Creator Eric Garcia intended his new Netflix show Kaleidoscope to be something his audience can participate in—and that’s exactly what we got. The resulting heist drama starring Giancarlo Esposito is an elaborate choose-your-own-adventure story that invites viewers to put the pieces together as they watch the show. Each episode is titled with a color, rather than a number, which influences the tone and visuals of each part of the story.
The episodes are said to be arranged randomly for each viewer, except for the finale, which appears last. Netflix says that “the order in which [viewers] watch the episodes will affect their viewpoint on the story, the characters, and the questions and answers at the heart of the heist.”
So, there are a lot of potential ways to watch everything unfold, but before you see the series, how would you know? Try reading the suggestions below and deciding what sounds fun for you.
Watch in chronological order.
The episode titled “White” is designed to function as a the finale, revealing the answers to a lot of questions throughout the show. It is not intended to be in any order except last, because it will spoil some things in other episodes. But it is not the actual ending of the story in the chronological sense. To see things along a linear timeline, the order is as follows:
“Violet,” “Green,” “Yellow,” “Orange,” “Blue,” “White,” “Red,” “Pink.”
The overall story spans over two decades, so if you were to get the exact dates of each episode, they are:
Violet: 24 years before
Green: 7 years before
Yellow: 6 weeks before
Orange: 3 weeks before
Blue: 5 days before
White: present (the heist)
Red: 1 day after
Pink: 6 months after
Again, this is not how Eric Garcia wants people to watch the show. It might, though, be a satisfying way to review the show if you’ve already gone through it another way. There are a lot of moving pieces, so one final review in chronological order will probably clear up some things that you didn’t catch on the first viewing.
Be random as hell.
Some Redditors have said that logging into Netflix on different devices has presented the order of the episodes to them differently. It still generally suggests “White” last, the episode that shows the heist itself and everything that goes wrong. Go with whatever the algorithm offers and see what happens.
Another option is to just hit random episodes for yourself and experiment. The possible downside of this is that you might end up watching an episode and not really know (or care about) who anyone is. Part of watching a show is getting familiar with character dynamics, their background and motives, and why what they’re doing matters, so jumping in at the highest stakes moment could feel anti-climatic. However, these characters are all played by very engaging actors and the set pieces will suck you in to wonder what happens next.
Go heist first.
Starting with “White” and watching the heist first is exactly the kind of problem described above. Viewers will suddenly be dumped into the culmination of all the plotting and planning and not know who is who and what is what. It might make you inclined to investigate.
Similarly, “Red” shows the immediate aftermath of the heist and could offer many of the same mysteries to unravel without spoiling what happens at heist time.
Try rainbow order.
Watching the episodes in the ROYGBIV order seems like it might unlock some secret way to enjoy the series, except there’s no “Indigo” episode. Sub in “White” there and see what happens. Or sub in “Pink” and never watch the heist episode at all.
Starting with “Red” means starting with the moment of extreme crisis, then “Orange” downshifts into heist planning stages. This order will definitely jump around the highs and lows.
Watch it in reverse.
That would mean: “Pink,” “Red,” “White,” “Blue,” “Orange,” “Yellow,” “Green,” “Violet.”
Starting with “Pink” means seeing where everyone ends up and then going back through to how they got there. If you want to honor Garcia’s vision, you can still save “White” for last, or put it back where it belongs chronologically after “Red.”
This lets characters age in reverse, come back to life, and arrive at the moment that sets them off in the wrong (or right) direction.
Start with the heist coming together.
The story centers around a man who is trying to get revenge on his former crime partner, and that set-up is covered in “Violet.” All that background adds a lot of context for why the heist is happening, but it might be more fun to start with just the group being assembled, like in classic heist film Ocean’s 11. In that case, start with “Yellow,” where Leo (Esposito) brings together cast Paz Vega, Rosaline Elbay, Peter Mark Kendall, and Jordan Mendoza. That way you can watch the rest of the show with some idea of who everyone is and their relationship to one another.
Then going back to “Violet” and “Green” will give more context or can be sprinkled in when you feel ready to know more about Leo and why he’s so determined to break into these particular vaults.
If you’re looking for more potential lineups, Netflix even tweeted a few order suggestions to try.
Aimée Lutkin is the weekend editor at ELLE.com. Her writing has appeared in Jezebel, Glamour, Marie Claire and more. Her first book, The Lonely Hunter, will be released by Dial Press in February 2022.