“Squid Game: The Challenge”: Is the Netflix series far too macabre?

The dark South Korean thriller series “Squid Game” became a huge success for streaming market leader Netflix in 2021.

“Squid Game: The Challenge”: Is the Netflix series far too macabre?

The dark South Korean thriller series “Squid Game” became a huge success for streaming market leader Netflix in 2021. Even today, the project by creator, author and director Hwang Dong-hyuk (52) still leads the all-time ranking of the most successful non-English-language series on Netflix to date by a huge margin.

Before the second “Squid Game” season, which has already been confirmed and is in production, will probably appear on the streaming service in 2025, Netflix is ​​now first presenting “Squid Game: The Challenge”. In the reality series, 456 players compete for prize money of $4.56 million.

The first five episodes of “Squid Game: The Challenge” premiere on Netflix on November 22nd. Four more episodes will follow on November 29th before the final episode of the show is released on December 6th. Netflix has previously stated that one of the participants in this season finale will definitely win the prize money. It is also said to be the highest winning amount in the history of reality TV as well as game and game shows.

At first glance, “Squid Game: The Challenge” seems like a flawless cosplay series. Everything, absolutely everything, is modeled on the great South Korean series model. The participants, dressed in green tracksuits, enter rooms that are indistinguishable from those in the series.

The players are guarded by people in red suits with masks over their faces, and the legendary “Squid Game” games such as red light, green light, sugar honeycomb, the marble game and the stepping stone game are also recreated in a deceptively realistic manner. But there is one big difference from the “Squid Game” series: the players are eliminated over the course of the show, but of course no one dies in “Squid Game: The Challenge”.

Instead, typical, familiar elements of reality TV are integrated into the new show. The participants speak individually in front of the camera about their motivation for taking part in the game show, often mentioning very real financial hardships, and share their thoughts and feelings about the events and their fellow players as the series progresses.

Some new games have also been invented for “Squid Game: The Challenge”. Participants have to decide repeatedly whether they want to give others an advantage or eliminate an unpleasant competitor. These little tests reveal the true character of the people in question.

However, the game show spin-off “The Challenge” is not as dark and macabre as the series “Squid Game”. The players are all clearly huge fans of the original and, despite all the competition, are clearly enjoying their time in the wings of the reality series. The big terror like in the original “Squid Game” doesn’t appear in the new show.

However, all those who want to bridge the wait until the second season of the hit series, or are simply looking for a new reality format that they can get excited about, should definitely give the Netflix production a chance.

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