Since its debut in September, the international success of Netflix’s Squid Game series has inspired legions of memes, trends and parodies on social media. However, would you still call it “inspiration” if someone took a page out of their playbook to produce another series which is almost an uncanny replica? Chinese streaming giant Youku was the recipient of some heavy criticism lately after unveiling one of its upcoming variety shows which looked and felt a lot like the mega Netflix hit. Even the title 鱿鱼的胜利 which literally translates to Squid’s Victory, is almost a dead ringer.
And it’s not just the title that’s similar. The show’s poster with its pink and white font as well as the triangle, circle and square symbols all look too familiar. But what really seals the deal is the concept which like the Korean series is all about playing familiar games from childhood which tests contestant’s physical strength, intelligence and teamwork. Korean netizens are understandably outraged. Meanwhile, Chinese netizens also lambasted the show for copycatting, calling it shameless and a loss of face.
It Was a Mistake
Responding to the uproar, Youku issued a statement of apology yesterday, clarifying that due to an oversight, staff had mistakenly used the first design draft of the new variety show which had already been rejected. It also confirmed the title change of the show to “Victory of the Game” 游戏的胜利.
“Youku sincerely apologises to everyone for the misunderstanding caused by this incident. Moving forward, we will strengthen our controls process and work harder to present good works.”
Squid’s Victory (now rebranded to Victory of the Game) is not the only one to come under fire for certain similarities to shows produced in Korea. In fact, another upcoming Youku produced show entitled We Love Dancing 了不起的舞社 which also bears a great resemblance to the popular dance competition Street Woman Fighter was also criticised.
As for copyright, Korean media reports that Netflix South Korea confirms that there have not been any discussions made with the Chinese side to discuss copyright issues related to the program. Likewise, Street Woman Fighter’s producer Mnet also confirms there have been no contracts signed for a potential Chinese spin-off of the show.