For Netflix, Squid Game has perhaps proven to be one of the best original series they have ever commissioned. While many people wouldn’t have expected a Korean drama to reach these global highs, the show has proven that it deserves to be one of Netflix’s biggest hits.
The story of Squid Game focuses on a group of people with heavy debts competing in a tournament that will free them of their financial woes. However, as the tournament begins, it turns out that elimination from the tournament results in death.
Each round of the tournament is based on a traditional Korean children’s game. Though many of the games will be new for western audiences, there are some which are familiar.
Though a simple premise reminiscent of films such as The Hunger Games or Nerve, the real success of Squid Game comes from various elements of the production.
The performances across the board from the cast of Squid Game are exceptional. Lee Jung-Jae serves as an exceptional lead for the series and his performance throughout evokes so much emotion for the audience to connect with, even if you switch to dubbed English.
Furthermore, stellar supporting performances from Jung Ho-Yeon, Anupam Tripathi and Wi Ha-Joon among others really help to sell the stakes of the series and keep you emotionally engaged throughout.
In terms of the narrative of the show, series creator Hwang Dong-hyuk does an exceptional job of adding depth and intrigue to the Squid Game story. Through clever word building, the show avoids being a surface level one-and-done and leaves viewers hungry for more.
With multiple plotlines running concurrently throughout, the show never falters on pacing and every episode carries the show forwards rather than wasting episodes on redundant filler.
With a beautiful soundtrack throughout and beautiful cinematography to match, even in its most graphic moments, Squid Game both visually and sonically excels.
The set design and outfits of the show have also created an instantly recognisable style that will without question enter the mainstream. With Halloween coming up, Squid Game certainly has the potential of being the most common outfit style at the end of this month.
One of the most important aspects of the success of Squid Game is that it has helped to open the door for western audiences to explore more Korean media. While Parasite recently opened this door, hopefully the success of Netflix’s new show will further expand the international reach of Korean media properties.
With an ending that feels conclusive while still leaving plot threads to be explored in the future, I am certain that Squid Game has a bright future ahead of it. For many fans, anticipation will already be building for what comes next in the franchise.