Netflix has dropped a trailer for the upcoming reality series Squid Game: The Challenge. The forthcoming show starts with 456 contestants competing for a $4.56 million prize in events repackaged (minus the brutal violence) from the scripted series. What better way to follow a fictional critique of modern capitalism’s exploitation of the financially desperate for profit and entertainment than to embrace a reality TV spectacle that exploits the financially desperate for profit and entertainment?
Among other games ripped from the South Korean show, the competition’s trailer showcases the original series’ creepy “red light, green light” doll as players in green tracksuits nervously scoot across the floor, ready to stop at a moment’s notice. (In this version, the “gunshots” fired at infringing players involve pre-placed blood packets exploding on their chests.) In standard reality TV fashion, there are hints of shameless backstabbing and plenty of lusting over the prize money. Masked guards create an ambiance of intimidation as Sammy Davis Jr.’s “I’ve Gotta Be Me” plays in the background, echoing the source material’s theme of unlikely riches as the sole path to fulfillment in a late-capitalist hellscape.
When the competition was filmed earlier this year, each player subjected themselves to this exhibition for a 0.22% chance at a couple of million dollars after taxes.
The reality series made headlines earlier this year when several contestants reportedly required medical attention, proving that irony has flatlined, and Netflix is selling tickets to view its corpse. “It was like a war zone,” one player told The Sun. “People left in tears.” The report described frigid conditions: one exhausted player was hauled away on a stretcher while others crawled to the finish line.
“Even if hypothermia kicked in then people were willing to stay for as long as possible because a lot of money was on the line,” one competitor said. “Too many were determined not to move so they stood there for far too long. There were people arriving thinking they were going to be millionaires but they left in tears.”
As a contestant says in the trailer, “This is a savage game.” Squid Game: The Challenge begins streaming on Netflix on November 22.