Season of The Squid


Image: Youngkyu Park/Netflix

Cael Brennan, Editor

An unlikely show of murder, money and motive emerges as an “unprecedented” smash for Netflix. 

Premiering on the streaming service back in September, Squid Game, a South Korean television series from creator Hwang Dong-hyuk has exceeded all previous expectations. Within its first ten days on the streaming platform, the show had transcended language barriers and cultural differences to reach number one within 90 countries. 

The show details a dystopian death game where a population of impoverished and underprivileged people competes to be the sole survivor and for a life-changing sum of money. Anyone on the Internet within the past month is likely to have seen the image of an unsettling animatronic doll playing ‘Red Light, Green Light.’ Normally a light-hearted children’s game, but within the context of Squid Game, the amusement evolves into a threat of ultraviolence.

Moreover, the twisted nature of Squid Game hasn’t convinced audiences across the world to avoid the thriller by any means. Julia Alexander, senior strategist for media-analyst company Parrot Analytics describes the phenomena, ‘Unprecedented,'” Alexander said. “I’m assuming that the executives knew because of the talent they used, because of the region they released it in, that this was going to be a hit in South Korea. I would put good money that the executives had no idea this was going to be a global hit.”

Alexander’s assumptions ring true with the context of how many obstacles the series faced within its attempts to be produced. Creator Hwan Dong-hyuk across a decade was rejected by Korean studios in large part due to the show’s uncanny bloodshed and brutality. Dong-hyuk details at one point living with his mother and father, the very laptop Squid Game was written with had to be sold to get by. 

However, Dong-hyuk is not the only beneficiary from the Squid Game craze. Lead actress Jung Ho-yeon has experienced a colossal boost in popularity after the show hit Netflix and American audiences. In fact, since the point of Squid Game’s premiere, Ho-yeon’s Instagram follower count has grown from 400,000 to 16.2 million. 

Squid Game is the biggest show of 2021 and potentially Netflix’s largest series to date. A cultural phenomenon, bright new stars, and revolutionary moments in praise for foreign media’s creativity. It is evident this year’s Fall isn’t merely back to school and spooky settings; rather a season of the squid.