Skip to main content
If you click on a link and make a purchase we may receive a small commission. Read our editorial policy.

Netflix's Squid Game is doing a reality show, and I am having complicated feelings about it

Netflix's Squid Game: The Challenge debuts November 22 and it looks bonkers

Netflix has just released a trailer for a new reality competition series based on Squid Game called Squid Game: The Challenge. Yes, that Squid Game. And yes, it does seem to begin with the challenge where everyone who moves when the angry giant doll is looking at them gets gunned down.

Watch on YouTube

Okay they don’t actually get gunned down so much as they get blasted with paint pellets, but the result is the same: they’re out of the game. (Also, even knowing it was likely going to be just paint pellets, I still jumped every time someone got shot.)

The game show seems to have everything from the series—the room filled with bunkbeds, a massive glass fishbowl filled with cash hanging above; the spooky red hoodied guys in black masks; the marble tournament; the bridge filled with trap doors; and of course, lots and lots of politicking and betrayal. (It also seems to have a lot of other games, like a human Battleship that looks wild.)

All of this should be a big turnoff to me. Squid Game was vicious; I don’t need to see real people putting themselves and others through that. I don’t need to see people fighting for food or money or getting shot by a giant angry doll. It's also already spawned a YouTube competition with 522 million views.

But if I’m being honest, I think I’m more fascinated by the reality show than I was by the series, specifically because these are real people putting themselves through this. Who does that?

Also, I want to know, how will their behavior compare to that of the characters? Will they be as vicious or desperate as some in the show? Will they show a greater charity? Refuse to be set against each other?

Here’s the thing that makes me most uncomfortable: I actually think I want to see people at their ugliest. I want that glimpse into the abyss.

In part, there’s something safe in seeing moral monstrosity out there in front of us. It makes it seem like something separate, not of-us. Maybe watching the show even becomes like a kind of exorcism, a way of confronting and banishing some of those demons we all have banging around within us.

But maybe I just love the thrill of not knowing who is next to be shot, dropped from a bridge, or betrayed. Come November 22nd, I guess I'll have 10 episodes to find out.

Here's a list of all the major upcoming TV shows to watch out for.