Why Pyramid Game is the new Squid Game

Kim also said that Netflix was the only company that responded positively to Squid Game when the show’s director Hwang Dong-hyuk was shopping the series around, and its Netflix home has resulted in both positives and negatives for the South Korean film and television industry. On one hand, Kim said, creatives – including those working in non-English-language film and TV – now know they have the opportunity for their work to be seen by international audiences on one the largest streaming platforms in the world. On the other hand, there might be a temptation for some in the industry to simply replicate shows that have proven to be successful. As Kim put it, “If something has done well internationally, other people are more or less taking too much from that original series, copying and pasting into their new series”.

In April 2023, Netflix announced plans to invest $2.5bn over the next four years into South Korean TV shows, movies and unscripted series, something that Kim said will hopefully benefit the country and audiences interested in its productions. “I think the next five years will be a crucial time for the Korean drama/film industry,” Kim said. “South Korea is doing well right now, but the domestic box office records are dismal.”

Box office numbers in South Korea in 2023 came in at $598.4bn (£472.3bn) – a number that marks a drop from 2022, but which is still far above box office returns during the height of the Covid-19 pandemic.

For Yuen, a more global interest in South Korean shows such as Pyramid Game could also provide opportunities for Asian Americans in Hollywood. She explained that an increasing interest in South Korean productions could create more roles for Asian American actors in general, and that “the narrow ways that Hollywood has portrayed Asians will be replaced by a greater depth and breadth of content that will stretch how global audiences see Asians and Asian Americans”.

Pyramid Game premiered on TVING in South Korea on 29 February 2024, and new episodes will be available weekly until 21 March 2024. It will be available globally on Paramount+ later this year.

If you liked this story, sign up for The Essential List newsletter – a handpicked selection of features, videos and can’t-miss news delivered to your inbox every Friday.

If you would like to comment on this story or anything else you have seen on BBC Culture, head over to our Facebook page or message us on Twitter.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *