In What World Was This A Good Idea?

Say you can separate yourself from the contestants’ pain, or you don’t mind because they’ve signed on for this, the question still remains — is “Squid Game: The Challenge” any good as a competition reality series? The answer, as much as it pains me to say it, is yes. Everything from a production standpoint is impressive, from the sheer size of the competition to the way both the games and “downtime” are shot and edited. There are clear heroes and villains, alliances that come to mean something, and the games themselves are (mostly) compelling.  For example, it’s impossible to make Dalgona, the cookie game, anything but disgusting in real life, especially when one of the contestants is having a stress reaction and is near to vomiting. Of the five episodes sent to critics, that was the only truly unpleasant or boring game. I was genuinely disappointed when I ran out of episodes, because I wanted to see what would happen to the contestants I had gotten attached to. It’s fairly well-made reality television, but at what cost? 

When the rest of the episodes release, I will not finish “Squid Game: The Challenge,” even though I’ll admit that I’m curious how it all turns out. That’s because of the talented creatives who put the series together and the contestants themselves, and I honestly feel like they all deserve better somehow. The reality series shouldn’t have to teach us the same lessons as the original series all over again, but that’s what we got. 

/Film Rating: 4 out of 10

“Squid Game: The Challenge” premieres on Netflix on November 22, 2023. 

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