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Black Mirror creators’ new series is a quiz show with Itchy & Scratchy cartoon violence

Netflix’s new interactive series is an ‘edgy, over-the-top, trivia toon’

Ryan Gilliam (he/him) has worked at Polygon for nearly seven years. He primarily spends his time writing guides for massively popular games like Diablo 4 & Destiny 2.

Cat Burglar, a new animated Netflix series all about a cat burgling a museum, is fully interactive — another entry in Netflix’s growing list of gamelike projects. Viewers will be able to select answers to trivia questions during the cartoon, which then dictates whether the character succeeds or meets a gruesome death. Cat Burglar is clearly inspired by classic Tex Avery cartoons, and comes from the creators of Black Mirror, who previously made the interactive film, Bandersnatch.

The trailer for the new Netflix show introduces Rowdy, the titular cat burglar, and Peanut, the “security pup” at the museum Rowdy is nicking paintings from. When Rowdy and Peanut interact — either with Peanut swinging in to stop Rowdy from stealing, or watching Rowdy attempt to get past a hallway filled with lasers — trivia will pop up on the bottom of the screen.

Players will need to answer rapid-fire questions, and a correct answer will see Rowdy proceed, at least for a moment. Viewers will need to select the correct answer multiple times in a row or Peanut will come along and punish Rowdy in grisly, but hilariously over-the-top fashion.

The trailer makes it seem like the series will exist somewhere between Tom & Jerry and its The Simpsons parody, Itchy & Scratchy. Rowdy can get taken down in far more gruesome fashion than just a bonk on the head, but we’re also not seeing Peanut inflate Rowdy’s eyes until they pop, filling the screen with blood.

The trailer promises the the show will be different each time players jump in, and there are clips of Rowdy warning viewers that he only has a few lives left. But the real question with Cat Burglar is how many times the average viewer will answer questions incorrectly just to see Rowdy be murdered in creative new ways.

Cat Burglar comes to Netflix on Feb. 22.

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