What is ‘Squid Game’ and why is it Netflix’s hit of 2021?

Netflix is notoriously tight-lipped about viewership numbers, so it can really feel somewhat fishy when the corporate pronounces that, say, thirty zillion individuals watched Adam Sandler’s Homicide Thriller in its first weekend. Maybe the explanation it feels that means is as a result of when the streamer has a real cultural hit on its palms—like Stranger Issues, Bridgerton, or Lupin—these exhibits dominate the digital water cooler. You’ll be able to virtually really feel their influence within the air.

What you probably sense coursing via the jetstream proper now is all the strain and viscera radiating out of a South Korean sequence referred to as Squid Sport.

Launched lower than two weeks in the past, Squid Sport has sat atop Netflix’s global top 10 charts since Friday, September 24—a rare feat for a present that doesn’t have the built-in viewers of the hit comedy Intercourse Schooling, presently in its third season, which Squid Sport dethroned. The present is already properly on its inevitable strategy to being Netflix’s greatest non-English sequence ever, and co-CEO Ted Sarandos now estimates that at its present charge, Squid Sport may change into the most well-liked Netflix sequence ever, interval. Not unhealthy for a present with a goofy-sounding identify that got here seemingly out of nowhere.

Jung-jae Lee stars as Seong Gi-hun, a deadbeat dad neck-deep in debt who will get ensnared in a financially irresistible survival competitors primarily based on conventional Korean youngsters’s video games. In every spherical of video games, equivalent to Purple Gentle, Inexperienced Gentle and the titular Squid Sport (means too difficult to clarify on this parenthetical), Gi-hun and his rivals combat to the dying in hopes of making it to the following degree and ultimately successful a grand prize price $39.4 million. The quantity of gamers who die horrible deaths on this pursuit, even in simply the primary episode, is staggering.

[Photo: Netflix]

Why is a present you’ve by no means heard of pulling within the sort of viewership numbers usually reserved for Stranger Issues and Bridgerton? Created by Hwang Dong-hyuk, who made the movie The Fortress, the present touches on related themes of underclass desperation and exploitation explored by the final South Korean export to take over the world: Bong Joon-ho’s Parasite. Themes of class battle are timeless, however they’ve definitely change into extra fashionable lately as inequality has widened in lots of locations across the globe.

In fact, it doesn’t damage the present’s reputation that it is brutally violent, unrelentingly tense, and follows within the footsteps of 2000’s landmark Japanese hit Battle Royale, in addition to The Starvation Video games sequence, which was persistently tagged as being derivative of it. Add within the self-perpetuating energy of already being tremendous fashionable and it’s no marvel you’ll be listening to much more about Squid Sport—and its creator’s future tasks—going ahead.