Netflix’s ‘Squid Game’ is sensational: 5 reasons why it’s so popular!

Setting aside the craze of K-drama rom-coms to spotlight a Korean suspense-thriller show that has been landing headlines, and become the muse of countless memes across different social media platforms around the world. On TikTok alone,  hashtag #SquidGame has been viewed more than 22.8 billion times.


Squid Game is a psychological horror that often draw similarities to survival franchises such as Hunger Games and Battle Royale. The South Korean drama, released on 17 Sep 2021, has crossed the global charts of popularity within two weeks. It’s quickly became the most-watched Netflix show in 90 different countries — a first for any Korean drama!

Expected to grow even bigger, the global streaming platform is anticipating the series to rise to the top of the global charts and become Netflix’s most popular program ever. If that’s not enough to peak your interest and have you jump in on the hype of, we give you five reasons why you should…


1. A simple but compelling storyline
Named after a ’70s Korean childhood game, Squid Game, the show, written and directed by Hwang Dong-hyuk, centers protagonist Seong Gi-hun (Lee Jung-jae), an indolent father with a gambling problem, who finds himself betting against a suited man in a subway station after losing his winnings while running from loan sharks. He is recruited to participate in a game to win an extremely large sum of money. 

Accepting the offer, he finds himself waking up in a room with 456 other contestants, all of whom come from different backgrounds and social class, but are gathered for the same reason — to play a series of games that will earn them a chance at winning ₩45.6 billion. But as soon as the first game begins, players quickly realise that the stakes are even higher than they were led on to believe; not only are they fighting to win the grand prize, but they are fighting to stay alive.  


2. It’s binge-worthy
Not everyone has the time of day to commit to long-running shows, but with only nine episodes, the show is worthy of a quick binge before the week ends. The show is comprised of characters and plot twists that offer a mix of  drama, comedy suspense, action and heart-felt moments all in nine hour-long episodes.

With a plot that takes the simple concept of playing childhood games, then pitting 456 desperate participants against each other for a chance at win a large sum of cash, the story unfolds into an elaborate reflection of human nature and modern capitalist society that elicit realistic emotions and struggles that has proven to be universally relatable.

The show serves up a well-rounded balance of hope, horror and entertainment that have will have you hooked and tapping “next episode” as soon as the credits roll.  


3. The characters grow on you
What makes this dark thriller both uniquely dramatic and entertaining is the characters. Like any good show, the character development in the show add depth to the storyline that will have viewers’ perceptions of the players turning 180-degree as participants gradually shed layers of their personas — revealing their true nature.

To say the least, in the absence of heart-racing and action-packed scenes, the supporting characters such as emotionally-distant North-Korean defector Kang Sae-byeok (Jung Ho-Yeon), the intelligent and model leader Cho Sang-Woo (Park Hae-Soo), and the wise elderly Oh Il-Nam (Oh Young-Soo) convincingly portray realistic emotions that will have audiences rooting for the underdog and sympathising with the villains. 


4. Cleverly layered details
Film buffs will surely keep their eyes peeled for details that symbolise a deeper meaning that foreshadow future outcomes or even mirror real life situations in metaphors, from the soundtrack to hidden meanings within objects, the many hints, musical cues and visual details make up an eerily calm and fun-loving setting that recall the innocence of childhood that drastically transitions as players are shocked back into reality in the harrowing fight for survival that unravels in horrific consequences with each failed attempt at completing the game.


Take for example the striking set designs of the Red Light, Green Light grounds of the first game, with the chilling and now iconic mechanical girl as the focal point — a character designed off of actual Korean children’s textbooks; or the vibrant Penrose stairs that serve as the interlude between resting area and playing zones which polarise the darker undertones of the games; nothing is as it seems and forever are these nostalgic symbolisms of childhood tainted as players continue to push through each stage of the competition.

Art director Chae Kyoung-sun said, “We created the places and displays trying to make the viewers think about the hidden intentions of Squid Game.” 


5. A second season in the making
Holding back on the spoilers, this binge-worthy Netflix show rounds up to a jaw-dropping plot twist with plenty of holes and a cliffhanger of an ending that sill leave audiences wanting more. With a second season already in the works, there are still plenty of unanswered questions, and theories as to how the show will move forward.

But until then, the intense first season of this mega successful Korean drama series is definitely a hot and redefining Netflix series of the Korean thriller genre that will have you gritting your teeth through every episode.

What to watch on Netflix this summer

Grab the popcorn, get comfy on the sofa and plug in to watch some of the most binge-worthy shows on Netflix this summer…

For thrilling action: Lupin, Part 2
The first French show to break Netflix’s Top 10 ranks, Lupin is a thriller that follows suave gentleman burglar Assane Diop, as he plans an action-packed heist to clear his father’s name. Having ended in a gripping season finale earlier this year, the newly released Part 2 continues with Diop’s search for his son as he evades the police who are close behind on his trail. 

For foodies: High on the Hog
Set out on a gastronomical exploration to find the roots of African-American cuisine with chef and writer, Satterfield, as he hosts a riveting four-part Netflix documentary series that tracks the lineage of US gastronomy and how the slave trade in West Africa to the United States shaped American cuisine.  

For fantasy fans: Shadow & Bone
Based on author Leigh Bardugo’s award-winning book trilogy by the same name, the Netflix series follows the story of orphan Alina Starkov as she discovers her magical powers in the war-torn nation of Ravka. It is packed with compelling characters and gripping plot elements that build into a fantastical world of magic and drama. 

For true crime fans: Murder Among the Mormons
Criminals, bombs, murders – these aren’t words you normally associate with Mormons, but this Netflix docu-series tracks the unbelievably shocking tale of crime and deception that shook the Latter-day Saints Church in Salt Lake City in 1985.

For a dose of reality TV: Bling Empire
Dubbed the Asian Kardashians, Bling Empire is a Netflix reality show that follows a group of ultra-wealthy Asian-Americans living in Los Angeles, affording a window into the world of private jets, haute couture and, of course, personal dramas galore.

5 Binge Worthy Netflix Shows That Will Make You Smarter

As the city faces another interruption to routine and productivity, many of us have become home-bound to our screens and itching for some mental stimulation. Since sifting through new shows can be overwhelming, we’ve compiled a list of 5 binge-worthy Netflix series that will make you smarter while still providing hours of entertainment. 

5 binge worthy netflix shows that will make you smarter_suitsSuits

Genre: Legal Drama

Witty and sophisticated, Suits follows college dropout, Mike Ross who accidentally lands himself a position at a New York law firm under charming and reputable corporate attorney, Harvey Specter.

5 binge worthy netflix shows that will make you smarter_100 humans100 Humans

Genre: Reality, Psychology, Comedy

100 Humans is a social experiment with snarky commentaries and scientific explanations that will make you laugh-out-loud and pick up new information on fascinating topics like happiness, motivation and sex.

5 binge worthy netflix shows that will make you smarter_blacksailsBlack Sails

Genre: Historical-Fiction, Adventure, Pirate

The show dives into pirate lore and the adventures of notorious and feared Captain Flint and his crew during The Golden Age of Piracy on an island of lawlessness.

5 binge worthy netflix shows that will make you smarter_atypicalAtypical

Genre: Comedy, Drama, Family 

Inspiring lessons on empathy, the story revolves around 18-year-old Sam Gardner as he navigates through high school, college applications and dating as a teenager with high functioning autism. 

5 binge worthy netflix shows that will make you smarter_money heistMoney Heist (La Casa de Papel)

Genre: Foreign, Crime-Drama, Suspense

This Spanish crime drama will keep you on your feet crying out, “Dios Mio!” as you follow plots of The Professor and his band of misfits in an attempt to rob £2.4 billion from the Royal Mint of Spain.