goes like this, starting with a young Vernon 24 years before the heist: 

  • Violet (24 years before the heist).
  • Green (7 years before).
  • Yellow (6 weeks before).
  • Orange (3 weeks before).
  • Blue (5 days before).
  • White (the heist).
  • Red (the morning after).
  • Pink (6 months after).

If you decide to go this route, however, know that any big finale twists will hit in the White episode. 

Are there other ways to watch?

If everyone has been doing the math correctly, seven episodes, with no repeats, that can be watched in any order should yield more than 5,000 options (there are even more options if you don’t watch White last). How many of those watch orders you want to try is between you and your calendar. 

Netflix tweeted some order suggestions, if you’re interested in watching Kaleidoscope as a Quentin Tarantino film — ostensibly a reference to nonlinear Tarantino films like Pulp Fiction — (Blue, Green, Yellow, Orange, Violet, Pink, White, Red) or like a classic detective story (Orange, Green, Violet, Red, Yellow, Blue, White, Pink).

How Kaleidoscope Season 2 Could Happen

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?

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Stevie Flavio
Film Writer


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