The wave of K-pop and K-dramas has been ruling the entertainment world since the beginning of this century. Every year, South Korea brings up some strong contenders to battle the western entertainment industry with its quality shows, music and movies. Whether it be the early Korean dramas like Autumn In My Heart, Winter Sonata, Boys Over Flowers, Descendants of the Sun or Crash Landing On You, these shows have dominated a global market.
Talking about the movies, South Korea has given us some of the most memorable movies such as Memories of Murder, I Saw The Devil, Train To Busan, or the Oscar Award Winning movie Parasite, the East Asian country has not disappointed. While it has equally been ruling the music industry with bands like BTS, Blackpink, and EXO.
Just last week on 17th September, South Korea released one of their shows on Netflix, called Squid Game. Just within two weeks of its release, the show has become so immensely popular among the public, that it is on the verge to become the biggest and the most popular show on Netflix, beating other shows like Bridgerton, Stranger Things, and Money Heist. It became the first-ever Korean drama to top Netflix’s Top 10 most-watched TV shows globally, including the United States and the United Kingdom.
What is Squid Game about?
Squid Game is a survival drama series that tells the story of a bunch of people (456 in total) who have been in debt and need money to pay them all. Some of them are in so much debt that it is equal to millions of Korean won.
In a similar manner, there is a man named Seong Gi-hun, who lives in a small neighborhood with his diabetes sickened mother, who runs a small stall of food. Gi-hun is divorced with his ex-wife and they have a daughter together, but after the divorce, his ex-wife settled down with a rich man and also takes custody of their daughter.
As he doesn’t have anything and usually falls in trouble regarding the money, he is approached by a secret person who makes him play a traditional South Korean game, and he is made to join a secret society, where they collect poor and in debt people like him to play a game and win 45.6 Billion Won.
In the game, he meets his childhood friend, who also happens to be his neighbor, Cho Sang-woo, who has lied to his mother that he is in the USA pursuing some kind of business. Other players in the game include Kang Sae-byeok, who is a North Korean defector who has a brother and a mother captured in China; Oh Il-nam, an old man with brain tumor; Jang Deok-su, a gangster; Abdul Ali, a Pakistani man with a wife and a child; Han Mi-nyeo, a manipulative woman who claims to be a single mother, etc.
Parallerly runs the story of Hwang Jun-ho, a police officer who is in search of his missing brother, and finds out about the secret group of people with the help of Gi-hun. To unravel the secrets of the group, he disguises himself as one of the crew members and tries to find out the mysteries and the details of his missing brother
At the end, only one wins the prize money, and while others everyone is killed during the game. But the end is not that simple as we think as even in the last episode there are a lot of twists and turns that we didn’t even expect.
What is Squid Game based on?
The Netflix show is based on some of the most popular South Korean games played by children, such as Red Light, Green Light, Marbles, Sugar Honeycombs, Tug of War, Walking on the Glass, etc. All these games have a gory twist when if anyone fails to continue, they are killed immediately.
The final and the main game is the Squid Game. The game is named as such because the shape of the game board drawn on the ground resembles a squid, and it is a multiplayer and a very aggressive game. It is divided into two teams: offensive and defensive, and the two main purposes of the game is either for the attackers to achieve the purpose of the attack or for the teams to annihilate each other
According to Wikipedia, “The top circle is the house for the offensive team, while the bottom rectangle is the house for the defensive team. When attacking, players can only move with one foot.
However, it is permissible to put one foot in the safe area and one foot in the other area. When a defensive attacker reaches the small wedge-shaped promotion area at the top of the triangle, after crossing the narrow bridge area that connects the triangle and much of the rectangle, they can move on both feet in all areas.
Likewise, a small circle at the very bottom of the rectangle, or alternatively the top corners of the defensive house on either side of the bridge area, can be used as promotion areas for offensive attackers.”
It is very clever of the makers to make a disturbing and gory adult series like this based on a children’s game.
Why is the Squid Game getting popular?
As the world is mostly turned on by foreign shows at this point, whether it be Spanish series Money Heist, German series Dark or Turkish series Resurrection: Ertugrul, it is not a new thing that people are going to tune in to the drama giant country of South Korea.
Hwang Dong-hyuk, the creator of the show told Variety, “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.”
He added, “As a survival game, it is entertainment and human drama. The games portrayed are extremely simple and easy to understand. That allows the viewers to focus on the characters, rather than being distracted by trying to interpret the rules.”
The show became so popular that the first game shown in the series, “Red Light, Green Light” became an internet challenge, and also the show was heavily used as content in various TikTok videos, where the users tell how good the show is, and also indirectly give some spoilers.
According to Ted Sarandos, the co-CEO of Netflix said that the show could be Netflix’s biggest show ever if the viewership keeps on going up like this. He says, “Squid Game will definitely be our biggest non-English language show in the world, for sure.” He added, “There’s also a very good chance it’s going to be our biggest show ever.”
With all the positive responses and the viewership skyrocketing everyday, it is very likely for that to happen. It currently holds 100% ratings in Rotten Tomatoes.