Cat Burglar: what is interactive Netflix cartoon from Charlie Brooker, UK release date and how to watch on TV

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Cat Burglar, a new interactive cartoon from Black Mirror creator Charlie Brooker, is coming to Netflix on Tuesday 22 February.

The one-off special, which is inspired by classic Tex Avery cartoons, is a sort of Bandersnatch-esque trivia quiz.

Here’s everything you need to know about Cat Burglar.

What is it about?

Cat Burglar is about Rowdy – a literal cat burglar – trying to steal museum valuables from under the nose of security pup Peanut.

For the viewer (or, if you like, participant) Cat Burglar is an interactive trivia quiz – you have to answer quiz questions correctly to help Rowdy steal paintings. If you get them right, he gets away with it, but if you get them wrong, Peanut kills Rowdy with grisly cartoonish violence.

Netflix has said that Cat Burglar has “an average runtime of fifteen minutes,” but promises “over an hour and a half of animation to explore”.

The art style is inspired by classic Tex Avery cartoons. Avery was an animator who played a key part in the creation of characters like Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Porky Pig, and Elmer Fudd amongst many others.

Who is in the cast?

James Adomian stars as Rowdy the Cat Burglar. Adomian is a comedian and voice actor best known for touring the US pretending to be Bernie Sanders.

He’s joined by Alan Lee as Peanut the Security Pup, and Trevor Devall who plays the Museum Director.

Is there a trailer?

Yes, there is. You can see it, and the classic cartoon scrapes Cat Burglar gets into, right here.

Is it essentially a video game?

Basically, yes.

Is this all just a massive data-mining exercise for Netflix?

Again, basically yes. Much like Bandersnatch (which, notably, Netflix pitched to Brooker rather than vice versa), Cat Burglar will offer Netflix a great deal of real-time information about choices made by the viewer. Even the most seemingly inconsequential decision offers advertising insight for Netflix, which is as much – if not more – a data company as it is a content provider.

Little transparency is offered by Netflix to subscribers over how their data is used, what exactly is collected, or whether third parties are given access; in 2014, two years before Black Mirror moved to Netflix, Charlie Brooker called the streaming service “evil” for its “sinister” and opaque manipulation of user data.

How and where can I watch it?

Cat Burglar will be available to stream/play on Netflix from Tuesday 22 February 2022. That’s 22/2/22, which is fun.

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