The popularity and influence of massive streaming services such as Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime Video have effectively changed television consumption forever. With more people than ever logging into these apps daily, the possibility of discovering new styles of content is increasing, as evidenced by the rapid growth of Netflix’s latest hit, “Squid Game.”
The South Korean production is one of several new non-US series produced by Netflix, a move spurred by CEO Ted Sarandos’ intention to expand more productions overseas. Filming took place from June to October 2020, making it one of the few series fully produced during the COVID-19 pandemic. Given the complex sets and the large distribution of the series, many precautions have been taken to ensure the safety of the actors and the team. Despite this circumstance, the creatives behind âSquid Gameâ were able to capitalize on the audience’s desires for an all-new series with compelling social commentary and a compelling cast of characters.
Speaking of characters, “Squid Game” fictional contestants are more than just a random group of individuals, but rather layered, emotional people that audiences can’t help but engage in. All share similar struggles as each character is plagued by fiscal insecurity. , eventually forcing them into high-risk, high-reward competition with a deadly twist. The game, hosted by the mysterious Front Man, is made up of six individual competitions, each resembling common Korean childhood games.
From popular physical releases like Red Light, Green Light, and Tug-of-War to more strategic battles like Marbles and Dalgona Candy, each game presents a unique challenge that tests the competitor’s adaptability, all of which offer thrilling and precarious storylines. While the real-world challenges produce the most horrific and disturbing moments on the show, it’s the quietest and character-exclusive moments between individuals that we’ve become attached to that really make the show. The all-round stellar game from the talented and diverse cast absolutely electrifies “Squid Game” with Lee Jung-jae, Park Hae-soo and Jung Ho-yeon performing especially noteworthy performances as Gi-hun, Sang-woo and Sae-byok respectively .
Other highlights from the show include its gorgeous production design that serves as a visual treat to viewers thanks to its expansive spaces and saturated color palette. Considering the complexity of the show’s settings as detailed in its script, it’s an incredible feat that the show’s set designers and artistic decorators were able to achieve such an ambitious endeavor. Meanwhile, the music for “Squid Game” is written to perfection, simultaneously emitting a tone that is both playful and sinister. The series also understands when to implant its soundtrack, adding music at times to manipulate the emotion while deliberately leaving it absent to fully bask in some of the series’ deeper events.
Even though “Squid Game” became a worldwide phenomenon within the first two weeks of its release, there is still a lot of controversy surrounding the series, as usual with most Netflix series. Since Korean was the original language the show was filmed in, many viewers watched âSquid Gameâ with subtitles or, for those who wanted the simplest experience possible, dubbed into English. Despite these straightforward accessibility options, many Korean viewers noted how less than accurate Korean to English translations are, often simplifying specific concepts and cultural elements to the point of being unrecognizable. Although this problem does not affect the enjoyment of the show by non-Koreans, unsuccessful attempts to preserve Korean culture must be acknowledged.