Over the weekend, Netflix asked, “Will you play?”

We aren’t sure how to answer your question, Netflix, because we have absolutely no idea what you’re offering in the mysterious new teaser trailer for something called “Tamborine.”

On Saturday, Netflix released a 40-second teaser full of tambourines. The video itself literally just shows a few tambourines making noises against a black background, building a raucous tune before the music crescendoes. The instruments all fall to the ground in unison. We also get the promise that this new — whatever it is — is “coming soon” to Netflix.

Considering the tagline, “Will you play?” it certainly seems like whatever this is will have more interactivity than your standard Netflix fare.

To some extent, the floating instruments evoke some virtual reality vibes. In many VR experiences, the objects you hold often appear apart from any virtual representation of your body, sometimes along with a disembodied hand or two. Netflix already has a VR viewing experience that puts you in a virtual living room, and if this is some extension of that, calling it Tamborine would be an odd choice.

What's the deal with these tamborines?
What's the deal with these tamborines?

The far more likely explanation for Tamborine, however, comes from redditor aYearOfPrompts, who theorized on r/television that Tamborine might be a choose-your-own adventure show for adults.

The redditor cites a Bloomberg article from December that announced Netflix’s plans to develop one aimed at an older audience, though we haven’t heard more since then.

If you’re a parent with a child that ventures into Netflix’s “Kids” section, you might already know about Netflix’s interactive choose-your-own adventure stories tailored towards younger audiences: Puss in Book: Trapped in an Epic Tale and Buddy Thunderstruck: The Maybe Pile. The storytelling structure of each allows viewers to make a series of binary choices that alter the course of the branching narrative.

Viewers might choose who Puss fights or where he goes next with some storylines resulting in the “wrong” dead-end.

Puss has come a long way since meeting Shrek.
Puss has come a long way since meeting Shrek.

But if this is Netflix’s more mature interactive narrative, then why would they tease it with a bunch of instruments? The name and instruments could just be a misleading way to confuse viewers and potential “players.”

The traditional spelling of the instrument is also “tambourine,” which has led some to wonder if the alternate spelling is some kind of clue.

For what it’s worth, “Tamborine” is also the name of a mountain in Australia, but that probably has very little to do with musical instruments.

Other more trolling theories wonder if this is all tied to some elaborate Arrested Development joke, specifically referencing one of its lead actors, Jeffrey Tambor.

One of his characters (yes, he has two) on the show hid from his family for a time in Season 2, posing as a member of the Blue Man Group. Somehow, we think the Blue Man Group would probably appreciate the weird musical nature of this teaser.

In 'Arrested Development', Jeffrey Tambor's character once posed as a member of the Blue Man Group.
In 'Arrested Development', Jeffrey Tambor's character once posed as a member of the Blue Man Group.

Netflix did supposedly start filming Arrested Development Season 5 back in the summer of 2017, so the timing might coincide with this being a piece of early marketing for its release? But, to be honest, even that seems highly unlikely.

Right now, your guess is as good as anyone’s.


Netflix’s Tamborine will supposedly be released “soon.”