Siren: Survive the Island: Also try not to get killed
June 1, 2023 3:48 PM - Season 1 (Full Season) - Subscribe

24 female police officers, firefighters, bodyguards, soldiers, athletes and stuntwomen team up by profession to compete for survival on a remote island in this Korean reality competition. Six 4-woman teams each must defend their own base daily while trying to capture another team's base, but also must compete in "arena challenges" to earn prizes and base-capture privileges.

I'm equally enthralled and worried by this show. I love the concept, the complete lack of a host getting in the way, and the interpersonal dynamics of each team (the stuntwomen's mutual support! the firefighter who powered through to protect her leader!). The worrying part is the danger - for example, in an early episode the teams had to chop wood as fast as they could, and it became clear that not all of them have chopped wood before. That at least 18 of the women have hand-to-hand combat training and all 24 appear to be willing, able, and authorized to tackle enemy team-members just adds to this.

That being said, I sort of want Sergeant Kang to step on me.

Available on Netflix in Canada, so probably Netflix in other countries, too. Pro-tip: unless you can read Korean, write down what each team's color is (police are blue, firefighters are orange, etc).
posted by Mogur (17 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
slYouTube trailer is here
posted by Mogur at 4:41 PM on June 1, 2023

I'm sorry it is an entire island of strong women fighting to survive? This is a show? Oh Lucy Lawless, pin me down and tell me I'm not dreaming! THANK YOU FOR POSTING THIS.
posted by dorothyisunderwood at 7:47 PM on June 1, 2023 [2 favorites]

My heart jumped when I thought I saw a new episode of Siren.
posted by polytope subirb enby-of-piano-dice at 4:14 AM on June 2, 2023

Me: "They could really edit these down to a tight 30"
[Keeps watching]
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 6:51 PM on June 2, 2023

Can confirm it's on US Netflix (at the moment).
posted by The corpse in the library at 4:38 PM on June 3, 2023

The next 5 episodes have dropped!
posted by Mogur at 9:04 AM on June 6, 2023

No spoilers, not yet, but the final episode made me a little misty-eyed.
posted by Mogur at 4:06 PM on June 6, 2023

Later eps are 35-38 minutes long, so they did get tighter with the editing.
posted by Mogur at 10:28 AM on June 8, 2023

Well that was a lot of fun!
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 11:57 AM on June 8, 2023

Just started watching this. Obviously don't want to read any comments yet.

Very fun, in that way of reality shows, where it's fun to try to figure out the characters of all the people involved, through the lyin' ass filter of the edit.

Really wondering about team purple/guard player who was like, "I sat down and figured out the whole gameplan and our only path to victory." I want her to be right and to be a genius. One thing I think that does show up well is just how HARD it is to make decisions and strategy on the fly.

Also I want to just live in the square house.
posted by fleacircus at 10:41 PM on June 12, 2023 [1 favorite]

This series is wild and I am here for it.
posted by nubs at 12:36 PM on June 13, 2023

Overall, I really enjoyed this! A very different style of "survival" type shows, with some interesting new wrinkles/ideas that I would love to see adopted in other places (in particular, the team focus and the "defend your area" vs. "attack another area" push/pull dynamic that the base battles create, along with their unpredictable start times).

Some nits to pick while trying to avoid spoilers:

-the base battles went from interesting and challenging, to big escalation in terms of both strategy/tactics and physical play (the thunderstorm), to kinda enh by the end - lots of running around, very short on actual tension. Gotta be a way to make these more consistently interesting and compelling, while mitigating the risk of serious injury & conflict in them (some of the defense strategies - concealing trenches/holes - had me very worried about people getting serious injuries to joints/ligaments - for people in these lines of work, possibly career ending stuff). I did love the fact that the battle could begin at any time, with no warning - was kind of awesome to see people get caught out by a sudden siren.
-unless I missed something, they had seven days but really only two (I guess 3 if you count the opening) arena challenges, which seems kind of odd.
-the calorie count to determine what you could spend was a fascinating mechanic that I felt needed to be explored more thoroughly.
-really felt there was some heavy handed editing in places to create "good teams" and "bad teams", while some other teams got virtually ignored - which I guess is what happens in the genre, but it gets irritating when you realize one team is being cast as the villains.
posted by nubs at 2:53 PM on June 14, 2023

Just finished it. They carved an interesting narrative out of it, with the soldiers seeming like big bullies, vs. the kind of lovable doofus firefighters. I don't know if other teams broke the rules the way the soldiers did -- but the edit can only lie so much, and they gave enough material for them to come across as the heels. Their punishment for throwing the fire extinguisher and fighting after getting the flag pulled seemed pretty light.

I was also really worried about injury from those holes. I wonder what the medical situation was like. MANY of them had athletic tape all over them by the end. I was also like URGGHHGG when they were battling on any roofs. I have a feeling they hid some cuts and gouges from us.

I think it's hilarious that the soldier team's sneakiest player got punked pretty hard by "guess I'll hide behind this tarp." Also I thought it was very funny that the firefighters' most powerful ruse was completely accidental, picking 8 o'clock for the battle time, getting accidentally overheard, and the soliders assuming it meant 8am (a good time to attack) and forgoing buying food. The soldiers and stuntpeople were a strong alliance, but they got mentally locked on the firefighters and basically created the other alliance by being rude, and then the firefighters literally stumbled into the alliance.

I wonder what things were like on loser island.

It's not good that the treehouse was almost impregnable.

I wish the subtitles included the names of the speaking characters. That would have helped. In any case, I didn't feel like I could really discern the personalities/roles of all four members of even the featured teams.

Feel like the show needed an MC.

I'm currently also getting exposed to another Korean tv show, Running Man, which also likes to re-show moments anime style. I almost always don't like it lol.
posted by fleacircus at 10:34 PM on June 14, 2023

Agree with the calorie thing, I would have liked to see that dealt with a little deeper. This and Physical 100 were the first Korean reality shows I've watched, and really enjoyed both. I don't know if they are typical of shows from there, but I appreciated how unlike American programmes they didn't waste a lot of time on 'humanizing' participants with interminable background segments about how they're playing for their cousin's boss' sick grandma. While it was jarring at first, I also liked how they would replay shots from different angles.

Also was worried by the traps and pretty shocked by the extinguisher throwing! More than once I caught myself thinking they probably couldn't do this show with dudes or North Americans because things would get out of hand and people would get seriously hurt; there are sexist and probably racist (Culturist?) aspects to that opinion, but also some validity, I think.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 8:41 AM on June 22, 2023 [1 favorite]

Thinking more about my last paragraph I was being racist and it looks like I'm pushing a "demure & passive Asian women" stereotype, as well as assuming the toxicity I associate with police, military, private security, firefighting, and sport cultures here in North America doesn't exist in Korea. I'm sure they screened the hell out of the participants and made it clear what actions were appropriate and acceptable, and would do the same for any versions set anywhere else.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 10:50 AM on June 22, 2023

This and Physical 100 were the first Korean reality shows I've watched, and really enjoyed both

Haven't tried Physical 100, but watching this show (Siren) got me to try another Korean reality show on Netflix - A Clean Sweep. It's about a group of retired (and a few college players who I think are considered not quite good enough for the pros?) Korean baseball players coming back to play 30 games against various opponents (so far, its been games against what look to be top notch high school teams).

Its making me think there's some certain things that are part of Korean reality TV - lots of replays of important moments, from different angles; reaction shots to those moments before they are fully shared with the audience; what I see as a need for tighter editing (the episodes are two hours long; long recaps and previews are part of that, but so is the need to apparently show every pitch); and a (from my perspective, anyways) large amount of dramatic! importance! almost! constantly! As someone with an ok knowledge of baseball, it's a little wild how often a particular pitch or situation is described as determining the fate of the game, along with how often a hit is drawn out with reaction shots of players looking skyward, dramatic music, followed by it being shown as a routine fly ball being snagged; and the need for the show to constantly explain the situation and motivations of the players in a moment is almost bizarre to me (shot of pitcher: I MUST STOP THEM FROM HITTING//shot of batter: I WILL HIT THE BALL AND SCORE A POINT). Anyways, its compelling in its own way.
posted by nubs at 7:15 AM on June 23, 2023 [1 favorite]

Missed my chance to discuss this live, but I hoovered it up in like 3 days. I loved it, despite the really obvious issues. The whole concept is just fantastic, but I wish that there had been a bit more structure and understanding of what is and isn't OK, what was being bought and used, etc. It felt like they left out a lot so that they could really show every moment of the battles.

But like everyone was saying, what were the rules about, say, fortification or flags? Breaking windows is OK? Cutting down doors with an AXE?! Full contact combat for flag removal? I expected the Soldiers to win just because they were pushing the envelope the most.

I really hope there's a second season that's slightly more well-drawn but equally raw. I loved how raw this was and the people really made it too. The camaraderie on and between the teams was amazing to see.
posted by BlackLeotardFront at 10:20 PM on July 12, 2023

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