Tonight, HBO is premiering a new experimental TV show called Mosaic. It’s a six-part miniseries murder mystery airing Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday (concluding with a two-part finale.) The story is also told via an app that was released in November and is available on iOS or Android. But some viewers are still a little confused about how this all works. If they’re watching on TV, do they still need to watch it on the app too? Or if they already watched via the app, should they watch it on HBO starting tonight?
The app is complementary to the TV series, so if you haven’t used the app yet, don’t despair. You definitely don’t need to try to watch the seven-plus hours of footage before the show airs tonight. Instead, sit back and watch the show this week. After it ends, go back to the app and get a deeper, richer perspective on the show. The app presents storylines from different characters’ perspectives, and you’re not quite sure who’s story you can trust. You get to choose how you watch the show and which characters’ perspectives you see, kind of in a choose-your-own adventure fashion (except the ultimate ending never changes.)
“The outcome and the events of the story don’t change based on your choices” Soderbergh said. “It’s merely what information do you have about the story based on what you’ve been following. Some people like to just keep making choices and get to the end of a path, some people like to mine sweep, jumping between separate characters in chronological order.”
The app presents short clips in eight- to 38-minute increments. Everyone starts by watching a clip called “Meet Olivia Lake.” Then you choose what path to follow and how much of the story you want to see. At the end of each clip, you’re given a screen that shows two characters and you follow whichever arc you’re most interested in. The app has more than seven-and-a-half hours of content. The TV series, meanwhile, has six episodes of about 50 minutes each. USA Today describes the app that accompanies the TV show as a “fun supplement that enhances the standard whodunit with new scenes and new perspectives.” But if viewers only watch the TV series, they’ll still be satisfied with what they see.
The TV series tells the story in a strictly linear fashion. So although the app was released first, it might actually be more enjoyable to watch the TV series first and then fill in the blanks and gaps by watching on the app. If you’ve already used the app, you’ll still want to tune in on HBO to see a different director’s-type telling of the mystery, and compare that experience to the app.
Check out the trailer for Mosaic below: