The television review of the ‘Squid Game’ reality show portrays it as relentlessly dystopian and irresistibly captivating.

Since the moment Reed Hastings joined an earnings call sporting a green-and-white tracksuit, it became evident that Netflix might have drawn misguided lessons from the success of “Squid Game.” In 2021, the South Korean drama, crafted, written, and directed by the auteur Hwang Dong-hyuk, unexpectedly captivated a global audience with its bleak and violent allegory of capitalism exploiting the desperate majority for the amusement of the affluent few. Hastings, a wealthy and influential tech founder, seemed more akin to one of the masked spectators in the titular game than a contestant risking their life for a prize, though the irony appeared lost on him.

This week, the contradictions intensify with “Squid Game: The Challenge,” a competition series that brings Hwang’s vision to life, sans the mass murder and much of the social commentary. The show represents Netflix’s latest endeavor to address an ongoing challenge. Devoid of established franchises, the relatively young company must exert extra effort to transform its in-house successes into enduring sources of intellectual property. While “Squid Game” itself is slated for a Season 2 next year under Hwang’s direction, the urgency of brand-building leaves little room for quality control. “The Challenge” is just one facet of a multi-pronged strategy to capitalize on the “Squid Game” phenomenon. In the coming month, Los Angeles-based fans can engage in “Squid Game: The Trials,” a paid opportunity to simulate debasement for a slim chance at alleviating their debts. Reality TV and immersive “experiences” are not only more cost-effective but also quicker to produce than scripted content, providing a steady stream of content during the prolonged wait.

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