The annals of canceled Netflix shows send fans into wild territory, and we'd know. Some of the Tom's Guide staff is still upset about Glow's cancelation, all these years later. So, after checking the headlines we pondered about the most Black Mirror way to handle this situation.
What if the new Bing with Chat GPT and ChatGPT were enlisted to heal the scars of some of our favorite shows? These text-driven AI tools have delivered all sorts of wild results in their early testing, and while ChatGPT got here first, we had to use Bing's version as ChatGPT isn't able to access more recent detail.
We picked Glow and two of our other favorites — Inside Job, and Teenage Bounty Hunters — so we could judge the output of these bots for accuracy.
Here's what happened:
Bing's Glow revival is very predictable
GLOW was controversially cancelled after just 3 seasons, after having been renewed for a fourth season that was called off due to Covid-related delays. Bing seemed to have a pretty good handle on what happened at the end of GLOW and pitched us a few ideas.
It suggested "One possible storyline for season 4 could have been about Debbie's struggle to run her own network as a woman in a male-dominated industry, while also trying to balance her friendship with Ruth and her romance with Tex." Which, yes, we can see that happening.
Bing also offered that "Another possible storyline for season 4 could have been about Ruth's journey as an actress in Hollywood, where she might have faced rejection, discrimination, and harassment. She might have also missed working with Sam, who was busy making his own movie with his daughter Justine." While fairly vague, these do seem like plausible directions for GLOW. Bing even pitched storylines for side characters like Bash and Carmen that again seemed pretty possible.
It was when ChatGPT was prompted to “Write GLOW season 4” that things started to go awry. The AI gave me an episode-by-episode breakdown of a wrestling-focused plot and even added “a new wrestler named Roxy (played by Laverne Cox),” but there were some key inconsistencies.
The biggest mistake came when it said Alison Brie’s Ruth and Betty Gilpin’s Debbie were a couple, which sounds like ChatGPT is sourcing too much from fanfic forums an injustice to their arc in show. Almost every episode description ends with basically the same description: “Meanwhile, Ruth struggles to come to terms with her feelings for Debbie and the direction of her career.” or “Sam finds himself at a crossroads in his career and must make a difficult decision.”
If GLOW is ever to get the revival it deserves, let's stick with human writers.
Bing went wild bringing Inside Job back
After some technical difficulties (they don’t want us to know the truth!) we managed to get Bing to generate a potential new season of the deep-state animated comedy that Netflix cruelly canceled after just one season (in two parts).
The two-part structure appeared to confuse both Bing and ChatGPT with it failing to acknowledge the second half of season one. Bing provided us with a brief description of the show and then things started to get weird. And not in the usual way Inside Job gets weird.
Bing added “A new character named Greta Thunberg (voiced by herself), who turned out to be an alien spy sent by an intergalactic council to monitor Earth's environmental situation. She befriended Reagan and helped her expose some of Cognito Inc's schemes.”
It also mentioned rival groups of conspiracy theorists, name-checking Alex Jones as a leader of “Truthers” and Tom Cruise and Beyoncé leading the Illuminati. It's almost like Bing likes to recycle, as Inside Job Part 2 featured a parody of Alex Jones, as well as an Illuminati that included Beyoncé.
As for ChatGPT itself, when asked to “Write season 2 of Inside Job” it provided a vague and generic plot but notably described the idiotic Brett as “Tech-savvy” and also mentioned “the brilliant but unpredictable Doc, and the stylish and cunning Sam” who presumably are meant to be Andre and Gigi respectively.
ChatGPT delivered errors on Teenage Bounty Hunters basics
One of the most egregious cancellations of the Netflix era, Teenage Bounty Hunters ran for just 10 episodes, ending with a twist that never got a chance to develop. Teenage Bounty Hunters was funny, sweet and kick-ass all at once, not words commonly used to describe AI.
Bing actually showed very little imagination in its response and instead gave us a summary of season one and then quotes from an Entertainment Weekly interview with series creator Kathleen Jordan about a potential direction for season two. ChatGPT however was happy to oblige us.
In terms of plot, ChatGPT kept things super-vague while promising us that “As the season progresses, the stakes are raised higher and higher for all of the characters, leading to a climactic showdown that will test their bonds and change their lives forever.”
As with Glow, there are some significant mistakes made as well. It opens ‘Season two’ with “Sterling and Blair are still reeling from the revelation that their mother, Debbie, is not only alive but also a criminal who has been using them to aid her illegal activities” which is quite a significant error as it is actually Debbie’s twin Dana who is the criminal, also it is revealed in the season one finale that Debbie is not Sterling’s mother. ChatGPT even treads some of the same steps as season one, believing that Sterling is still going out with Luke even though they broke up midway into season one.
Outlook: ChatGPT and Bing aren't replacing professional (or amateur) writers any time soon.
We went into this experiment with a curiosity of how weird things would get if we offered ChatGPT and Bing's version a seat in the writer's room. Clearly, they're not ready at all.
That said, it's interesting to see AI actually deliver a creative idea here and there, even if it whiffed and just regurgitated ideas back at us during the rest of the time. So, Netflix, if you're thinking about bringing these shows back, don't try and cut corners by using AI writers. (Not that you would ... would you?) You'd be answering dreams by delivering nightmares.