Kaleidoscope: Kaleidoscope (miniseries, all episodes)
January 4, 2023 1:51 PM - Season 1 (Full Season) - Subscribe

Leo Pap (Giancarlo Esposito) teams up with with a hodgepodge of criminals to mastermind an audacious heist. But is he in it for the money? Or something else?

I like a good heist story. And I'll pretty much watch anything with either Giancarlo Esposito or Rufus Sewell (who plays his nemesis) on spec.

This was fine for light entertainment, but it was held back by hack writing (I was interrupting the characters to say "wow, that's some hack dialog") and an over-the-top safe to crack that defies suspension of disbelief. In spots, it felt like it was trying hard to evoke that Ocean 11 magic but wasn't up to the task; in other spots it gave some air to the more serious theme in the story about the futility of revenge.

One interesting aspect is that the episodes are not in chronological order, and in fact do not have episode numbers but colors.
posted by adamrice (15 comments total)
I watched two of these, mainly because of Giancarlo Esposito. But after a silly robbery of the NYC diamond district, a gang of really stock characters, and whacky dialog, I had to bail.
posted by Marky at 3:21 PM on January 4, 2023

We've watched one episode (yellow) and found it fun but not good. Agree that the diamond district robbery was over the top past the point of being entertaining. But for now, still planning to move forward!
posted by obfuscation at 5:28 AM on January 6, 2023

One interesting aspect is that the episodes are not in chronological order, and in fact do not have episode numbers but colors.

Apparently it's designed to be watched in any order you choose. Which bothers the heck out of me. I want to be told a story in the order that the writer chooses to tell it, I don't want to remix a story I haven't seen yet by picking random colors.

I'm reluctant to watch it for that reason and I can't choose how to watch it if I did (strict chronological order?) but I might eventually give it a try just because of Giancarlo Esposito.
posted by mmoncur at 3:33 AM on January 7, 2023

You can just let Netflix choose for you!
posted by obfuscation at 5:24 AM on January 7, 2023

I watched in the order Netflix recommended to me: green, yellow, blue, violet, orange, red, pink, white.

If I could do it over again, I wouldn’t go chronological, but I’d switch white and pink. White has some good reveals, but I like the closure of Pink.

Overall, it wasn’t *good*. I had it on while playing a game on my Switch. I don’t think it’s worth the full value of my time/attention, but at 50% off, it was a decent way to take a break from my normal YouTube background media.
posted by itesser at 10:53 PM on January 7, 2023 [1 favorite]

I do like the experimentation with structure but yes, it doesn’t make a lot of sense when you haven’t seen it, to just guess what order to watch them in? I just let Netflix do it and it felt fine.

I think it would have been a lot better if it had a sense of humor about itself as a work. It was a totally decent heist with some interesting relationships but god it was just so SERIOUS but not well-written enough to have any kind of actual gravitas. I felt like the songs over top the action in pink and white especially were trying to provide emotion that the writing should have done. It just felt a little underdeveloped in the writing but OVER-developed in the structure.

On the other hand, I basically will love a heist movie if it’s an overly-complicated plan and not terribly concerned with cop feelings, so on the genre level it works fine for me and my tastes.
posted by jeweled accumulation at 10:18 PM on January 8, 2023 [2 favorites]

I didn't even realize that you could watch in any order until I was almost done with the series. When one of the later episodes started it felt like I had missed something.

I primarily watched because of Giancarlo Esposito and I love a good heist. Didn't love it, didn't hate it. They were able to build up suspense a couple times.

One gripe I have about heist movies in general is the loose cannon character. Right away you know that Bob is going to be a problem so it becomes very predictable.

The de-aging technology is pretty funny to me.

Didn't care for the FBI agent.

Ava was interesting.

Did Stan really use his work truck? Rookie move.

What was the deal with the bees?

Judy was a cutie. Did she really do a prison visit to see her ex with her new man in tow? Ballsy.

I was wondering what happened to the dogs after Te-te was picked up. Glad they tied that up.
posted by mokeydraws at 9:00 AM on January 9, 2023

mokeydraws: "What was the deal with the bees?"

The deal with the bees was to foil the gait-analysis system. Even a rookie safecracker knows the only way to do that is with BEES!
posted by adamrice at 9:31 AM on January 9, 2023 [3 favorites]

I watched in Tarantino order. I wanted to be more in love with it than I ended up being. I just didn't care about any of the characters. They were all just so heist-movie-standard-issue.

And if Netflix wants me to pick an order, maybe don't have it automatically go to the next ep. It became a rush to exit back and re-pick.

Creative way to tell a story, but it's hard to watch a great who-dun-it like Glass Onion and then transition to this show.
posted by haplesschild at 2:41 PM on January 12, 2023

I followed what Netflix laid out order wise till the last three then did White, Red, Pink as otherwise they would’ve shown the heist as the last episode. What a bleak ending.
posted by jazon at 7:57 PM on January 15, 2023

I think I'm the only person who quite enjoyed this. I mean, it was schlocky and over the top, and some of the character choices were a bit silly, but I had fun. I do think the final fate of the characters was perhaps overly bleak, particularly Eva, but I thought it was a fun ride for the most part.
posted by Cannon Fodder at 3:09 AM on January 17, 2023 [1 favorite]

I spent a lot of time vacillating between whether the acting or writing was bad and eventually came down on the writing side. It was so humorless, flat and predictable.

I wanted to like this! I did not like this.
posted by fruitslinger at 5:06 PM on January 17, 2023 [1 favorite]

I really wanted them the stick the landing ( I watched in random order except the last three episodes)

They did not stick the landing. Not one Bit.
posted by Faintdreams at 12:53 PM on January 31, 2023 [1 favorite]

I watched in the order Netflix recommended to me: green, yellow, blue, violet, orange, red, pink, white.

I'm not done yet (and am aware I'm wandering into possible-spoilers-here territory and am fine with that) but I wanted to note that Netflix is giving these to people in different order and this is part of the gimmick of it. So the order above? That was not the order I got. Weird huh? This is, apparently noted in the trailer for the series. So far I am loving Giancarlo Esposito but am finding a lot of this just not that sophisticated for a 2023 heist movie. Also that weird creepy dude running the security firm? If you like him, he's in this Italian detective show from a long time ago called Zen, highly recommended. I'm watching til the end just so I can figure out why anyone wants to hang out with Bob? He was clearly such a liability after the diamond heist, I can't believe that they'd keep him just so they'd have that specific woman who otherwise won't work without him?
posted by jessamyn at 1:00 PM on March 4, 2023

Netflix served the first 5 to me in IMDB order: Yellow, Green, Blue, Orange, Violet. I had to stop and get some sleep as Violet was just starting to roll. So far that's been fine, but I think I'll make a point of ordering the final three in chronologically for myself.

If the writers and editors didn't put them in a specific order for a specific impact of the out-of-sequence chronology, there's no reason not to choose to finish it up that way.

It's fine, I'll finish the series. But after the initial thought "Oh that's interesting" when the trailer told me sequence would be random for different viewers, my next thought was that the intention of story tellers who withhold, backtrack, reveal with a sense of purpose would be missed.
posted by jaruwaan at 9:27 AM on May 11, 2023

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