Netflix does it again on the television side. Squid Game, released September 17th, 2021, has quickly skyrocketed to one of the most popular TV shows of all time. That’s right, all time. The 9 episode show is based on a growing genre that I am calling, “Survival Games”. Contestants sign up for a show to win a large cash prize at the end if they win. Little do they know if they can’t complete a round of challenges, they die. A morbid concept yes, but the types of games they are participating in is interesting. They are based on childhood games that one would play growing up. Now with the show being a Korean production, the childhood games in Squid Game are different from what we would see here in the United States. For example, both countries play the game red light, green light, and tug of war. In the United States, we don’t play the games of marbles, squid game, and a glass bridge game? The best comparison I can think of is that the glass bridge game is some sort of distance sibling to hopscotch, but even that is way off. What makes this a survival game is that if you lose the game or break the rules, you die. For every death in the game, the prize pool goes up until there is one winner. Now I am going to dive into the nitty-gritty of details from this show, so if you have not watched this show, don’t continue reading this. The big question I see circling the internet right now is what’s the hype all about with this show? Is it deserving of all the praise it is getting, or is this just another Netflix production that draws the world in like Bird Box and Outerbanks? I will be going in with about as unbiased of an opinion as you can get because unlike most people, I don’t feel like this show is good or bad. If you want to hear more about Squid Game, check out the Binge Bros podcast produced here at Amalfi Media for an in-depth conversation on the show Squid Game.
Squid Game Is a TV Concept That Is Very Unique
The Survival Games concept has become very popular in the past few years. We have seen this with movies like The Hunger Games, Maze Runner, and one of HBO’s newest titles The Hunt. But we really haven’t seen this in a TV series. There has been one similar to Squid Game in a way called Alice and Borderland. Alice and Borderland is a Japanese production where the characters compete in sadistic games in a parallel Tokyo. You win, you survive to compete in the next game. The major difference between the two is there is no arena in Alice in Borderland, as the parallel city of Tokyo is their “arena”. What sets Squid Game apart are a multitude of things. For one, the games they are participating in are games they recognize from their youth. Sure there are strategies to each game as is, but with a time limit, things get rather interesting. In addition, the proctors of the game play an interesting role. These “overseers” of the games and contestants are wearing masks to hide their identity. Outside of the plot of the Squid Game contestants, we got a behind-the-scenes look at these overseers and game makers as an undercover police officer infiltrated the game. It’s rare that you get to see such an extensive look at the producers of the game, which definitely provided an intriguing insight into how these games were created and funded. The relationship development was also rather unique in the show. The main character Seong Gi-Hun seemed to have some type of relationship both good and bad with most of the contestants, especially the Old Man. Now the Old Man ended up being one of the creators of the game, which some argue they saw coming because you never saw him killed. Those of you that say that, are liars. You could argue that Ali was behind it, as he was never directly killed on camera as well. Overall, We saw a concept of this genre that wasn’t seen before, and the fact that it was put in a television show format, made it more interesting.
The Voice Acting Was Very Bad
I understand how difficult it is to replicate the English language from another world language. Sometimes, sentences and wording aren’t exactly going to match, and that’s okay. But I do have a problem with subtitles not matching the voice acting. Something as simple as going through production one additional time to try and match up the words coming out of the actor’s mouth that are dubbed, to what you see at the bottom of the screen really isn’t difficult. It seems like the simplest thing to fix or do, but errors like this are found all over foreign productions. I truly think this takes away from the quality of the production. I will get so fixated on a word that they messed up and it will derive me from enjoying the film. Who is to blame? I say, Netflix as an organization. Netflix prides itself on being a global company that offers content from around the world. That’s one of the reasons I think it is the best streaming service out there. We get to see some of these foreign productions from around the globe like Money Heist, Lupin, etc. The least they can do is cover the simple things like speech to text, so it doesn’t take away from the integrity of the production. I am sure there is a way around this issue.
Overall we need to address the question, why do we like this show so much? Is it just because this concept is new and unique? Is it because every character has a purpose in leading the main character to victory in the end? To be honest, I don’t really know. I feel it’s partially because we haven’t seen a Survival Games TV show being brought to the global stage like Squid Game. But at the same time, this show was pitched 15 years ago, and just now was brought to the Netflix platform. Shoutout to the director who never gave up on the dream and brought this show to us. I have seen this show two times through now, and I honestly couldn’t be more indifferent. I know people that love this show, but I have yet to hear a convincing argument as to why this show is the best ever on Netflix. Also, if this took off, why didn’t Alice in Wonderland take off which came out in 2019. Check out Squid Game on Netflix if you for some reason haven’t and let me know your thoughts.