The Squid Games

Photo Credit:

Dahae Kim, Staff Writer


The Korean survivalist television show, Squid Game, has taken the world by storm.  Becoming the first K-drama to rate as Netflix’s top show, it is en route to becoming the streamer’s most-watched series ever.

The nine-part Netflix original involves contestants, all in desperate need of money. They compete in a series of children’s games for a chance to win a life-changing cash prize of forty million dollars. The catch? If you lose, you die. And unfortunately, there can only be one winner. 

By its fourth day, the show peaked at Netflix’s number one spot in 70 countries with its release on the 17th of September. 

Squid Game even captured the attention of Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, who congratulated Netflix on making their “internalization strategy” work, calling it “impressive and inspiring”. The Saturday tweet sent the internet abuzz.

TikTok has even started a Squid Game trend, which has automatically become a viral hit. One of the show’s episodes features participants vying for their lives as they take on a difficult challenge, carving out a symbol etched onto a brittle sugar candy called dalgona. Tiktok users have shared their attempts at making the Korean treat and passing the challenge. This global craze has boosted business for many candy sellers.

A big part of the show’s success lies in its dramatic and eye-catching aesthetic. Director Hwang Dong-Hyuk has created a surreal and colorful world with exaggerated shapes and abstract figures that enhance the eeriness of the game. There is a feeling that the characters have crossed into another dimension and therefore, so has the viewer. 

The brilliant acting performances also add to the drama, particularly from Lee Jung-Jae (Along with the Gods) and Park Hae-Soo (Prison Playbook). All of the characters experience both trauma and transformation during the show’s progression. South Korean model Jung Ho-Yeon, who had her acting breakthrough in Squid Game, portrayed such believable and heartbreaking emotions in such an unimaginable setting.

Despite the immense popularity of Squid Game, season 2 has not yet been confirmed. Korean shows typically consist of just one season, but Netflix has renewed other K-dramas like Kingdom and Love Alarm. Fans are hopeful for more and eager to find out what happens after being left on a very ambiguous ending.