Okay, so Tinder is getting into the streaming TV business, which is surely one of the first signs of the apocalypse. In fact, its first show – Swipe Night (clever) – is actually going to be about the apocalypse, which might be a sign they realise what it’s about to unleash upon the world.
“Now that half of Tinder members are Gen Z (18-25), we’ve built an entire experience that speaks their language. We can’t think of a better way to break the ice than over emojis and the apocalypse,” Tinder said on its website.
The series will have a Black Mirror’s Bandersnatch–style structure, allowing the audience to swipe left or right to make narrative decisions. In a way, it’s genius. But where things get slightly scary is the dating element: the app will track your decisions so it can match you with people who make the same choices.
So let’s say you decide to run away from a zombie. The app will match you with someone who made the same (cowardly?) choice.
We’re not sure what this means for the future of the human race genetically when the inevitable zombie apocalypse arrives, but there’s something slightly sinister (and possibly fun) about a piece of technology encouraging you to date someone who makes the same survival decisions as you. It almost feels like a Black Mirror episode of its own.
Unlike Bandersnatch, this won’t be a one-off episode, it’s a six-instalment series that’ll last over two hours, so a little longer than the show’s default run-time. However, Bandersnatch lasts significantly longer depending on the options you chose, and it’s not clear if Tinder will take you back to the beginning if your decision leads to your fictional death/romantic death.
It’s not the first time a streaming service has been linked to dating, of course – think ‘Netflix and chill’ – but it’s still a major step forward for people who like watching stuff and don’t want to die alone.
“Seven years ago, Tinder revolutionised the way we meet with the invention of its Swipe feature. Now, with Swipe Night, we’re proud to be pushing the envelope again, by letting people connect in ways they can’t anywhere else,” said Tinder CEO Elie Seidman.
“The level of innovation, interactivity and immersiveness in the Swipe Night adventure is unprecedented in the dating space, and we’re excited to continue experimenting with new ways to connect on the Tinder app.”
Budgeted at $5 million, and shot on location with unknown actors, Swipe Night is directed by the award-winning 23-year old Karena Evans, whose music videos for Drake have caused a bit of a sensation, with viral hit ‘In My Feelings’, ‘I’m Upset’, and ‘Nice For What’ being especially popular.
Evans also called the shots on the pilot episode of Starz stripper drama P-Valley.
“We jumped at the chance to work with a brand like Tinder,” Evans said. “They gave us the opportunity to experiment with new ways to tell a story with a highly-engaged, diverse community that’s incredibly open-minded.”
She’s listed the Tinder project as being a ‘Branded & Commercial’ project on her website, as opposed to being straight television, which makes sense. Though Tinder do apparently have an ambition to make it a traditional televisual experience, with producers looking to link up with a normal broadcast platform/streamer, after the show’s first run on the app.
Obviously a traditional network would struggle to deliver the multiple-choice element of the show, so it’s not clear if the series will play out without those elements in a freshly edited version, or if Tinder will lean towards a streamer, but it’ll be fascinating to find out.
And, as much as we’re joking about it now, with Evans involved, the project will almost certainly be shot stylistically and her talent will add a layer of cool to a brand that’s become a bit of a punchline in recent years.
Still, with the streaming service market already massively crowded, we really do hope this isn’t the start of a trend: UBER: Confessions, App Store Sweep, and Google Maps Presents: Lost are all viewing experiences we desperately don’t want to have.
And there’s one other element that possibly hasn’t been considered by the app. Swipe Night could potentially end relationships – try explaining to your partner that you’ve only downloaded Tinder for the entertainment content and see how far that gets you.
Swipe Night begins on Tinder on October 6.
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