3 TV shows to stream if you liked Squid Game: The Challenge

The streaming services have some great reality game shows you should check out

007: Road to a Million
(Image credit: Amazon)

With the monumental success of 2021's Korean Battle Royale TV show Squid Game Netflix found itself in an unusual position. It had paid almost nothing for a property that not only proved hugely successful, but also changed the way western audiences felt about reality-themed television that comes from outside their usual remit.

The streaming service reacted by instantly commissioning a second series, a move that surprised the original writer who had assumed that the show would not reach the heights it did. An obvious and looming delay in supplying one left Netflix with a huge Squid-shaped hole in its programming that it needed to fix.

The answer seemed simple... build a set, grab a load of desperate z-list celebs and influencers from the internet and get them to do a real-life version of the drama.

It worked... Squid Game: The Challenge proved hugely successful too – and not just because Wolf from Gladiators is in it. So much so that there's going to be a second series.

But, while you wait for that to grace our screens, here are three other weird and wacky reality game shows you can stream right now to fill the gap.

007: Road to a Million

  • Where: Amazon Prime Video

There is an ongoing and, as of yet not denied, rumour that when Succession's Brian Cox signed up to be the host and narrator on Prime Video’s 007: Road To A Million, he thought he was signing up to be the main villain in the next Bond movie. 

I don't know if this is true or not, but having watched the show, I would be surprised if it wasn't.

The idea behind the show is such: teams of everyday contestants take part in James Bond-style challenges, quizzes and tests, across various global locations in order to prove themselves the best 00 spy. The winner takes home a cool £1 million.

Tests range from climbing, flying, jumping stuff all the way up to I'm a Celebrity... shenanigans featuring insects. It's all pretty routine and is carried along by Cox hamming it up massively as the so-called villain of the piece.

What also helps is the cinematography used through the series. With the benefit of some great location work, we get long panning shots, sweeps, drone cameras whizzing around and mixed with some very slick editing, it all adds to the James Bond feel of the show.

It's by no means a great show, but it does add something new to the streaming platform and is a welcome few hours of entertainment for Bond fans.

Floor is Lava

  • Where: Netflix

When people talk about the greatest TV show of all time titles such as Breaking Bad, The Sopranos, The Wire, and Succession are often thrown around. But while these are each outstanding, people are wrong... painfully wrong! The greatest show of all time is the 2020 Netflix magnum opus Floor is Lava. No, really.

The aim of this show is simple: a team of three friends must cross a room and escape, while, importantly, not falling into the lava below, and therefore dying a horrible, melty death.

Bruce Lee once said, "Simplicity is the key to brilliance." And I for one think he could have been watching Floor is Lava at the time.

Joking aside, this is a great show. It's well designed, fast paced, funny and has the added element of the huge pay off when cocky alpha-style contestants massively overestimate their own physical abilities and fall in. Watching people fail spectacularly is always going to be sheer entertainment.

With the third season now available there is no better time to binge this prime example of peak television. You might think that we're being sarcastic, but honestly not, its a load of fun!

Physical: 100

  • Where: Netflix

Who wouldn't want to watch 100 sweaty, muscle bound, alpha personality men and women wrestle and fight their way towards an ambiguous and seemingly pointless prize? I can only imagine that was the opening line from the creators of Physical: 100 when pitching to it to Netflix.

The premise of the show is simple: 100 contestants from various backgrounds and careers (think army, navy, police, fire rescue, etc) across South Korea are brought together to compete against one another in an ongoing selection of physical and mental events and challenges. The end result is that the group is whittled down – reduced to a single last man standing, the most physical of them all.

From hanging from things, climbing over things, lifting things, wrestling, running and mock fighting, the show never lets up and the pace is at times bewildering.

The thing that stands out when watching Physical: 100 is the tone and style of the direction and camera work. Every single shot is designed to show the build and muscle on the contestants. They are all oiled up, sprayed down with water, shot with overhead lighting and, on many occasions, in the slowest slow motion known to man. The entire show comes across as almost sexual in its depiction of its contestants. There is alpha male back slapping and high fives, long, lingering looks to camera from pouting guys and girls, and glorified tears from those leaving the show.

However, if you like to watch guys and girls with great physiques roll around when oiled up, this is 100% the show for you.

Brian Comber

Liverpool lad, mid-life crisis survivor, writer of short fiction, screenplays, articles, reviews and opinion pieces. Brian is totally in love with cinema in all its many forms. He writes for websites, blogs and published magazines, including Screen Rant, IGN and Purple Revolver in the constant hope it will help him avoid getting a real grown-up job. In his free time, he's a gym obsessive and previously good guitarist.