Squid Game : The Challenge; First Reviews

Squid Game: The Challenge is a spin-off of Netflix’s Emmy-winning program from 2021. But critiques highlight the irony of its exploitative structure.

Squid Game: The Challenge review

On Wednesday, Netflix will launch The Challenge, a reality series that is a spin-off of the 2021 Emmy Award-winning Korean drama. Although the latest episode makes for “gripping” reality TV, according to the early reviewers, it could undermine the anti-capitalist themes of the first season.

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“Gripping” reality television

The game show, in its own peculiar way, realizes the concepts in Dong-hyuk’s tale about capitalism turning people into dust by using the vocabulary of contemporary reality television. According to the Vulture review, “That reality television itself is an artifact of late-stage capitalism only underscores the point,” disputing the claim made by some that Squid Game: The Challenge is “exploitative.”

Despite acknowledging the show’s exploitative character, The Guardian’s assessment maintains that it is an enticing reality TV program to watch. It seemed logical to believe that Squid Game: The Challenge would be a cash-in, a cynical afterthought that would completely miss the mark, and maybe it does. However, the assessment notes that as a gameshow and the spectacle it aims to be, it is difficult to turn away.

Irony-induced death

A few reviews weren’t too complimentary of Squid Game: The Challenge’s tone and methodology. Netflix’s cash-in, according to The Hollywood Reporter, isn’t “pretty.” The challenge of Squid Game is not isolated. Its purpose is to profit from Squid Game, a 2021 South Korean scripted drama that is one of the streamer’s biggest blockbusters to date. The review states, “In that context, it looks more like a brand extension that fundamentally misunderstands what the brand was meant to represent in the first place rather than like a one-off curiosity.”

IGN reflects a similar sentiment in its assessment, saying, “There’s no real incentive to consider some of the show’s negative connotations, especially since any criticism about how The Challenge simulates the violence depicted in Squid Game can be brushed off with ‘it’s all just fun and games.'” But that’s precisely the issue—it’s hard to divorce its ornate sets and green jumpsuits from the environment in which they were created.

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