I can get a little cynical about Netflix etc. hits partly because in Netflix’s case two minutes counts as a view for example. So truly in the streaming sea of things I’m guessing consumption choice doesn’t guarantee quality, if we can simply pick things off of a buffet like at Pizza Hut??
Happily though, Squid Game‘s quite the achievement. Set across nine episodes, we see the character Seong Gi-hun rise up as a tragic protagonist, while he and a number of others enter what can only be said to be a sadistic series of survival games to win money (you might amusingly think of it as like Britain’s Got Talent, but with a Battle Royale twist, in my case 😜 ). Mostly across the first few episodes the pacing never lets up, character barely coming at the expense of entertainment either.
Although it’s not lost on me that there’s a meta layer to the “entertainment” component, this being because unless the reality show stakes are raised and varied, you eventually lose interest right? This is especially so when you let humans on the loose. So given how Squid Game intertwines these elements successfully enough to touch the viscera as much as the intellect (for me anyway), that’s a job well done (wait until you see how old the guards are behind their masks too, never mind their human moments of dialogue).
Doesn’t mean that the show’s a complete masterpiece sadly though. A game or two stretches into repetitiveness (proves my thesis about reality TV right?? 😉), and when a group of masked VIP characters at one point, we get into the same liberal “rich people are evil, poor people are good” lecture we appear to get so many times in these stories. Took one of them actually having their mask off to even see an iota of “their human side”, after all.
But that’s ultimately small fry compared to this series’s success in the scheme of things. South Korean genre material really travels when you think about it, and what more of a perfect platform to showcase this than with Netflix, when you think about it? Watch it while the viral moment lasts.