By Katelyn Patterson | Reporter
Netflix’s new series, “Squid Game,” is a Korean drama that follows Seong Gi-hun, Cho Sang-woo and hundreds of others as they accept a strange invitation to compete in children’s games. Inside awaits a tempting prize with deadly high stakes— a survival game that has a whopping $40 million prize.
The show is rated TV-MA and was released on Sept. 17. It soared to the No. 1 spot on Netflix in multiple countries, including the U.S. “Squid Game” is one of many K-dramas that Netflix has released, but it seems that this one is taking top honors.
“The show is massively popular on social media, trending with 200,000 plus tweets dissecting the ins and outs of the nine-episode series,” Paul Tassi, senior contributor at Forbes, said.
“Squid Game” is gory and a bit weird, yet beautifully written and directed. Hwang Dong-hyuk, who wrote and directed the series, is also responsible for the 2017 film “The Fortress,” which earned 21 awards and 31 nominations.
The shock value of the mayhem that takes place throughout the show is just one aspect that is attributed to its greatness. The characters are written so that viewers can relate to them while also seeing the flaws in each person. The acting was phenomenal; I cried many times throughout, but especially during episodes six and eight. The series also showcases parts of Korean culture, mostly through the children’s games the players participate in.
The cast includes Lee Jung-jae, a model turned actor who also starred in 2000’s “Il Mare,” which inspired “The Lake House.” It also features Park Hae-soo, who also stars in the Korean adaptation of the Netflix drama “Money Heist,” and Gong Yoo, who is best known for his role in the action film “Train to Busan.”
In all honesty, the first episode is a bit boring. I found myself questioning whether to continue watching or to turn it off and switch shows. However, powering through was worth it in the end. I was not able to guess what was going to happen next, which is something that I am guilty of doing while I watch TV shows and movies.
Without giving any spoilers, I would say that a season two might be — or at least should be — in the works. The response the show has received, in addition to the ending of the final episode, is a recipe for a good second season.
I would recommend “Squid Game” to everyone. It’s violent, bloody and strange, but it is also full of stellar performances, memorable characters and simply a well-written story.