Creator/showrunner Eric Garcia doesn’t care if viewers begin watching his Netflix heist show “Kaleidoscope” from a random episode in the middle — in fact, he designed it that way.
“I said, ‘I think with all this batch delivery [of episodes on streaming] there’s no reason you have to watch a show in order. Why can’t we watch it out of order?” Garcia told The Post. “And heist stories, which have always been my favorite genre, are always about loyalty and who is really on whose side, and shifting identities.
“For a show that’s meant to come into different characters at different times, and see them at different facets, it felt like a smart way to merge the two things: heist and nonlinear [storytelling].”
Premiering Jan. 1 and executive-produced by Ridley Scott, “Kaleidoscope” follows a group of characters getting together to pull off a high-stakes caper. There’s mastermind Leo Pap (Giancarlo Esposito); weapons specialist/ attorney Ava Mercer (Paz Vega); explosives expert Judy Goodwin (Rosaline Elbay); safe cracker Bob Goodwin (Jai Courtney); smuggler Stan Loomis (Peter Mark Kendall;, and driver RJ Acosta JR (Jordan Mendoza). They’re all seeking to rob former thief turned security titan Roger Salas (Rufus Sewell), and his protege, Hannah Kim (Tati Gabrielle).
Peter Mark Kendall as Stan Loomis, Paz Vega as Ava Mercer, Jai Courtney as Bob Goodwin, Rosaline Elbay as Judy Goodwin in “Kaleidoscope.” COURTESY OF NETFLIX
Rufus Sewell as Roger Salas in “Kaleidoscope.” COURTESY OF NETFLIX
Each episode has a color instead of a number (for instance, there’s “Yellow,” “Green,” etc.) instead of “Episode 1,” or “Episode 2.” Each Netflix viewer will get the episodes in a variety of orders (except for the finale, which is at the end for everyone).
“The one canonical place will be ‘White’ at the end, that essentially acts as the skeleton key as sorts,” said Garcia, who also wrote the novel upon which Ridley Scott’s 2003 movie “Matchstick Men” is based.
“Everybody will hopefully have a different viewpoint on the characters and the plot … The show really lives in the conversations between people, and on second viewings when you watch it in a different order.”
Paz Vega as Ava Mercer, Giancarlo Esposito as Leo Pap in “Kaleidoscope.”DAVID SCOTT HOLLOWAY/NETFLIX
A scene from episode “Yellow” of “Kaleidoscope.” CLIFTON PRESCOD/NETFLIX
Each episode takes place at a different point in time; for instance, one is set six weeks before the heist, one the morning after, another seven years in the past. The grand finale is the heist itself.
Garcia said he had several influences, including classic heist films such as the 1955 French movie “Rififi” as well as other nonlinear stories including “Pulp Fiction” and “Memento.” In order to pull off this unusual structure, he set up rules in his writers room and also filled it with “Whiteboards upon whiteboards. We probably broke the whiteboard budget for the show. It got kind of, ‘A Beautiful Mind’ up in there,” he said.
Tati Gabrielle as Hannah Kim in “Kaleidoscope.” CLIFTON PRESCOD/NETFLIX
“In a normal chronological series, we have our tricks as writers to build drama and suspense. We don’t have that. We are ceding the structure to the audience,” he said. “But at the same time, you have to be able to introduce people to characters in a way that grabs their attention, no matter when they’re watching.
“We looked at every episode as a pilot. One of the questions was, ‘If you saw this episode first, what do you think this show is about?’ We made sure that no matter what you watch first, it felt like … a different show. There’s an episode that starts 24 years in the past and you’re seeing that origin story. There’s an episode that starts with our FBI agent, and if you’re watching that, you’re thinking it’s about her.”
Giancarlo Esposito as Leo Pap in “Kaleidoscope.” DAVID SCOTT HOLLOWAY/NETFLIX
Paz Vega as Ava Mercer, Giancarlo Esposito as Leo Pap, Jai Courtney as Bob Goodwin, Peter Mark Kendall as Stan Loomis in “Kaleidoscope.” COURTESY OF NETFLIX
Garcia said he’s not worried about viewers potentially getting confused.
“I feel like we can trust audiences these days. There’s so much stuff on TV and I think people want something different,” he said. “Some people have been like, ‘I’m going to find out the order, and watch it chronologically.’ That’s fine, I don’t have a problem with it. There is no perfect order, as far as I’m concerned.
“There’s a percentage of people who will watch it just as a heist show, and that’s great,” he said “And there’s a percentage of people who are going to watch it and enjoy the out-of-order aspect, coming into it in different ways and discussing it with their friends. And there are people — and I count myself among them, usually — who get deep into the woods and start looking for easter eggs and clues and go online and on Reddit.
“I do hope that those exist as well.”