As we await season 2 of The Squid Game, take a look at these other shows that hail from Korea and Asia, feature high-stakes games with major consequences, or are grim tales of morality.
If The Squid Game was your first Korean drama, be sure to give Netflix’s new thriller Hellbound a spin to see what else Korean TV producers are up to. Created and directed by Train to Busan director Yeon-Sang-ho and based on his Hell webtoon, the series mixes horror with morality in an excellent way, just as The Squid Game mixes emotion with morality. When angels begin to descend upon Earth so that sinners know when they are going to die and are led to hell through a trio of smoking creatures who beat the victims to bloody pulp before frying them, the rest of the world begins to take Notice, especially in a religious cult who see this as God’s response to our growing ambivalence between good and evil.
Need more of that dark and crazy Korean dramatic energy that The Squid Game has? Buckle up and turn on Sweet Home, a fantasy horror series about a group of people locked inside an apartment complex as the world turns into monsters, monsters that reflect their inner demons, all around them. There are no shady corporations pulling the strings in games, but like The Squid Game, there’s good interpersonal drama when there’s no crazy action.
Adults shouldn’t have fun competing with each other for prosperity. The 3% Brazilian young adult series takes place during the reign of a totalitarian government, say it with me, in which young people in their 20s have a chance to escape poverty and live among the rich and happy on an island paradise. But to do so, they must be approved while going through “the process,” a series of tests designed to assess the worth of the candidate. The evidence ranges from a simple interview to solving fake crime scenes and deciphering gas-triggered hallucinations. But like The Squid Game, the goal is to move on to the next round.