The new Netflix series Kaleidoscope grabbed everyone’s attention when its announcement happened. It was claimed to be a series that can be watched in any order according to the audience’s choice. This aspect intrigued me more than the content, as I wanted to know how they explained it. While the heist part seemed generic, this unique achievement which the makers claimed, wasn’t much of a wow factor as one could sense very quickly how they achieved it.
Giving you a summary of the plot of the series seems tricky as Netflix itself is jumbling the episode order for every audience. It’s basically about a heist that was in the planning for almost 24 years. Leo Pap is “The Professor,” and he wants to rob Roger Salas’s vault, which claims to be New York’s, perhaps the world’s safest vault. How he sets up his team and what happens in their plan of execution is what we see in Kaleidoscope.
First things first, how they managed to create something that can be viewed in any order? Well, if you look at the series, barring the “Heist” episode, none of the other episodes are trying too much of a back-and-forth narrative with a scenario from a different episode. And they have maintained a clear time gap between the events happening in each episode. 24 years before the heist, 5 weeks before the heist, 6 months after the heist, etc., are the episode timeline placements; hence, it feels more like a marketing gimmick than a writing table achievement.
The heist part of the series is actually very familiar. We have the mastermind who plans everything and recruits everyone for their talent. What seemed interesting about the content is how it tries to go beyond the end result of the heist. The track of the FBI agent Nazan Abbasi, the ethical dilemma of some characters involved in the heist, etc., looked interesting. I was hoping Eric Garcia would give some space for us to empathize with those characters for their personal struggles. But to our disappointment, the end of the journey of certain characters is pretty abrupt, and the anticipated emotional elevation is not there towards the end of the journey.
Breaking Bad fame Giancarlo Esposito plays the role of Leo Pap, and the timeline of events actually offers him a space to play various phases of his character. Even though the younger version’s makeup looked a bit shabby, he performed his part neatly. Rufus Sewell as the antagonist Roger Salas was fine. Spanish actor Paz Vega plays a crucial role in the series as Ava Mercer. Jai Courtney, Tati Gabrielle, Peter Mark Kendall, Rosaline Elbay, etc., are the other important names in the cast. Niousha Noor’s performance as the investigating police officer was pretty impressive.
Kaleidoscope is a series that constantly tries to add something different but eventually maneuvers itself toward familiar beats. With a wide character pool with very different sets of emotions, it had the scope to achieve something beyond the thrills of a heist drama. The peppiness of the genre makes it a watchable series for sure, but it rarely becomes compelling.
The peppiness of the genre makes it a watchable series for sure, but it rarely becomes compelling.
Green: Recommended Content
Orange: The In-Between Ones
Red: Not Recommended