The new reality series is about survival on a deserted island. The shape is known. However, South Korean production is completely different.
Oh, how would a reality game show be structured? This is the thought that comes to mind when watching the South Korean Netflix show Siren. The differences in American or German competition formats are staggering: what a wonderful and respectful treatment for these candidates, who really want nothing more than to show what they can do – as in other Netflix reality formats from this earth, “Physical 100” (Fitness) and «Dance 100» (choreography).
In Siren, 24 women walk through mud to a deserted island where they must survive and compete for seven days in six teams, divided into policewomen, firefighters, bodyguards, soldiers, athletes, and women. These are the women who know exactly what they’re doing – and they don’t fight for anything but honor.
This is the first serious difference from the other formats: There are no prize money, no record deal – and therefore no ethical arguments along the lines of: “Yeah, I betrayed the person I agreed to work with – but hey, that’s the way the rules are, and I just want to win.” A million dollars!”
In “Siren,” on the other hand, a team of female soldiers, for example, doesn’t switch places when digging a well with a team that’s already made more progress — you either win your own stuff or you don’t win at all. Or later, during one of the so-called base battles—which involves stealing another team’s flag from their barracks—the athletes can betray the soldiers and take them out with a proposed alliance with the firefighters and ladies; There is not even a discussion about it, only the declaration: we don’t want to win like that!
This leads to the second major difference: no one is cast as a villain or ridiculed, as is the case with German formats such as “Deutschland sucht den Superstar” or “Best Model in Germany” Known. On the one hand, the ten episodes show what talented and well-trained people compete against each other. And how they even praise the achievements of others. Accept referees’ decisions with understanding and see your own mistakes instead of questioning the regulations.
A game show format is being created in which winning, which is about it of course – there are often fierce fights and sometimes gruesome injuries – is not so much on top. Instead, it’s about showing what happens when you push people to their limits. This is amazing. And completely different from what I’m used to.