When it comes to Netflix, success can come out of seemingly nowhere and hit all at once. Think of Tiger King in March 2020. Thanks to its truly larger-than-life story and a fortunate release date that coincided with a lockdown keeping people at home, it felt like everyone watched it at once and had varying opinions they needed to share.
The last time we got an unexpected Netflix hit it shocked everyone, standing out unlike anything we’d seen before. Now’s the perfect time to watch this modern dystopian classic before it goes from a one-off hit to a tentpole of the Netflix catalog.
If you don’t know about Squid Game, you’re probably in the vast minority. The Korean series was a surprise breakout hit on Netflix in September 2021, when it captivated international audiences with its murderous games, bright colors, and critique of late-stage capitalism. It even won six Emmys, including Best Direction for a Drama Series and Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama series for Lee Jung-jae.
Lee plays Seong Gi-hun, a divorced, poor father who’s desperate after hearing his daughter is moving to the U.S. with her mother and stepfather. After being challenged to a childhood game by a man in a suit in a subway station, Gi-hun soon finds himself in a terrifying warehouse full of 455 people, all wearing the same green tracksuit he is.
From there, the participants are asked to play a series of childhood games like Red Light Green Light and marbles. The losers of the games face a terrifying consequence — being brutally murdered — but the winner of the game is promised a massive cash prize, enough to make people willing to risk their lives over and over again. As the show develops, we learn more about the foundations of the game, Gi-hun’s life, and the stories of his fellow players.
So why should you watch Squid Game now? The series is a smash hit, but we’re nearing the end of the window where the only Squid Game content is a single, near-perfect season of the show. Despite the fact that countless beloved characters were eliminated, there will be a Season 2 eventually — and that’s not all.
Despite the fact that the entire series was an allegorical drama about the lengths people will go to in order to obtain financial security in a deeply unequal world, it didn’t stop YouTuber MrBeast from making a “real life Squid Game” with a cash prize of $456,000. Nobody was murdered, but people still tuned in by the masses, with the viewing numbers quickly eclipsing Squid Game’s audience. Not to be outdone, Netflix greenlit a reality show inspired by Squid Game with a whopping $4.56 million cash prize.
So now’s the perfect time to watch Squid Game in the context it was created, before it becomes... something else. We can probably expect Squid Game to become the new Stranger Things in terms of highly marketed Netflix Originals. It’s incredible that a non-English language series was able to find such a huge market — but, once you watch it, it’s clear why.
Squid Game Season 1 is now streaming on Netflix.