Forget the latest installment in the James Bond saga or Denis Villeneuve’s tackle Dune, the most well-liked piece of entertainment to have swept the world this autumn was a South Korean dystopian drama. We’re, after all, talking about Squid Game, which premiered on Netflix on September 17th and capture the complete world’s consideration inside a matter of days.
Simply days after its release, Squid Game grew to become the number one most-watched show on the Netflix platform in a complete of 90 countries. The primary-ever Korean drama to prime each of the UK and US’s listing of most-watched TV shows, Hwan Dong-hyuk’s survival series is now the most well-liked Netflix-streamed show of all time and pulled in over 111 million viewers
A commentary on income inequality and social injustice, how did a show with a brutal, dystopian nightmare at its center grow to be a world phenomenon?
‘Squid Game’ – the Netflix phenomenon virtually by no means was. Again within the late 2000s, Hwang was a struggling screenwriter in want of an enormous break. After immersing himself in dystopian manga classics like Battle Royale and Liar Game, he got here up with the thought of a story that was a “fable about modern capitalist society” and set to work.
By 2009 he’d completed a draft and tried to promote it to a number of Korean production companies. Nonetheless, fearing the storyline was “difficult to understand and bizarre”, Hwang set his script aside and focused on movie projects.
A decade later, Netflix had set up an Asian production unit and, after being introduced with Hwang’s unique script, gave the project a green light.
Breaking into Pop Culture
Since then, Squid Game has not solely gone on to grow to be one of many most-watched tv shows of the 21st century, it’s additionally had a ripple impact all through well-liked and mainstream culture. The show’s large online following has inspired TikTok challenges, Instagram and Twitter trends, and a spike in real-life prank calls.
It’s been hugely meme-ified, and Squid Game’s appeal is so strong that it’s crossed over into the poker world, with pro players rising to the challenge of attempting to beat the ‘red light, green light’ system, albeit with less drastic outcomes. There’s even a newly-launched “Squid Game crypto” for financially-savvy fans to get their hands on.
Squid Game’s Midas touch extends beyond Halloween costume ideas and social media traits, it’s making the Western world pay attention to South Korean expertise. Casting a mix of established Korean actors like Lee Jung-Jae alongside fresh-faced newcomers has only broadened its appeal additional.
Global careers have been launched, as in the case of Jung Ho-Yeon, whose Squid Game role of Kang Sae-Byeok is her first-ever professional acting credit score. Inside weeks she’s grown become the most-followed South Korean actor on social media and is the darling of the world’s wide interwebs.
A Digital Phenomenon
In this age of digital overconsumption, TV shows and movies fall out and in favor on a regular basis. Because of the facility of social media, the popularity of the latest shows can seemingly surge in hours as everybody and their grandmas flip them into hashtags on Twitter. Few of them final on the prime although, as inevitably one other present comes that outdoes the one earlier than it and turns into the most well-liked new development.
Squid Game, however, has lasting world appeal, even regardless of its restricted promotion. It’s taken “going viral” to a brand new stage and it’s all all the way down to an easy premise. Sure, the action is brutal and bloody and it’s an extreme reflection of sure uber-capitalist factions of society. On the coronary heart of the present, although, are a set of characters representing the entire spectrum of socioeconomics, which solely the sociopathic amongst us can be unable to empathize with.
Building on the socially-conscious trend in film and tv making that was first unleashed into the mainstream within the form of 2019’s Oscar-winning Parasite, Squid Game has discovered the proper blend of “battle royale” dystopia and modern aesthetics.
The present is straight away and immediately interesting: the nightmarish twist that turns youthful playground games into life-or-death conditions has captured our imaginations; meanwhile, the collection’s vivid color palette echoed across the set design and character costumes have made it instant “meme-fodder”.
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