‘I need to stop.’ I whispered to myself, as I clicked the next episode.
Disclaimer: This post has spoilers and discusses sensitive topics.
‘Netflixing’ is a real addiction many suffer from; the act of binge-watching has become ever more rampant especially during the pandemic.
Netflix is a digital media service which provides subscription-based videos on demand from a library of films and television series.
Since its inception in 2007, it has taken the world by storm because of the amount of worldwide digital media that a person can get on their fingertips.
It came out at the perfect time, when technology was becoming more vast, complex, and worldwide as they were able to integrate themselves into the society and create a niche for themselves.
With technology, came globalization, no longer were people oblivious of the world. Everything is now a few searches away, thus, Netflix has used globalization to their advantage to have their services worldwide.
Netflix is very smart, and they know how to keep their viewers glued to the screens.
The trick of Netflix?
Well, it is to have movies and television shows from different entertainment businesses worldwide, Hollywood, Bollywood, the Japanese Film Industry, the Spanish Cinema, and the Arab Cinema are some of the media sources that are available for ‘netflixing.’
With new cinema options, people are no longer bored as they are able to view many different cultures, languages, and feelings which they would not experience if these options did not exist.
Netflix has rapidly expanded internationally and broken barriers in media which have never been seen before. It is to be noted that the COVID-19 pandemic is a huge factor to why Netflix has been able to achieve this preliminary success.
Therefore, Netflix has globalized and has captured on the success of international shows such as Squid Game, Al-Rawabi School for Girls, and Money Heist
What draws people into these television shows? And what are the similarities between these shows?
The main similarity these shows have are that they are internationally made from around the world, and they each display their unique culture, country, and identity that intrigues the viewers and wants for more.
The most important factor is the feelings that develop from watching these shows. The feelings of fear, horror, love, sadness is the pile of emotions that people who watch these shows go through.
International shows show a different picture of reality for people, people want change and want to experience different things, because oftentimes, watching the same type of cinema becomes boring, and no one should know it better than you!
You were the one who was stuck at home during the pandemic, and with nothing to do, ended up ‘netflixing’ to get out of your mundane life, and realized that there are so many choices on Netflix, and watching different genres of cinema is enjoyable.
Each one of these shows; Squid Game, Al-Rawabi School for Girls, and Money Heist, are special in their own ways with immensely creative storylines that draw in viewers.
“Red Light, Green Light”Squid Game
If you haven’t been living under a rock, then you should know the blockbuster Korean horror-thriller drama on Netflix called Squid Game directed by Hwang Dong-hyuk.
Since its inception in September of this year, this show has been breaking all records on Netflix, and is virtually seen everywhere.
In a synopsis from Netflix, “Hundreds of cash-strapped players in utopian fantasy South Korea accept a strange invitation to compete in children’s games. Inside, a tempting prize awaits — with deadly high stakes”.
Every player has some type of debt and personal stake which is why they are forced to play this game.
The plot of Squid Game is relatively like Hunger Games- Be killed or be the killer.
Squid Game is a bloody affair of being the only surviving champion to win the tempting prize at the cost of your morality.
As Vox explains, Squid Game is allegorical as it uses themes and its characters to display the impact of capitalism on modern society. It shows the real face of capitalism, it shows what people do when they are in debt and in desperate need of money. This show interconnects innocent childhood games with the real game-the game of life.
Tiktok and Instagram are to be thanked for the increasing viewership of Squid Game because of their powerful platform. Mainly, the memes on the female doll, Younghee, and the attempts of the honeycomb candy challenge has intrigued viewers like me to watch Squid Game.
Every time Instagram or Tiktok is opened, there is always some post on Squid Game, may it be about the characters or the hilarious memes, it has relatively globalized everywhere. In terms of characters, Ali Abdul, Seong Gi-Hun, and Kang Sae-Byeok are the most popular characters on the show
What is unique is that the most popular character Ali is a Muslim. He is a kind-hearted character who from day one is willing to risk his own life to help others. Ali goes into the games in the hope of winning money for his family in Pakistan.
He is portrayed as an immigrant who knows how it feels to be excluded and have cruel treatment towards them. He is there to win the cash, but also creates friendships that eventually lead to his unfortunate demise.
Trust is risky in this show, as Ali’s sad and unfortunate demise displays that.
Moreover, Seong Gi-Hun, who is the main character, lives a miserable life until he hears about this survival game. He has created a niche for himself in this show, and it is about his life in the games.
Kang Sae-Byok, who is a North Korean defector, enters the games to pay her broker and retrieve her family from the other side of the border.
It is important to signify Ali. In many movies and shows, there is always a stereotypical portrayal of Muslims as terrorists, mullahs, uneducated, and barbaric.
Squid Game attempts to demolish these barriers, the director and writer should be applauded for creating a place of Ali in the heart of every Squid Game fanatic.
If Squid Game keeps this up, they will be able to break the records of Bridgeton, being the most watched show on Netflix.
The globalization of technology and social media, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic is to be thanked for Squid Game being popular. When the pandemic hit, people were at home and it boosted the usage of Tiktok and Instagram, Instagram has 503M worldwide downloads and Tiktok has 2.6B downloads.
With the memes and posts on Tiktok and Instagram, people are going to be influenced to watch the show, thus, Netflix is getting free marketing.
This marketing is good, it is globalizing the community together and introducing different cultures, people, and storylines that were not seen before.
This show is the newest phenomenon and is a must watch.
The first season has ended, brace yourselves, a second season is coming.
Al-Rawabi School for Girls
Al-Rawabi School for Girls is a Jordan based television show directed by Tima Shomali based on the lives of three outsiders, Mariam, Dina and Noaf. These bullied outcasts at prestigious Al-Rawabi School for Girls plot risky takedowns to get back at their tormentors Layan and Raina.
Al-Rawabi School for Girls is Netflix’s fourth original Arabic production premiering in more than thirty languages in over 190 countries. Upon its inception, it quickly became a most-watched series in many countries.
This show is like 13 Reasons Why and Mean Girls, set in a high school background discussing the ups and downs of individual characters, their fears, hopes, and mindsets.
Their main similarity: Revenge
Revenge against people, people who have tormented them, they want to fit into the popular clique, but fail to do so, only to realize in the end that they do not need any clique, they need to understand who they are as a person, and the only clique they will need is their own.
The most intriguing part of this series is the attempt to discuss the lives of women and the patriarchal society they live in.
It attempts to speak about the freedom-restricted society for women in Jordan, where honour and being dutiful daughters are emphasized in society, and the words “What will people say” is ingrained into the minds of many.
This show is a raw show about women, made by a team of women. It highlighted many controversial aspects of Arabian society such as honour crimes, hijab, bullying, harassment, and the stigmatization of psychological treatments.
In this show, women target the reputation of other women, a reputation which has been ingrained in their minds as a make-or-break factor because of their society.
Here, nothing is more important than what society will say about the reputation of women, without reputation in this society, a woman ceases to live.
It is a progressive and a raw show that is a ride of emotions that many women, Muslim or not can relate to.
It discusses the feelings and emotions of Muslims in a conservative suffocating society, it displays how women take risks and become rebellious when they are treated as a toy- a toy that will wind up and play in the hands of men and will live according to their rules.
This show is sad and horrifying, as it discusses how women in society are caged like birds, and if they decide to take any step towards freedom they will be eradicated from society.
Due to the sensitive issues of this series, it has been controversial. Its boldness has sparked a wide controversy in Jordan and similar Arabian countries
“Some Jordanians have called for the show’s removal from Netflix because of its “uncomfortable” content and projecting a “false image” of their society” noted a report in ThePrint.
Ironically, much of the bashing comes from men, this is not a false portrayal of society, it is true. In many Arabian countries, all these factors and stigmatization exist against women. Society has made a comfort-zone of ignoring their treatment of women and dehumanizing them.
Netflix is globalizing by taking about the controversial aspects of Arabian culture and society, the feelings of pain, betrayal, and anguish the viewers go through during the six-episode show will leave many flustered and think of their position in society, this is the reason why feminism and more raw portrayals of women are needed.
Usually, there is a very simple view of Muslim women; simple, conservative, and rule-abiding. Although there are women like this, many are not like this. They simply want the freedom to be free from their man-made cages where the men believe they know the best for women.
Women from around the world have applauded this show, especially Arabian women who appreciate the storyline and explain how the series has raised the prevalent but silent issues in society.
In translation: “Can we talk about Al-Rawabi Girls School? I am very proud. The first time I have seen Arab work in this way. The story and the acting are sweet, and the issues raised by the series represent our reality from bullying to domestic violence to honour crimes, etc.. Frankly, Bravo” said a Twitter User.
This is a great series by Netflix, a show of women, their hopes, fears, and strains in a conservative society created by women who have gone through this systematic society and understand the real face of women.
Netflix taking a risk into Arabian media has not gone to fail, this show has been applauded on social media for its portrayal of women. It is good how Netflix is not just living in its home, it is travelling to other countries and giving their cinemas a chance to prove themselves, and Al-Rawabi School for Girls does not fail to impress Netflix or its viewers.
“Peace in patriarchy is war against women,” (Maria Mies)
Indeed, the habitation of this show has set new standards to decipher the complicated Arabian society and provide a world where women can be free. Where there is peace in unfairness is carefully deconstructed in this show.
These good reviews and praises of the show where many women can relate to will allow Netflix to bring Arabian culture into the lives of people.
“After all, what’s more human than the fight for survival?”
Do you resonate with this statement from Money Heist?
The fight for survival is the most important thing for humans, even the most morally right person will fight to survive in this world, even if it means to take the path they would have never imagined. Money Heist is indeed provocative, it makes you think, people are forced by their conditions to survive.
Money Heist (La casa de papel, “The House of Paper”) is a Spanish heist crime dramedy created by Alex Pina.
From Wikipedia, the main plot of this show is set in Madrid, Spain and a mysterious man known as “the professor” recruits eight people who chose city names as their aliases out on an ambitious plan which involves entering the Royal Mint of Spain and escaping with €984 million. Taking 67 people hostage, the team plans to stay inside the mint for 11 days to print the money as they deal with elite police forces. The Professor who is the criminal mastermind manipulates the police to carry out his plan. In events following the initial heist, they prepare to loot the Bank of Spain, and deal with similar situations.
This show has been applauded by many for the interesting, gripping storyline that leaves people wanting for me.
The success of this show can be displayed by its five seasons.
The plot of this show and its characters can be relatable at times for people, this is where the factors of feelings come into play. People love series that they can resonate to, of course, what is the point of watching shows if they do not give people intense feelings and the want for more.
Moreover, with the mysterious air around The Professor, the most beloved character on the show. This criminal mastermind would put intelligent men at shame. His planning of the minute details is impeccable, and the way he outsmarts authorities is as intriguing.
Other characters such as Berlin, the half-brother of The Professor, Tokyo, Inspector Alicia Sierra are loved by many because of the different shades and personalities of the individuals which many people can relate to.
Sometimes a person may relate with one character and the next minute to another, it does make people realize that in the end, all humans are similar in their human nature, and survival and happiness is the instinct of all.
All was not roses for Money Heist: “Money Heist, also known as La Casa de Papel, was a massive flop in Spain. The show almost ended, as it was being scrapped and was given the order to be never resurrected again” according to a report by RepublicWorld.
Netflix taking Money Heist under their wing changed the fate of the show, and at the same time sky-rocketed Netflix to immense success.
Many people around the world have applauded this show for the impeccable delivery and the twists and turns this series has which keeps people glued onto their seats.
The world has rapidly developed with the access of media everywhere, it was not hard for Money Heist to make a breakthrough in the entertainment industry.
Stephen King, the famous author known for IT tweeted, “I do love me some MONEY HEIST.”
This show is immensely popular, and Money Heist is something that they cannot get enough of.
This success of Money Heist can be thanked to Netflix who has been breaking barriers in the media industry by expanding its projects worldwide. No longer is Netflix staying at home in its comfort zone, it is attempting to give filmmakers from around the world a chance to prove their art.
Netflix has been globalized, many of the most watched shows on Netflix are international shows.
No longer are people just watching one type of cinema-Hollywood Cinema.
People are now intrigued by international cinema; these cinemas give people perspectives into the different worlds and environments of people.
Every filmmaker around the world is different, they all have a style they use to approach cinema, and this style is unique to the counterparts in the American film industry which has always been hailed as the most popular, and well… relatively the best type of cinema.
Now, it all has changed, no longer is one type of cinema popular which is all thanks to Netflix.
Netflix is rising to worldwide fame, they have a unique set of shows and movies from various cultures around the world, the choice of people to inhibit themselves into new cultures changes their lives.
Netflix addiction is a real thing, and much of the addiction is coming through the increasing foreign cinema and shows; mainly the Korean, Arab, and Hindi cinema industries are heavily situated in Netflix which gives people different flavours of life.
The foreign shows rapidly develop feelings inside people, the only reason people keep wanting more is due to the strong feelings of fear, love, and passion that develops from these shows. It is to be noted that the help of social media should not be forgotten, Instagram and Tiktok help alleviate the success of Netflix shows. The memes, recreations, and challenges that people attempt from these shows intrigue people and they give the cinemas a chance to prove
Squid Game. Al-Rawabi School for Girls. Money Heist.
These foreign television shows from different cultures and backgrounds have changed the face of Netflix for the better!
They help portray inclusivity and understanding different people, it will help diminish biases, prejudices and negative portrayals of people, may it be of Muslim individuals such as Ali, or understanding the reasoning for people’s needs for crime, they portray the different personalities that every person can relate to in one way or another.
Netflix has globalized and emerged as a winner in the world today.