“Squid Game”: Why the South Korean Series Has Become a Global Phenomenon

the essential The Squid Game series went viral in just a few days to the point of becoming Netflix’s most watched show. La Dépêche du Midi dissects the reasons for such a success.

Squid Game is a hit. The 9-episode series is now the most watched show in the history of the Netflix streaming platform with 82 millions of views in only 17 days. Until now, it was the series Bridgerton which held the record with 82 million views in one month.

Today, rare are the people who have not heard of this global phenomenon which has flooded networks, playgrounds and even the streets of Laguiole!

To read also: “He who loses receives a blow”: when the violent Netflix series “Squid Game” invites itself in the lessons of break

Successful scenario, South Korean soft power, use of codes from social networks … there are many reasons for such success. La Dépêche du Midi explains why.

A game of massacre and a metaphor

Squid Game is a South Korean series created by Hwang Dong-kyoek. It tells the story of Seong Ji-hun, Cho Sang-woo, Kang Sae-byeok or Ali Abdul who risk their lives in a mysterious game to try to win 45, 6 million won (approximately 17 million ‘euros). 456 people, who all have financial difficulties in life, are invited to take part in this “Squid Game”, which for example submits players at traditional children’s games with deadly twists. Losers are, in effect, executed on the spot. The series is not limited to a free-to-play killing game: the plot is a metaphor for social inequalities, class violence and gives a reflection of today’s South Korean society.

An intrigue that engages the viewer

If this series has been such a success so quickly, it is first of all that it uses codes that hook viewers: “Squid Game mixes reality TV and competition by bringing a touch of horror and violence, believes Philémon Bouderlique, in charge of programming for the Série Mania festival in Lille, contacted by La Dépêche. It’s a cocktail that inevitably takes. We could see it with similar achievements like Hunger Game and Battle Royal. “

“The production is very neat and the subject is really universal, adds Fériel Ben Aïssa, production manager in cinema and audiovisual. It speaks of money, daily galleys, debts … People easily identify with the characters . And once on board, with each decision the characters make, we wonder if we would have done the same “

A viral phenomenon

If the series works for the quality of its production, it also owes its success to social networks: “It has become viral. People have made ‘memes’ of them (viral and humorous image repeated in a loop on social networks), talk about it every day. The most reluctant feel obliged to look so as not to miss out, “Fériel Ben Aïssa analyzes. These networks, the producers of the series were able to take advantage: “This series has found its audience because it responds to what we find in 2021 on Internet: black humor, memes, simple graphic codes, a catchy visual “, develops the program manager of Série Mania.

The last born from South Korean culture

South Korean “soft power” is also a key element in the success of Squid Game . In recent years, the culture of this Asian country has established itself widely in Western countries, in particular thanks to K-pop, a musical style mixing pop music, rock and dance, acclaimed by millions of teenagers around the world, especially in France. The BlackPink group is thus the artist with the most loyal followers on Youtube in the world, with more than 45 millions of subscribed Internet users.

In addition to music, Korean films and series conquer a large number at the international level such as the film Parasite , Palme d’or du Festival de Cannes in 2019.

The symbol of the power of Netflix

But one of the biggest reasons is Netflix’s global reach. With more than 111 millions of accounts worldwide, the platform has established its productions in the four corners of the world.

If sociologically, a spectator will not be sensitive in the same way to a series if he is American or Chinese, Netflix has succeeded in promoting international series from Germany, Israel or Turkey which manage to convince viewers. came from many countries. With Squid Game , South Korea, despite distant cultural codes, has thus managed to reach millions of Europeans, Americans and even Africans, conquered by its universal themes: class struggle, competition and equal opportunities.

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