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Squid Game The Challenge Review: Reality series mimics original drama but misses on the main challenge of entertainment

Squid Game adaptation, Squid Game: The Challenge unveiled its initial five episodes on Netflix on Wednesday, and left viewers waiting after the cliffhanger ending of Episode 5.

Squid Game The Challenge Review: Reality series mimics original drama but misses on the main challenge of entertainment
Squid Game: The Challenge Review

Last Updated: 09.14 PM, Nov 23, 2023


“It’s like Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, going after the Golden Ticket," a participant in the reality series speaks to the camera. From the first few minutes to the end of episode 1, your heart will sink deeper and deeper, extinguishing the adrenaline rush the original Kdrama has ignited two years back.

The reality competitive series is based on the Emmy award-winning Squid Game and revolves around a series of children’s games to win a hefty sum of 4.56 million dollars. The agenda of the competition is to eliminate the other players and race to the top. Every time a player goes home, the money for that player gets added to the glass piggy bank.

Written and directed by Hwang Dong Hyuk, who also served as the director of the immensely popular original drama, Squid Game.

Squid Game: The Challenge derails the original concept of anti-capitalism

Set in a similar set with an Escher-risqué staircase, black-hot pink masked guards, and contestants wearing the numbered tracks, the reality series successfully mimicked the drama in appearance but failed to grasp the concept that make the show iconic. Although the reality show is not made entirely to be compared, the makers lost the essence and plunged into darkness as soon as they sow the seeds of superficiality by adapting it without adding a new approach.

Revolving around capitalism and dehumanization concepts, the reality competition is just hollow. For instance, the contestants are thirsty for money and lack the essence of relationships or bonds formed in the real world. Indeed, the series is centrally focused on winning, but the contestants are not much likable. Even the talking heads miss the point of forming a deeper connection with the audience. Just as we get acquainted with a character and its “true colors” the player is eliminated.

Episodes spin around games and uninteresting challenges

The first episode is based on the game, “Red Light Green Light,” apart from reminiscing the original series, it is a monotonous attempt to create hype.

Instead of shooting the players (like in the original run), the contestants are shot with a paintball gun, and the black ink is splattered whenever someone gets eliminated.

The second episode is the Dalgona candy episode, where the contestants separate the geometrical shape from the candy bar and failing to do so leads to the exit.

The only episode that does not reek of repetition is Episode 3, where a new game is played between the participants, it’s called “Warship.” In the game, players are teamed up and then the caption based on the strategy and mind game, shoots the missiles to the enemy ship. The loser captain will be going home with the sunken ships and players. It’s the only time, that evokes a string of fun in the otherwise boring series. Even the race against the clock feels irritating at times.

With an array of contestants, you can expect to find a college dropout, sixty-something older man and woman, middle-aged people, and even a lesbian-married couple.

Amongst the pairs like best friends, husband-wife couples, and one lesbian couple, the one that stood out was the mother-son duo (players 301 and 302), who gained attention and tried to build a connection (at least they tried). After the fifth episode, out of 456 contestants, only 63 get to participate in the upcoming challenges like the marble game.

You can either ditch this painstakingly recreated version with superficial challenges and script or can stream it for a hollow trip down memory lane!

The first five episodes are currently streaming on Netflix.


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