Dystopian shows explore Korea's ills. Dramatizing desperate efforts to get a piece of the economic pie is proving to be big business for streaming services in the South.

In ''Bargain'' a new dystopian South Korean series on Paramount+ a man shows up at a hotel far from the city to consummate a deal.  

But wait : It turns out she actually works for a criminal - organ-auctioning operation, and the guy is about to unwillingly give up a kidney.

THEN an earthquake levels the hotel, initiating a desperate scramble for survival. And that's just the first 30 minutes.

There's an almost comical amount of calamity in ''Bargain,'' the latest offering in the push from Paramount+ into a robust South Korean streaming market that exploded with the popularity of  Netflix's. ''Squid Game'' in 2021.

Like that show, which depicted debt-ridden citizens competing in a series of deadly, Darwinian children's games for the amusement of wealthy overlords, ''Bargain'' deals in dystopian extremes. [ All six episodes began streaming on Thursday.]

But these shows aren't serving up shock for its own sake. They use dark fantasy to confront issues that plague contemporary South Korean society, particularly the economic inequality fostered by capitalism run amok, social isolation in a  frenzied tech boom, and a widespread distrust of government authority.

In a paradox of South Korean streaming boom,shows that often dramatize desperate efforts to get a piece of  the economic pie are proving a big business.

[Netflix, the world's biggest streaming service, reported that 60 percent of its subscribers worldwide had watched a Korean-language show or movie in 2022; the company plans to invest $2.5 billion in South Korean content over the next four years.]

'' We've seen a lot of demand for international content across the globe, and Korean content particularly is a phenomenon in itself, '' Marco Noblit, executive vice president and international general manager of Paramount+ said in a video interview.

'' Globalisation has really brought this to light. So certainly Korea was a top market for us.''

There seems to be a kind of '' can you top this?'' contest happening among the shows themselves.

The Publishing continues. The World Students Society thanks author Chris Vognar.


Post a Comment

Grace A Comment!