Starring: Giancarlo Esposito, Rufus Sewell, Paz Vega, Rosaline Elbay, Jai Courtney, Tati Gabrielle, and Peter Mark Kendall
Creator: Eric Garcia
I love me some Giancarlo Esposito. And I love me a good heist. But, apparently, a Giancarlo Esposito-led heist series doesn’t guarantee greatness. Netflix’s Kaleidoscope banks on his charm and the heist’s inherent intensity to hook you to something that, without its randomized episode order, would be no more than a predictably generic caper. I started with a non-chronological view of the past, then a chronological post-heist reveal before the finale; that helped build more tension and greater connection to the crew. Filling in those missing pieces out of order covered for, when viewed in order, a formulaic story.
Order watched: Yellow, Green, Blue, Orange, Violet, Red, Pink, White
While Kaleidoscope's unique and clever storytelling approach delivers an engaging, binge-worthy watch, I’m sad to report that the end result does not reach its full potential, leaving me unsatisfied. Don’t get me wrong, the concept is fascinating. Telling a story by jumping to different time periods within these characters’ lives, leading to an elaborate heist, is such a brilliant and distinctive way to tell a story like this; however, the last few episodes about the heist and its aftermath are just weak and not fleshed out enough to tie the series together coherently.
Order watched: Yellow, Green, Orange, Violet, Blue, Red, Pink, White
As a gimmick and narrative, Kaleidoscope doesn’t completely work. The “watch-the-episodes-in-any-order” approach means that the viewer will inherently lose tension and mystery depending on the order watched. Also, given the bingeable structure and episode formatting (i.e., “Seven Years Before the Heist,” “Five Days Before the Heist,” etc.), it’s not always easy to remember when in the timeline key plot points are subtly hinted at, making certain revelations less clever than they could be. Still, all that aside, Giancarlo Esposito is never not compelling, Jai Courtney is always a fun loose cannon, and there are enough episodic heist elements to keep fans of the genre engaged.
Order watched: Green, Yellow, Blue, Violet, Orange, Red, Pink, White