Netflix’s Squid Game which has taken the world by a storm, is a nine-episode long Korean language thriller. Here, you will flinch every third second of the time you watch the show. Netflix co-CEO Ted Sarandos said that the Korean-language show is its most popular series worldwide and on track to become the company’s most-watched show ever. Bridgerton, a period drama, which was the streaming platform’s biggest original series of all time, has been left behind by Squid Game. The show is expected to be seen by more than 82 million subscribers worldwide in its first 28 days.
Squid Game is not entirely unique. There are shows like Sweet Home (Korean), Alice in Borderland (Japanese), Black Mirror (US), Re: Mind (Japanese) all of which are close to the genre of Squid Game. What sets the show apart is its extremely relatable characters, most of whom are marginalised members of society, struggling to survive in a hyper competitive world.
The show features 456 debt-ridden people from all walks of life who are chosen to take part in a series of six games that are traditional children’s games played in South Korea. While the games seem simple enough, there is one rule, ‘If you fail to finish the said game, you will be eliminated’ and the elimination is death. If the players win all six games they win prize money of a whopping 45.6 billion Korean won, that’s 38 million US dollars! The juxtaposition between the innocent playground games ending in violent deaths is what brings viewers to the edge of their seat.
Squid Game’s writer-director Hwang Dong-hyuk, talking about his perspective for the show says, “I wanted to write a story that was an allegory or fable about modern capitalist society, something that depicts an extreme competition somewhat like the extreme competition of life. But I wanted it to use the kind of characters we’ve all met in real life.” Hwang added, “As a survival game it is entertainment and human drama. The game portrayed is extremely simple and easy to understand. That allows viewers to focus on the characters, rather than being distracted by trying to interpret the rules.”
If you are curious about season 2, this is what the director has to say, “I don’t have well-developed plays for Squid Game 2 and it is quite tiring just thinking about it.”