The violent yet enthralling South Korean drama that acts as a criticism of capitalism strongly resonated with global audiences after it dropped on Netflix in September 2021 — forcing non-Korean-speaking viewers to watch the highly bingeable show with English dubbing or subtitles.
Season 1 of “Squid Game” is a cautionary tale about wealth disparity. In the show, financially desperate people kill one another in a series of kids’ games to win a life-changing cash prize for the entertainment of a few wealthy VIPs. Hwang even likened one of the VIPs in the show to former President Donald Trump. Considering the financial, political and social changes that occurred during Trump’s presidency and the ongoing effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, audiences easily drew parallels between current affairs and the dystopian themes of the series.
The show, which Hwang first developed 10 years before it was actually made, was so popular that Netflix gave it the red light, green light for a Season 2, even though Hwang originally suggested that he envisioned it as a limited series.
It also spurred a yet-to-be-released reality competition series called “Squid Game: The Challenge” in which “456 real players” “will enter the game in pursuit of a life-changing reward of $4.56 million,” according to a Netflix press release.
But don’t worry — hopscotch with explosives will not be a game these reality competitors will have to endure. Netflix also noted in its presser that “in this game the worst fate is going home empty-handed.”