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What Squid Game's Emmy Wins Mean For The Future Of Diverse Television

GameRant 9/26/2022 Reanna Rose Gonzalez
© Provided by GameRant

Nearly everywhere that Squid Game was released, it almost immediately developed a large fan following. From the impressive and reflective makeup, graphics, and costumes, to the underlying theme which discretely makes a lesson out of the brutal gore and violence, the show is exactly what an action drama series should be. This praise carried over into this year’s Emmys as the show was nominated for 14 awards and won 6 of them.

A couple of these awards were particularly prestigious and earned the series the honor of being the first foreign-language drama series to receive them. Aside from making history and going home with awards, the show likely inspired many other filmmakers across the world to pursue sharing their work globally, without the fear of it being poorly dubbed and that hurting how it’s received.

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What set this series apart from others is how well it used the bad side of people– the darkness of humanity– to reflect how vital human connection and community are. Squid Game criticizes the broken parts of society by making them the standard or the norm– making them seem inescapable or unavoidable– which creates a greater challenge out of the seemingly simple and well-known task of doing the right thing.

Because the series mastered a meaningful and entertaining storyline, word of its quality spread and more and more people tuned in to the show. Even more, as word of how watching the translated version of the series took away from the quality of the performance, more people than usual watched the series in its original Korean dialogue form. The significance of this is that it shows that people are more willing to fully embrace all the qualities of other cultures if they understand the significance of those qualities. Viewers that watched the show in Korean were able to fully experience the show as it was meant to be.

While reading subtitles when watching a show might require more work, it allows the audience to get an honest presentation of the actors as well as the world and culture. This seemingly simple change in viewing habits takes watching a show from being entertaining to being truly immersive. If more viewers were willing to give subtitles a try, they’d probably be surprised how much more fluid and natural the performances and animation in shows or films tend to be. Because Squid Game served as such a perfect example of the vitality of a show’s native language being used, it’s received a lot of credit from fans and filmmakers across the globe for helping to call attention to the subject.

If viewers and critics didn’t watch the series with its original dialogue, they lost out on seeing just how much the actors brought the characters to life. This is highlighted by Lee Jung-jae winning the Emmy for best actor in a drama series. While his physical acting was equally phenomenal, his performance can’t be judged adequately without viewing it with his own voice.

His win goes to show just how much an actor’s voice contributes to their success in making the audience connect to the character. A good actor can essentially perform through three forms of expression: facial expressions, body language, and verbal language. These qualities are all equally important in the performance, which alone goes to show how much watching with subtitles adds to believability and emotional influence of a performance.

Squid Game went from being everybody’s favorite series to binge, to being a beacon of light for other creatives with aspirations of going global. It even has a deeper significance in foreign countries like the U.S. as it demonstrates the viewing possibilities that are available to us through being open-minded to the genuine forms of tales from other cultures. The stories coming from cultures we’re less familiar with offer more than new folklore, legends, or customs to explore in stories– they offer entirely immersive experiences that open our eyes to things we didn’t even know were possible– if we allow them to.

Since Squid Game’s release and success, streaming services have released even more content that explores under-represented cultures, including their native languages. Even the recently released Prey film, a staple in the Predator franchise, has an option to watch the film in a Comanche translated version which pays more tribute to the characters that the story follows. There are also, of course, the shows that have always been released first in their native tongue, like nearly the entire genre of anime. Though such shows may have always offered the original dialogues, the success of Squid Game has even affected them as more people are now discovering anime, or returning to their favorite animes, and watching them with subtitles instead of dubbed.

This series, which the creator had to work so hard and long to get made, paid off in the biggest way imaginable– it inspired others across the world to tell their story, just exactly how it should be told. While Squid Game isn’t solely responsible for people being more willing to watch shows with subtitles, it serves as a prime example of the benefits of it, and it undeniably inspired a number of people to be more open to this method of television viewing. Because of Squid Game and shows that are like it, the future of television looks a lot more inclusive, thought-provoking, fresh, and exciting.

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