Shown above is a scene from the South Korean thriller Squid Game, which sweeps the global Netflix charts. Photo courtesy of Netflix

Korea’s Netflix original series sweeps global charts

South Korea’s Netflix original series “Squid Game” continues to dominate the international rankings since it hit No. 1 in the global charts on Sept. 23, a week after its premiere on Sept. 17.

According to the streaming content ranking site FlixPatrol on Oct. 12, the nine-episode thriller topped the podium in 74 countries out of 83 places where the U.S. streaming services are available.

Included in the countries are the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Brazil, Australia, Spain, and Sweden. Of note is that it ranked No. 2 in South Korea.

The dystopian series, directed by Hwang Dong-hyuk, depicts hundreds of desperate contestants who play six rounds of life-or-death childhood games.

The eventual winner of the battle royale is supposed to get 45.6 billion won ($39 million), but all the participants should risk their lives.

There are criticisms that the show is overly cruel, as demonstrated by its brutal killings of people. But it held a high approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes, the measurement of quality for movies and TV series.

“Like Joker, there’s a having-it-both-ways insistence that a culture that could create violence is inherently sick and deranged while playing out a wildly overstated version of sick derangement in a manner designed to be maximally tense and amusing,” Daniel D’Addario from Variety told Rotten Tomatoes.

“Hwang has created one of the most immersive television worlds since Game of Thrones, with relentless entertainment value and remarkably fleshed-out, sympathetically flawed characters. It’s a provocative morality play,” Samuel R. Murrian from Parade Magazine said.

The Squid Game is the first South Korean show to top the U.S. Netflix charts. It stars such Korean actors as Lee Jung-jae, Park Hae-soo, and Lee Byung-hun.

Its writer-director Hwang told Korean newspapers that he would make a sequel to the hit drama, but not in the near future.

Hillary Lee studied literature in Seoul. Lee has big interests on various topics including IT, BT, business and finance. Lee can be reached at homin30@hanmail.net or 82-2-6956-6698.