How Squid Game became Netflix’s most viewed show in under a month


Photo courtesy of pluggedin

Five anonymous game-runners stand over the two buttons that players press to determine if they want to keep playing “The Game.” Players must play “The Game” until the end unless the majority press the green button to agree to finish it.

The Korean thriller, “Squid Game,” has taken the internet by storm in the weeks following the show’s debut.

Released less than a month ago, “Squid Game” is already Netflix’s most viewed show, with a staggering 111 million views (the number of people who watched more than two minutes of the title). It is estimated that 89% of viewers have watched at least 75 minutes of it and 87 million watched the entire show, according to Hustle TV. Viewing was so heavy within the first few weeks of its release that Korean service provider SK Broadband has filed a claim against Netflix for the massive amounts of traffic it has generated.

The nine episode series follows Seong Gi-Hun, played by Lee Jung-Jae, who is struggling to pay off his mounting debts. He is approached by a mysterious man and accepts an offer to compete in a competition with a prize of ₩45.6 billion ($38 million) against 455 other players also drowning in debt. However, there’s a catch: the competition is made up of children’s games, and the consequences for losing are deadly.

Its enormous popularity can be credited to social media, especially the video-sharing app TikTok.

“I heard about it on social media. I think the concept is really interesting because it’s not really a show that people have seen before… Although it’s a foreign show, it has themes that everyone understands and likes because it’s so dramatic and suspenseful,” senior Henry Ponyicsanyi said.

The hype around the show on social media encouraged many students to check it out for themselves. However, some were underwhelmed by the show and expected more, considering the buzz surrounding it.

“Towards the end, I started to not like it that much. I’ve seen a lot of things try and achieve the same message and do it in a better way. It wasn’t that suspenseful to me… I thought it was okay…I didn’t think that it would get the hype that it got,” junior Charlotte Brown said.

With wide language accessibility (31 languages for subtitles and 13 for audio), it’s easy to see why this show is so popular. However, many Korean/English speakers claim that the English subtitles do not do justice to its Korean dialogue.

“The name [of the first game] is not even remotely similar to the Korean name, which is, ‘The Hibiscus Flower Blooms,’ but they switched it to ‘Red Light, Green Light…’ The writers really wrote the show so well and to see that the message isn’t being correctly passed on to foreign audiences is a shame. I would want everyone to have the same experience that I had,” sophomore Erin Kim said.

Despite the subtitle inconsistency, the show is still going strong and audiences are already begging for a second season, according to Hustle TV.