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Squid Game, the new series from Netflix, is trending. So if you're only just hearing about it and think it's got something to do with some retro video game, we're here to tell you that, well, it's not.
Season one was released on 17th September 2021 and it was soon on track to become Netflix's most popular TV show. It was the first K-drama to reach the top spot in the US, reaching number one just four days after its release, it's reported.
The thriller series, which is rated 15, sees some 456 cash-strapped individuals on the brink of financial ruin accept a strange invitation to compete in a tournament to win a huge cash bailout. What they don't realise until they get there is that they'll be competing in games they played as kids. But there's a catch, as there always is. These children's games have gotten a little deadlier since the contestants last played them.
The players are taken to a weird prison camp on an unknown island where they'll stay until they either win or die trying, or bail out and face a life just as cruel with spiralling debt on the outside. Of course, not every player passively accepts their fate and a few of them club together to try and find a way out.
Think a Korean mashup of Hunger Games and Battle Royale. However, instead of battling the elements and deadly creatures, the contestants in Squid Game are trying to win an extreme version of Red Light, Green Light, where there's a chance of being blown to pieces by a giant doll with a machine gun.
Speaking to Variety, Hwang Dong-hyuk said:
"I wanted to write a story that was an allegory or fable about modern capitalist society, something that depicts an extreme competition, somewhat like the extreme competition of life. But I wanted it to use the kind of characters we've all met in real life."
"As a survival game it is entertainment and human drama. The games portrayed are extremely simple and easy to understand. That allows viewers to focus on the characters, rather than being distracted by trying to interpret the rules," he added.
The series stars Lee Jung-jae as Seong Gi-hun, the main protagonist, Park Hae-soo as Sang-woo, and Wi Ha-jun as Joon-ho.
Other cast members include:
Squid Game is set in South Korea. Most of the players come from Seoul, the capital, and the games take place on an unnamed island off the coast of South Korea.
Squid Game was mainly filmed in the city of Daejeon, which is known as the 'silicon valley' of South Korea.
As you may have guessed, Squid Game is fictional and not based on a true story.
"I've had great inspiration from Japanese comics and animation over the years," Dong-hyuk told Variety. "When I started, I was in financial straits myself and spent much time in cafes reading comics including 'Battle Royale' and 'Liar Game.' I came to wonder how I'd feel if I took part in the games myself. But I found the games too complex, and for my own work focused instead on using kids' games."
Squid Game season one, which has nine episodes in total, is available to stream on Netflix now.
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