There’s a good chance that you, your housemate, your nana, and even your dog have all watched the popular Korean drama, Squid Game. The show follows hundreds of desperate contestants playing a series of deadly children’s games, risking their lives for a cash grand prize.
It’s no surprise that the dystopian thriller has taken our TV screens by storm, hitting so many universally binge-worthy traits: an original and well-executed premise, plenty of ‘what would I do?’ moments, an exploration of morality, free will and survival–all brought together by the typical darkness, humour and charm of Korean cinema. Throw in Parasite-style social commentary, some mysterious Eyes Wide Shut mask vibes and entertaining life or death stakes reminiscent of The Hunger Games. Boom, you’ve got yourself a phenomenon.
So, you’ve binged the series in a couple of days, questioned the very existence of life, shared your theories with the internet, friends and family. But now what?
To help fill that void and take you back to the edge of your seat, we’ve rounded up a few similar series to binge next. Here are eight TV shows you should watch after Squid Game.
Alice In Borderland
Alice In Borderland is the next show making waves with folks who have already finished Squid Game. There’s a good chance the Netflix algorithm is already trying to push it on you–and with good reason. Based on the Haro Aso manga series of the same name, the Japanese sci-fi thriller follows a group of gamers escaping police and finding themselves transported to a wasteland version of Tokyo, where they compete in a series of life-or-death games. This show will definitely fix your craving for high stakes action. Although, fans of the 2020 Japanese show have been flocking online and arguing it outdoes its Korean counterpart. We recommend watching both and making up your own mind.
Based on Bong Joon-ho’s 2013 masterpiece of the same name, Snowpiercer follows the violent and tense microcosm of a continuously moving train inhabited by the planet’s last remaining people. Survivors of an earth whose temperature has plummeted to below -100 degrees Celsius, the train’s passengers now live entirely segregated from each other, based on class and wealth. As you can imagine, those at the back are not overly keen to maintain the status quo under the rule of the train’s elite. People stuck in confined spaces, violence and survival, plenty of social commentary and class warfare–thematically, this post-apocalyptic thriller ticks some serious Squid Game boxes.
This teen drama takes us into the small Texas town of Carp, where high school graduating seniors participate in the annual Panic competition every summer. The mysterious and potentially fatal series of challenges lead to a $50,000 cash prize–one desperately needed for a better life (sound familiar?). No one is calling Panic ground-breaking, but is this over-the-top high school series entertaining as hell and easy to binge? Absolutely.
We don’t need a lot of convincing when it comes to watching Korean zombie-style horror movies (see Train To Busan) or monster flicks (see The Host). If you’re after the confined space terror and the who-can-you-trust survival fear of Squid Game, try Sweet Home. The apocalyptic Korean horror series finds a group of survivors stuck inside an apartment complex, forced to work together as a monster apocalypse slowly spreads across the country, wiping out humanity.
Before Squid Game, Black Mirror was the dystopian sci-fi series that repeatedly and terrifyingly made us question our moralities, forcing us to face the dark realities of our modern world. Reminiscent of The Twilight Zone, the Charlie Brooker-created British anthology series (eventually picked up by Netflix) explores the dangers of modern technology and its impact on our lives in the near future and now. Like the Korean survival drama, Black Mirror is brilliantly subversive and thought-provoking, holding up a not-so-subtle mirror to our societal failures and the things we so often choose to ignore.
The Walking Dead
Okay, if you’re reading this and you love high octane, anxiety-inducing, action shows, you’ve maybe already watched AMC’s The Walking Dead. The series follows a group of survivors during a zombie apocalypse, and to be honest, enough said. Like any good horror, and in many ways like Squid Game, The Walking Dead is as much about how people act and interact behind the scenes as it is about the terror itself. What happens when humans are forced to survive? After 11 seasons and a spin-off series, the zombie horror is widely beloved. But if you’re yet to enter the universe and you’re fresh off a Squid Game stint–it’s definitely worth considering.
In a distant future, the world’s population is divided between a mainland ravaged by poverty and an offshore paradise inhabited by selected elites. Each year, ‘Inland’ 20-year-olds compete in a series of tests to be selected for the ‘Offshore’–with 3% of entrants succeeding. Testing human morality and the lengths someone will go to escape the horrors of their reality? Self-interested people forced to turn on each other to survive? Tick and tick. If you’re looking for edge-of-your-seat stakes and serious social commentary on class inequality, this Brazilian series has some major Elysium and The Hunger Games vibes.
We couldn’t make this list without including at least one anime series. When a high school student receives an invitation to try an app called Darwin’s Game, he’s mysteriously sucked into the online game and made to fight other players, each with their own unique superpower. As you can expect from a world outside live-action, the Japanese show explores plenty of dark themes, with violence only achievable through animation and a great soundtrack to top it all off.
When you're done with this epic list, check out the best new shows on Netflix.
Image Credit: Netflix