Short answer: Yes. Squid Game is a really good TV show indeed. And Netflix has hit the jackpot with it of course. Also, we at IndieGala are fans of the Korean TV series that premiered last month. Is it depressing? Sure. Eye-opening? Of course. Frightening and shocking? Yes, very much so. But over here in this article, I’m going to explore the phenomenon that is Squid Game. I’m going to give my short but very honest review, and I’m going to focus on the actors, the memes and the cultural impact that I has on the mainstream culture.
Hey, it’s not like it’s the first time I’m going to be writing about TV shows. Yes. The iconic Prison Break was on my agenda last year. And so was Cobra Kai‘s finest character to be perfectly honest. You can check it out here. But one of the most recent TV series I had the pleasure of writing about was Loki. My love for the character has been well documented here at IndieGala and yeah. That obsession is not likely to stop anytime soon.
Squid Game And Some Cool IndieGala Games
Yup. Before I get back to the topic at hand, I think it’s best to present the one thing that IndieGala has lots of. Video Games. They do go well with the whole team of the series, right? Yeah, we thought so too. Although we don’t have games called Green Light Red Light. Or even the titular Squid Game for that matter. But we have lots of fun and interesting ones to choose from. Deathloop is one of our bestsellers right now. It’s available here. And so is Resident Evil Village. Which you can purchase here. But we have plenty of great sales as well. Such as the Capcom Sale that’s currently our pride and joy. Check it out here. And let’s not forget about Asmodee Digital Sale. A sale for the board games and cards enthusiasts. It’s available here.
But let’s get back to the main event. Squid Game and all its glory.
What’s Squid Game All About? And How Good Is It?
Well, as I mentioned earlier it’s rather good. It’s centered around 456 contestants in the titular Squid Game. They’re all impoverished and deeply in crippling debts, and this competition is their ticket out of all of that. So, they’re taken to a remote location and given to compete in 6 different childhood games. Not to mention, the ultimate prize for the winner is a hefty sum of ₩45.6 billion (or around 38 million dollars). However, they’ll soon find out that the Squid Game tournament is anything but childlike and innocent. Oh, no. It’s far too dangerous, but who will take all that money in the end?
It’s a must watch show, although it will leave you distraught afterwards. It did have that effect on me anyway. My depression didn’t bold well with the show I’m afraid. But I’m glad I watched it. Despite the depressing premise it’s still a good show.
The Struggles Of The Little People Are In Squid Game
As I mentioned before Squid Game is a depressing, yet riveting depiction of class disparity and overall economic struggles for the Korean people. It showed us a dystopian version of one greatly polarized society. Yes, that’s the one in South Korea. But there are subtle echoes of it, in almost every other society right now. People from all over the world can find similarities (and relate really) with the characters that are in Squid Game. But it’s a show that put the little people front and center. It’s a show that features South Korea’s most marginalized people.
The ones that are deeply in debt, the migrant workers for instance. And even a North Korean defector of all people. Suid Games gives a harsh critique on capitalism but it doesn’t shy away from themes like…. Survivalism, greed and even Darwinism. Although an ensemble cast there are a few of the characters that stood out in the TV show. In their own very special way of course. One of the most striking and memorable characters is Seong Gi-hun. Played by Lee Jung-Jae, he’s our main protagonist. He’s given the number 456 in the game and well… He’s not that different from the rest of them really.
In fact, that’s what’s unique about the contestants. Although they have different backgrounds, they have the same problems. Money problems. But Squid Game shows no mercy on any of them. That’s what is so frightening about it. They’re all equal once they come in, and they remain equal once they’re there. The numbers on their green tracksuits mean nothing really. They’re also a form of entertainment for the rich once they get to the games. Not people really.
Great Influences And Great Performances In Squid Game
But the influences on Squid Game are fairly obvious. From the classic Battle Royale to 2005’s Liar Game. Furthermore, Gambling Apocalypse: Kaiji is another great influence in the series. And so is As the Gods Will of course. But another standout matter of the TV show is the acting. Or rather the performances from the many actors that are in it. Sure it’s hard to pick just a few to mention, but right off the bat, O Yeong-su the old man with the number 1 on his tracksuit is a clear favorite. And so is Hwang Jun-ho. Played by a first-time actor (and currently an acclaimed fashion model), Jung Ho-Yeon she made this character a true stand-out. She’s sympathetic, kind and a fan favorite as well.
But I won’t stop there. So many others are already established actors both in Asian cinema and in Hollywood. Gong Yoo plays the mysterious Salesman. Or the recruiter for the Squid Games if you will, and some of you may know him from the movies like Silenced and of course…. The move that put him on the map. The zobie horror Train To Busan. And yeah. I believe I mentioned the movie in my train simulator article here. You’re welcome for this throwback.
However, I simply can’t forget the dominating presence of Lee Byung-hun. He’s fantastic as the Front Man, one of the many villains in the TV show and you may have seen him in plenty of great projects before. Namely in the Korean Inside Man but also in plenty of great Hollywood movies. Such as Red 2, Terminator Genisys, The Magnificent Seven. And he even portrayed Storm Shadow in G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra.
But all is not that stellar for the Squid Game creator I’m afraid.
The Lawsuit Is Casting A Shadow On The Success
According to the creator of Squid Game, Hwang Dong-Hyuk, he developed the show about 10 years ago. However it was rejected by media companies and actors for last 10 years. And now that it’s a huge success, there’s a lawsuit about it. But in fact, Netflix is the one who’s being sued, and that’s only because of the success the show is having right now. Yes. It sounds ridiculous but it’s true. The South Korean Internet service provider SK Broadband is suing Netflix. And it’s asking the streaming giants to pay for costs from increased network traffic and maintenance work. Why you might ask? Well, Because of a surge of viewers to the U.S. firm’s content.
Technically, the lawsuit isn’t directly about Squid Game. The blockbuster numbers that the show has done in the US have given the ISP a point of leverage against the streamer. So in a nutshell of the lawsuit, there’s a demand. A demand by SK Broadband that Netflix pays a usage fee for the bandwidth that the streamer has used in Korea over the past three years. SK estimated the network usage fee Netflix needed to pay was about 27.2 billion won ($22.9 million) in 2020 alone. And yeah. Netflix has already appealed the Korean court’s decision, which came in July of 2021. But there’s another court battle scheduled for December of 2021. The outcome of that remains to be seen.
Are You A Fan Of The TV Show?
Let us know which character is your favorite. And although season 2 is not announced yet, what are your hopes for the second season? Let us know in the comment section.