Netflix’s new streaming phenomenon Squid Game is a TV show all about making choices, often with life-changing (or ending) consequences. Now the show’s producers—which include Netflix itself, and Siren Pictures, Inc.—are being forced to make a life-altering decision of their own: Whether to submit the series for the U.S.’s Primetime Emmy awards.
This is per Variety, which reports on a statement from the Television Academy today, confirming that the series (about adults who risk their lives playing children’s games for increasingly absurd quantities of cash) does qualify for consideration at next year’s Emmys. That’s because Netflix didn’t just import the series from South Korea, as it often does; it co-produced, paid for, and gave creative direction to the show, too, allowing it to qualify as enough of an “American” production in order to clear the bar.
The question, then, becomes: Does Squid Game want that? Because if the Lee Jung-Jae-starring series decides to go for the Big Prize, it will, by default, be making itself ineligible for the annual International Emmys—where, presumably, its high profile, top-notch production values, and general name recognition might make it much more likely to pull down that coveted “Emmy-winning” descriptor.
The alternative is to subject the series, which is violent, absurdist, leftist, and unmistakably Korean, to the attentions of the U.S. Emmy voters, a group much less demographically inclined to binge watching until all hours of the morning just to see who survives this latest game of murder marbles.
It’s a decision of a type that’s only going to become more important in the coming years, as TV itself becomes far more global, spurred on by the efforts of Netflix and its fellow streamers to push beyond inconvenient national boundaries. Ultimately, Squid Game is presumably going to do what the majority of its messaging suggests we all do, and pick whatever it thinks serves its interests better—but whether that’s take a big risk of losing at the Primetime Emmys, or scoring easy victory at the Internationals, remains to be seen.