When the star series Squid Game, directed by Hwang Dong-hyuk and starring HoYeon Jung and Lee Jung-jae among others, hit small screens during the pandemic, it was an instant home run.
Gritty, shocking, disturbing, and engaging - it swept the world as people couldn't bear to watch but couldn't look away. It was Battle Royale meets stark capitalism, forcing the desperate to fight to the death over the possibility of clearing their yawning debt - and it struck a chord with mid-pandemic people locked in their homes, isolated and worried about the debt they themselves were racking up just to stay alive.
Now, capitalizing on the momentum from their hit series and looking to expand the empire, Netflix has greenlit a reality show titled Squid Game: The Challenge, and it's facing a significant backlash. Here's what we know about the upcoming show - and why people are so unhappy about it.
Squid Game: The Challenge - What is it?
Netflix's Squid Game: The Challenge is a reality show, and yes - it's based closely on the hit series. Of course, no one dies.
456 English-speaking contestants will be given a chance to fight for a life-changing sum of money, just like in the original - $4.56M.
Games will likely closely mimic those from the original series, minus all the dying. Competitors may play Red Light, Green Light, carve out their Dalgona candy, win marbles, play tug-o-war and yes - they could battle it out over the Squid Game.
Netflix hasn't shared exactly which competitions will be battled out in the series, but it's likely they'll include most if not all of the originals. Afer all, we've seen it done before.
Megastar YouTuber Mr. Beast spent just under $4M bringing his own Squid Game version to life. It featured true-to-television builds of the movie sets, and all of the games were played. Like Netflix though, nobody died - and the winner went home with a huge lump of cash ($456K).
The YouTube version of the game was wildly popular, and in the past 6 months has racked up almost 300M views. Netflix is ready to cash in on that viewership, but there's some hesitation in enthusiasm about the upcoming series.
Why Are People Criticizing the New Show?
While there are certainly some fans eager to see the reality show play out - and let's face it, even with the criticism it's going to be huge - but there are people who aren't happy about the mega-corporation's plans.
After all, Squid Game was at it's heart a condemnation of capitalism. It's a show designed to reveal how imperfect people trapped in an imperfect system wind up desperate and doing bad things to make ends meet.
It wrenches the heart as viewers watch people give their lives just to break the cycle of debt. While it's hyperbolic, it's only just - and the show itself has become a metaphor for corporate greed, corruption, and the cost of capitalism in human lives.
So a mega-corp like Netflix turning a profit by playing on a less-deadly version of people's desperation? It's entirely on brand - and entirely out of line.
At least, that's the message critics are sending. Netflix is still forging ahead with the show, and is currently casting. Those looking to bag the prize - the largest in reality show history - should enter at SquidGameCasting.com.