Hit South Korean show Squid Game is officially Netflix’s biggest ever original series launch after reaching 111 million fans worldwide. It’s even more significant than other popular shows such as The Bridgerton (82 million), The Witcher (76 million), and Sex Education (40 million).
The nine-part thriller, in which cash-strapped contestants play childhood games with deadly consequences in a bid to win 45.6 billion won ($38 million), has become a worldwide sensation for Netflix since its launch less than a month ago.
The nine-part South Korean series centers around Seong Gi-hun (Jung-Jae Lee), riddled with debt and constantly on the run from loan sharks, as he struggles to provide for his daughter and mother. So naturally, when this opportunity to win a fortune comes up, he jumps at it. But he soon ends up involved in a series of deadly games.
The dystopian drama has inspired countless memes, Halloween costumes of the ubiquitous green tracksuits worn by contestants, and real-world recreations of the various games. It has also sparked a debate within South Korea about toxic competitive societies and prompted new interest in its culture and language around the world.
“Squid Game has officially reached 111 million fans — making it our biggest series launch ever!” Netflix posted on Twitter.
Squid Game has officially reached 111 million fans — making it our biggest series launch ever! pic.twitter.com/SW3FJ42Qsn
— Netflix (@netflix) October 12, 2021
The series reached that total in just 27 days since its release on Sept. 17, easily outpacing U.K. costume drama “Bridgerton,” which was streamed by 82 million accounts in its first 28 days.
Netflix gives limited information on viewing figures for its platform and cuts the data it does provide in various ways. The 28-day debut figures it released for Bridgerton and other shows included any account that watched an episode for at least two minutes.
Last month, Netflix co-CEO and Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos told a tech conference in California said the streaming service was surprised by how popular “Squid Game” has become.
At the time of its release, Netflix’s co-CEO Ted Sarando: “Squid Game will definitely be our biggest non-English language show in the world, for sure, and there’s a very good chance it’s going to be our biggest show ever.”
“We did not see that coming, in terms of its global popularity,” he said.
The series was so popular that South Korean Internet service provider SK Broadband sued Netflix to pay for increased network traffic and maintenance work because of the surge in viewers.
And a South Korean woman was in talks with the U.S. firm about compensation after she was deluged with thousands of prank calls and text messages when her phone number was inadvertently highlighted as a critical plot point in the series.
Now that the series is Netflix’s most popular, fans are curious if there’ll be a second season on the cards. The finale certainly leaves room to continue the story, but so far, nothing has been confirmed.
However, series creator Hwang Dong-hyuk has told a Media outlet: “I do realise there are huge expectations for Season two. It’s not that I haven’t thought about Season two at all, and I also do have a rough framework for it. But I keep asking myself whether I can make it better than Season one. I do not want people to get disappointed over the new Season.”
He added that he might focus on Oh Il-Nam’s (Player 001) backstory, a key character in the first Squid Game season. If season 2 were to happen, we could learn a lot more about him.
Squid Game is currently available on Netflix, and all nine episodes of the Season can be watched there.