Squid Game: Biggest Hit in the History of Netflix

SQUID Game, a meme on TikTok and Halloween costumes, seemed to have popped out of nowhere in September 2021.

But it has become a smash hit, on track to become Netflix’s most-watched series ever — dominating the charts as the most popular show in more than 90 countries which is unprecedented for a Korean show.

Created by Hwang Dong-hyuk, there are nine episodes in the first season of Squid Game, currently available to stream from Netflix. Each episode is about an hour-long, with a total season run time of 485 minutes.

It depicts a violent competition where some 456 entrants were threatened with violence and death by guards in red uniforms, to survive a brutal “children’s playground games” and

potentially win 45.6 billion South Korean won.

Each of the 456 participants is given a number to identify them – and the protagonist is number 456, also known as Seong Gi-Hun, played by Lee Jung-Jae, a gambling addict who lives with his mother and hoping to pay off his debts.

The controversial show doesn’t shy away from violence and gore with many bloody scenes where participants were gunned down openly. In many countries, school children are discouraged from watching the show.


Netflix has been investing in foreign language programming since 2015. Currently, it is devoting more of its budget to shows from India, South Korea, Japan, and Nigeria, having spent more than US$1 billion on Korean programs alone.

Currently, the three most-watched shows on Netflix in September 2021 were “La Casa de Papel” from Spain, “Sex Education” from the U.K., and “Squid Game” from South Korea, the first Korean show to make a major breakthrough.

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