In news that seems to suggest executives at Netflix don’t really get what their shows are about it has been announced that dystopian-horror Squid Game is being adapted into an actual game show. In the fictional Squid Game players competed for a cash prize in what turned out to be a lethal game show, famously the Red Light Green Light game unveiling that when players were caught moving they weren’t simply “out” but shot and killed. Squid Game has been one of Netflix’s most successful shows and it makes sense that the company would want to capitalise on that but you can’t help but wonder if when watching the original show they might have missed the point. Here are some suggestions for other rather extreme gameshows based on films.
The Running Man
The Running Man was a 1987 Arnold Schwarzenegger sci-fi film in which convicts were put into a deadly game where they would fight against stylised opponents called stalkers with names like Buzzsaw (has a chainsaw) or Dynamo (fires electricity). The prize for the convicts was their freedom. Brilliantly the show combined the genuinely brutal murders with a studio audience similar to the one from The Price Is Right, who would shout catchphrases and could win The Running Man home game, creating a bizarre disconnect from the violence. Very little work needs to be done to turn The Running Man into an actual gameshow as the film demonstrates the show and the only tweak needed would be not to use prisoners but simply ask for contestants.
A Richard Pryor vehicle from the 1980s, Brewster’s Millions played out a scenario where Pryor’s character, Montgomery Brewster, had to spend $30million in 30 thirty days to win $300million – the catch being he couldn’t have any assets at the end of it. So if Brewster buys a house, that’s an asset. There is a great scene that has Brewster buying a rare stamp, which would be an asset but using it as actual postage to send a postcard. The twist for this modern version would consist of having incredibly wealthy people spend staggering sums of money as quickly as possible, the catch in this show being none of their projects have any practical, financial or cultural merit. Anyone creating something of value would be kicked off the show.
Pride and Prejudice
Dating game shows have been around forever and there are multiple versions of films and tv programmes that would provide suitable inspiration and Pride and Prejudice is considered a classic of literature, television and film. However the jaded audience of today may not find the gentile world of Georgian matchmaking, or indeed 2020s matchmaking, and so the inspiration is not Pride and Prejudice but the more immediately thrilling…
Pride and Prejudice and Zombies
Of course, zombies are fictional creatures but with the right budget, some close approximation could be achieved. The show would be a mix between polite enquiries about the marital status of your beloved and then said couples surviving a brutal zombie assault course.
There Will Be Blood
Paul Thomas Anderson’s classic There Will be Blood is a masterpiece of filmmaking with a stunning performance from Daniel Day-Lewis. The film follows Daniel Plainview and his business plans in buying as much oil as he can. This show would have contestants compete to gain a monopoly on early 20th century American oil fields by any means necessary, using Plainview’s tactics as a manual. Challenges would include utilising your children (or conveniently available other people’s children) to promote your business, having a spectacular moustache and making fake proclamations of your faith to win the support of religious leaders. The final task of an untypical game of ten-pin bowling from which only one person will walk away from.
So there we have it and all bases are covered. There is the thrilling excitement and physical danger of The Running Man, the tone-deaf money-wasting Brewster’s Millions, the love/zombie-slaying romance of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies and finally a business-orientated struggle for wealth and power that is ultimately unsatisfying in There Will Be Blood.