While the rest of the world still can’t get enough of Netflix’s Squid Game, two popular competition TV series are making waves in South Korea – Street Woman Fighter and Girls Planet 999.
Both shows are airing on South Korean cable broadcaster Mnet and, like past competition shows on the channel, they are hits within the country and outside it, too.
Despite airing at the same time – both began in August and will air their finales within days of each other – the dance-crew-focused Street Woman Fighter and the K-pop talent search show Girls Planet 999 are very different.
Girls Planet 999 is the latest of Mnet’s supersized K-pop idol competition shows, in the vein of its popular, but rigged, Produce series that ran from 2016 to 2019 and produced K-pop groups I.O.I, Wanna One, Iz*One and X1.
The concept of featuring hopefuls competing for places in a new pop group has been replicated in similar shows around Asia, including Japan and China. For Girls Planet 999, Mnet opted for 99 competitors, split into three teams from South Korea, Japan and Greater China, the latter including contestants from Taiwan and Hong Kong.
With the number of contestants whittled down through performance-based competitions, voting and chances to reorganise the contestant teams, the final nine left standing will form a new K-pop group during the finale on October 22. The show is popular with K-pop fans– the official Twitter account has over 200,000 followers.
Street Woman Fighter, meanwhile, features different female dance crews competing each week for recognition as the best and most popular team.
As the Mnet competition series Show Me the Money did for rap, so Street Woman Fighter has shed light on the South Korean dance scene and is raising the profiles of some of the featured dancers who have previously worked with popular K-pop acts.
However, Street Woman Fighter garnered criticism for not initially providing the eventual winner with a monetary prize, unlike Show Me the Money. It was later announced the winning crew would win about US$40,000.
The show has become one of the most popular in South Korea this year, with the dance crews on the series rapidly gaining popularity on social media. Some of the competitors recently joined hip-hop artist Jessi in the music video for her song Cold Blooded.
The crews on Street Woman Fighter will tour South Korea for a live “On Stage” series throughout November and December.
Street Woman Fighter will air its finale on October 26 and Mnet has already announced a sequel called Street Girls Fighter for later this year.
According to the channel, the sequel was announced because of the number of younger dancers sharing their Street Woman Fighter-inspired dance covers online. The leaders of the dance crews on Street Woman Fighter will become judges on Street Girls Fighter.Internet Explorer Channel Network