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SYFY WIRE Squid Game

Sorry, Stranger Things and The Witcher: Netflix says Squid Game is biggest series launch ever

By Trent Moore
Squid Game Shoes 2

Netflix has spent the better part of a decade creating some of the biggest, most successful TV shows in the modern era. That list has included cultural phenomenons like horror hit Stranger Things and dark fantasy epic The Witcher — but none of them have proven bigger than an under-the-radar Korean import that has taken the world by storm.

Netflix has revealed Squid Game is the streaming service’s biggest ever series launch, with more than 111 million fans watching the series in its first 17 days on the service. The show is the first to ever surpass 100 million upon its premiere. Not bad for a series that was such a long shot it took creator Hwang Dong-hyuk a full decade to finally sell it.

Squid Game debuted September 17 on Netflix, and since then it has clocked in at No. 1 in the service’s “Top 10” list in a globe-shattering 94 countries. The show also broke the record for a non-English title locking in the No. 1 spot in the United States, with Squid Game remaining No.1 for 21 days (and counting).

SYFY WIRE has reached out to Netflix for some additional information, though the service always keeps things a bit nebulous when it comes to its data reporting. That said, this news makes it clear that Squid Game has proven a bigger hit (at least at launch) than massive successes like Stranger Things, The Witcher, and Sweet Tooth. That’s also, of course, ahead of non-genre hits like The Queen’s Gambit, Bridgerton, You, and Tiger King.

If you’re unfamiliar (and if so, where have you been?!), Squid Game is a South Korean survival thriller with some horror overtones that channels familiar properties like Battle Royale and Hunger Games, but with a socio-economic twist and some brain-twisting gimmicks built around deadly, reimagined spins on childhood games. You win this gauntlet of kid’s games and you take home millions and millions of dollars. Lose? Then you die.

The first season of Squid Game is streaming now on Netflix. With the show becoming such a phenomenon so quickly, there are actually no active plans for a second season at this point. But creator Hwang Dong-hyuk says he’s open to returning to this world after he finishes some other projects, and we’ve already taken a look at how the Season 1 finale is a great set-up to kick this story off into a second season.