The 8 Show Review: The Game of Oppressors and the Oppressed Will Keep You Hooked

The 8 Show Review: Directed by Han Jae-rim, the Korean thriller series (더 에이트 쇼) is based on Bae Jin-soo’s webtoons Money Game and Pie Game. It stars Ryu Jun-yeol as Jin Soo, Chun Woo-hee as Se Ra, Park Jeong-min as Philip, Lee Joo-young as Chun Ja, Moon Jung-hee as Moon Jung, and Bae Sung-woo as Sang Goo, alongside Park Hae-joon, Lee Yeol-eum, and other talented actors. The Netflix series consists of 8 episodes with a runtime of 50 minutes each.

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The 8 Show Review Does Not Contain Spoilers

The 8 Show Review

If there’s one thing Korean media excels at portraying, it’s the dynamic between oppressors and the oppressed, and this show captures that theme brilliantly. While the premise of the series may initially feel reminiscent of the popular K-drama Squid Game, The 8 Show is distinctly unique in its narrative and execution as it tells the compelling story of eight individuals who find themselves trapped in an eight-story building. Within this building, they earn money for every minute they remain inside. Each floor has a different rate per minute, adding a strategic element to their survival. The participants must engage in various activities and entertainments to earn more time, thereby increasing their chances of staying longer and earning more money.

The series delves deep into the psychological and social dynamics of its characters, exploring themes of desperation, greed, and human resilience. The intense and suspenseful atmosphere is heightened by the distinct characteristics and backgrounds of each individual, making for a gripping and thought-provoking viewing experience.

The 8 Show Review: The Game of Oppressors and the Oppressed Will Keep You Hooked

The series begins by introducing our main character and occasional narrator, Jin Soo, played by actor Ryu Jun-yeol. Similar to Squid Game, it starts by detailing his background story: he is deeply in debt and contemplating suicide. At this crucial moment, the show’s owner invites him to participate in the game. Unlike Squid Game, there is no visible face controlling the events; instead, the contestants live freely while being observed by an unseen, presumably wealthy audience. Initially, the concept and themes of the show are unsettling, but as the series progresses, they become increasingly random and unpredictable.

The irony of The 8 Show Kdrama is that, despite its chaotic narrative, viewers continue to watch even when they feel a desire to stop. The show mirrors the dark web’s concept of an audience willing to pay for increasingly disturbing entertainment. The central game ensnares the desperately poor with the promise of wealth, provided they can entertain those watching from above. In this contrived environment, every action of the participants is scrutinized and deemed a form of entertainment, even the most mundane or private activities. The eerie premise reflects themes of voyeurism, desperation, and the lengths to which people will go for a chance at a better life, all while being disturbingly captivating to its audience.

The 8 Show Review: The Game of Oppressors and the Oppressed Will Keep You HookedThe 8 Show Review: The Game of Oppressors and the Oppressed Will Keep You Hooked

In The 8 Show, participants are confronted with minimal guidelines: a single complimentary meal and access to water for the day. Beyond these provisions, they must pay for all additional necessities, including restroom usage, which comes at a steep price. Everything within the confines of the show operates on a skewed economy, with costs inflated to a staggering degree—1000 times higher than their real-world counterparts.

This ruthless environment fosters a sense of individualism among the contestants; there are no clear heroes or protagonists to champion. Each character is solely focused on their own survival and financial gain, rendering traditional notions of sympathy or empathy obsolete. Despite the lack of traditional rooting interests, the sheer intensity of the competition and the uncertainty of its outcome keep viewers irresistibly engaged, eager to witness how each participant navigates the perilous landscape of the game in pursuit of wealth.

The 8 Show Review: The Game of Oppressors and the Oppressed Will Keep You HookedThe 8 Show Review: The Game of Oppressors and the Oppressed Will Keep You Hooked

Talking about the characters, Chun Woo-hee’s portrayal of Se Ra, also known as the 8th floor, was commendable for her ability to embody chaos from start to finish. Throughout the series, her character consistently elicited feelings of anger and frustration, to the point where some viewers may have wished for consequences to befall her. She adeptly portrayed the role of a manipulative and antagonistic woman, ultimately dominating the entire show with her performance.

Similarly, Lee Joo-young’s portrayal of the 2nd floor character showcased a strong and memorable personality throughout the series. The entire cast deserves praise for their commendable performances, which effectively drew viewers into the narrative. However, a disappointing aspect of the show lies in its depiction of nastiness and depravity, which at times makes it challenging to watch. The relentless focus on the notion that time equals money and money equals time adds to the discomfort, underscoring the show’s unsettling atmosphere.

The 8 Show Review: Final Thoughts

Is the show bad? Definitely not. It’s a mixed bag, really. While it has its moments that will undoubtedly tickle your funny bone, thanks to its infusion of dark comedy, it’s not exactly suitable for everyone. Why? Well, there’s a fair share of nasty and unbearable scenes that might just leave you feeling shell-shocked.

But amidst all that, the performances are downright incredible. Especially noteworthy are the female leads; they simply steal the spotlight, commanding attention with their skilful portrayal of complex characters. That’s not to say the male actors lag behind; they hold their own admirably, contributing to the overall richness of the show’s tapestry.

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