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Sunday, July 14, 2024 | Digital Edition | Crossword & Sudoku

Contestants jostle in real-life ‘Squid Game’ drama

Some of the 456 contestants who took part in “Squid Game: The Challenge”.

“Streaming” columnist NICK OVERALL reports that Netflix has remade “Squid Game” but for real-life contestants. “No, they aren’t murdered if they lose, like in the original show, thankfully.”

IT was only a matter of time before Netflix made a reality version of its smash hit series “Squid Game”.

The bizarre Korean show about contestants who risk their lives in macabre versions of children’s games for a huge cash prize remains the platform’s most watched series ever, even two years after it first released.

Now, there’s “Squid Game: The Challenge”.

In this series, Netflix has remade “Squid Game” but for real-life contestants. No, they aren’t murdered if they lose, like in the original show, thankfully.

Four-hundred and fifty-six competitors from around the world have signed up to take on this major recreation of the haunting contest.

The prize is a whopping $US4.56 million ($A6.92 news), the highest ever cash reward in the history of reality television.

Unsurprisingly, it’s proven another hit with subscribers, but Netflix wasn’t actually the first to cash in on the idea.

Two years ago YouTube star “Mr Beast” used his own channel to create a real life version of “Squid Game”, which managed to rack up 536 million views. A staggering achievement for a YouTube video.

No way Netflix wasn’t getting in on that kind of popularity.

From the creepy guards who wear shapes on their faces to the colourful and surreal sets, Netflix has now poured millions into recreating the atmosphere of “Squid Game” right down to the finest of details.

Well, apart from the fact that death isn’t the penalty for being disqualified.

But it seems filming certainly wasn’t all sunshine and rainbows.

Some of the contestants are threatening Netflix and the show’s producers with legal action, claiming they got nerve damage and hypothermia while filming some of the games.

Looks like “Squid Game: The Challenge” might have claimed some kind of victims after all.

THIS month Apple TV Plus has dropped one of streaming’s biggest spectacles yet.

“Monarch: Legacy of Monsters” brings the iconic movie creature Godzilla to the small screen.

Set in the same universe (or “monsterverse” as the producers have so subtly called it) as the recent “Godzilla” and “King Kong” reboots, this series follows two siblings attempting to uncover their father’s mysterious connection to “Monarch”, an organisation dedicated to containing gigantic monsters that roam the earth.

“Some secrets cannot be contained” the show’s dramatic tagline teases.

What, you mean the hulking, 200-metre-tall secrets that in the other films in this franchise have already made mincemeat out of several major cities? You reckon?

Kurt and Wyatt Russell (a father-son duo both in the show and real-life) co-star in this one, bringing some much-needed heart to a story that scales things down to a TV budget while also trying to hang on to the epic scope of the films.

“The movies are about cities that get destroyed. This is about the people who have been destroyed,” the show’s executive producer Matt Fraction told “The Hollywood Reporter”.

“I think what will bring people back week after week is not necessarily big monster battles. It has to be a group of human beings you follow that journey with.”

It’s a balance the show’s creators have struck remarkably well. The characters have a surprising amount of depth, even if the story itself doesn’t.

Still, fans of the atomic age mega lizard will find plenty to love here in what, if nothing else, can be called a major evolution for blockbuster TV.

ALSO making news in the streaming rounds at the moment is “NCIS: Sydney”.

Now streaming on Paramount Plus with eight episodes, this is the first time the hit show has been set in another country, after several spin offs in LA, New Orleans and Hawaii.

Personally, I’ve never been a fan of the weekly formula “NCIS” manages to churn out, but fans of the long-running TV show will be sure to find something of value.

While we’re here though, what about “NCIS: Canberra” – or better yet, “NCIS: Queanbeyan”.

You’d get one hell of a season out of that!

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Nick Overall

Nick Overall

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