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‘Squid Game’ Eyes Biggest Netflix Series Title, Shocking the Streamer: ‘We Didn’t See It Coming’

The bonkers Korean survival thriller is taking the world by storm.

"Squid Game"

“Squid Game”


Netflix’s chief content officer Ted Sarandos expressed surprise at Vox Media’s Code Conference this week (via Variety) when revealing the Korean survival drama “Squid Game” is becoming such a blockbuster for the streaming giant that it could soon dethrone “Bridgerton” as the biggest Netflix television series of all time. The first season of Shonda Rhimes’ Regency romance stands atop Netflix’s list of most popular series by household (82 million) and most popular series by hours spent viewing (625 million). As always, it’s important to note the streamer counts 2 minutes of streaming as a view.

As reported by Variety: “Sarandos said that high-concept Korean survival drama ‘Squid Game,’ which premiered Sept. 17, has a very [big] chance of becoming the biggest Netflix show ever, and currently ranks as the No. 1 show worldwide on the service. ‘We did not see that coming, in terms of its global popularity,’ Sarandos said.”

“Squid Game” comes from writer-director Hwang Dong-hyuk, whose credits include the feature films “The Fortress,” “Miss Granny,” and “Silenced.” The film riffs on reality television in telling the story of a group of contestants who agree to participate in a mysterious survival game with a grand prize total of nearly $40 million. The game includes hundreds of contestants who play traditional children’s games with deadly twists. Lee Jung-jae, Park Hae-soo and Wi Ha-joon star. All nine episodes of the show’s first season are now streaming globally on Netflix.

In a review for The Guardian, writer Henry Wong said the show’s “closest comparison is another South Korean drama, 2019’s Oscar-winning, zeitgeist-capturing ‘Parasite,’ where the country’s class divides led to a bloody conclusion.” Wong adds, “Masterful cliffhangers give the series a requisite binge-worthy appeal and the set pieces are hideously inventive, but it’s the show’s eclectic cast that keeps viewers watching.”

Check out the full lists of popular Netflix series below.

Most Popular TV Series by Households (First 28 Days of Release)
1. “Bridgerton” Season 1 (82M)
2. “Lupin: Part 1” (76M)
3. “The Witcher” Season 1 (76M)
4. “Sex/Life” Season 1 (67M)
5. “Stranger Things 3” (67M)
6. “Money Heist: Part 4” (65M)
7. “Tiger King” Season 1 (64M)
8. “The Queen’s Gambit” (62M)
9. “Sweet Tooth” Season 1 (60M)
10. “Emily in Paris” Season 1 (58M)

Most Popular TV Series by Overall Hours Spent Viewing (First 28 Days of Release)
1. “Bridgerton” Season 1 (625M)
2. “Money Heist: Part 4” (619M)
3. “Stranger Things 3” (582M)
4. “The Witcher” Season 1 (541M)
5. “13 Reasons Why” Season 2 (496M)
6. “13 Reasons Why” Season 1 (476M)
7. “You” Season 2 (457M)
8. “Stranger Things 2” (427M)
9. “Money Heist: Part 3” (426M)
10. “Ginny & Georgia” Season 1 (381M)

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