When Squid Game dropped in 2021, it hit in such a way that you could tell that Netflix was going to let it go on far as long as the show’s momentum would allow. Though season two is still a-ways away, the streamer is looking for other ways to fill the void left by the South Korean thriller until its return. And one of those is, believe it or not, a reality show.
Similar to the show it’s based on, Squid Game: The Challenge sees 456 contestants from around the world go up against each other in challenges based on the games within the show, and some specifically for the competition. Whoever wins gets the $4.56 million prize, and the losers do not get shot after getting eliminated, they just get sent home. You can check out the trailer below and see for yourself if this is tone-deaf and missing the point of the show a la The Hunger Games back when those movies were coming out.
Netflix announced The Challenge was in the works back in 2022, and folks understandably reacted with a good amount of confusion. (If you feel like you’ve seen something like this before, it’s because Mr. Beast did a Squid Game-like video on YouTube in 2021, which similarly received flak for misunderstand the show’s themes.) At the start of the year, reports emerged that while filming in the UK, contestants had to play “Red Light, Green Light” in sub-zero temperatures. It was further alleged said contestants were injured during these cold shoots (since they were wearing tracksuits in mid-late January), and Netflix at the time simply said the production “invested in all the appropriate safety procedures.” And to make things worse, a number of these contestants—who reportedly weren’t being paid—were said to have passed out from fatigue and the cold, and several of them later alleged the game was rigged to favor TikTok and Instagram influencers who participating in the competition.
Since then, Netflix has been fairly mum on Squid Game: The Challenge. The show premieres on November 22, and it may be that we learn more about how the show was made (and what else went on during production) in the leadup to release.
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