Why the world is obsessed with Netflix’s Squid game: Explaining its popularity

South Korean Drama Squid Game has captured public interest globally. Within days of its release, the intense thriller became one of streaming giant Netflix’s most-watched shows. It has been number one in several countries since its premiere, and memes based on the show have flooded the internet.

“Our Greatest Show Ever”: What Netflix Said About Squid Game

The show was released on September 17. Netflix co-CEO Ted Sarandos said last month, “It’s only been nine days, and there’s a good chance this is our greatest show ever.” A word of praise also came from Jeff Bezos who said: “@ReedHastings and Ted Sarandos and the @Netflix team
getting it right so often. Their internationalization strategy is not easy and they make it work. Awesome and inspiring. (And I can’t wait to watch the show.) ”

What the Squid game is all about

For the uninitiated, Squid Game is a fictional survival series that requires people to participate in what looks like games that kids might play. Either they win for life in Squid Game, or they die trying. Director Hwang Dong-hyuk is happy with the show’s unexpected success. Speaking to Variety, he said, “I wanted to write a story that is either an allegory or a fable about modern capitalist society, something that portrays extreme competition, kind of like the extreme competition of life. But I wanted him to use the kind of characters we’ve all encountered in real life.

What explains the popularity of Squid Game

The show was initially developed as a movie, but was later converted into a series to better serve its purpose. People are addicted to the show and find it relatable despite the fact that it is set in a different country than theirs. Kim Pyeong-gang, professor of global cultural content at Sangmyung University, believes there is a solid reason behind the connection viewers have found with Squid Game. Speaking to the BBC, Kim said: “People, especially the younger generation, who regularly suffer from alienation and resentment in real life, seem to sympathize with the characters.”

The problem with subtitles

But even if the show becomes popular, there is a strong problem that part of the audience has with Squid Game, its subtitles. Apparently people have complained about the English subtitles in particular, saying the interpretation is lousy and the whole meaning of the show is changing due to the difference in translation.

Nonetheless, Squid Game still reigns supreme when it comes to Netflix audiences. So, given his huge success, has writer-director Hwang Dong-hyuk ever considered making a sequel?

“I don’t have well-developed plans for ‘Squid Game 2’. It’s pretty tiring just thinking about it, ”the filmmaker told Variety.

Squid Game is currently streaming on Netflix.