Squid Game: The Challenge review – the most gripping reality TV since The Traitors
I was doubtful about the potential success of Squid Game, a popular Korean thriller that centers around a deadly competition involving children’s games, being adapted into a real-life TV show. Early reports indicated that some participants were not enjoying their experience, but both the producers and Netflix denied these claims. However, there were practical concerns that cast doubt on its feasibility, not just the obvious danger of potential fatalities. The game essentially involves playing marbles and using a needle to punch a shape out of a crispy piece of honeycomb, which may not immediately seem like riveting television. Yet, Squid Game: The Challenge not only manages to succeed, but it may even surpass the intensity of popular reality shows like The Traitors.
This event is massive in every aspect. It starts with 456 participants, primarily from the United States and Europe, and the jackpot will total to $4.56 million. Game shows often offer a substantial prize when it is nearly impossible to obtain; however, in this case, we are assured that someone will actually win this amount, which is ridiculous. The show celebrates its extravagance. Similar to its parent program, dramatic music and slow-motion shots are heavily used. It is unapologetically extravagant. As the episodes continue, the contestants begin to treat it with great seriousness, further highlighting the absurdity of it all.
For those who are fans of the original series, there may be uncertainty about what will be successful and what will not. However, the show easily addresses and answers each one. As expected, the first episode starts off with the unforgettable game “Red Light, Green Light”, where players must reach the finish line while avoiding being caught by the giant doll’s laser eyes. Without spoiling it, the way they handle the issue of elimination is both absurd and amusing, adding a unique and surprising element to the show. The contestants who fully immerse themselves in the game deserve extra admiration, even if it means sacrificing their chance at winning the prize money.
One concern is how to engage the audience with a large number of participants. The show eliminates many players early on and adds $10,000 to the prize for each eliminated person. However, the casting is well done, providing a good mix of personalities and focusing on character development. While everyone enters with a strategy, it quickly falls apart under pressure. The show is so well executed that I find myself shouting at the screen about the tactics by the first episode.
The TV show “Squid Game” is a satire that critiques capitalism by depicting real people competing for a large sum of money. It could be seen as sly in its approach, as it either subtly makes a point or tries to have it both ways. The show is careful to show the contestants’ reasons for participating, which are mostly relatable and heartfelt. They want to pay off debts, support their loved ones, and have a better life. However, the fact that achieving these goals requires risking their lives in a deadly game on television highlights the harsh reality of the struggle for financial stability.
In addition to the well-executed familiar games, there are also new elements and challenges that add substance to the overall experience. There is a prominent theme of “social experiment” present, especially when it comes to forming alliances and observing interactions during downtime in the dorms. It is intriguingly complex. It is yet to be determined whether it will reveal the best or worst of human nature, but the initial episodes hint that nobody has been studying the Communist Manifesto lately.
Today is a day dedicated to sports, reminiscent of the popular show “Big Brother” and the infamous Stanford prison experiment. It’s like one of those mobile funhouses you find at a carnival. Many may have expected “Squid Game: The Challenge” to be a mere attempt to capitalize on the success of the original, missing its true essence. And while that may be true, as a gameshow and spectacle, it’s difficult to turn away from.