After Physical: 100, another gritty South Korean reality show has landed on Netflix, this time featuring females only.
The survival show Siren: Survive the Island, released on May 31, gathers six teams, each consisting of four women hailing from typically male-dominated professions: soldier, police, firefighter, bodyguard, athlete and stunts.
Apart from showing the women's physical and mental strength, the ultimate goal for the 24 contestants at the top of their fields is to eliminate all other teams and prove that their profession is the best. No prizes have been announced; it seems the winning team brings home only bragging rights.
The participants are allowed a small bag of personal items from their backpacks.
Each round consists of an arena battle which gives the winner certain advantages. It then leads to a team battle where the goal is to invade another team's headquarters and snatch their team flag. Once the team flag has been taken, the whole team is eliminated.
Warning: Spoilers ahead.
One of the contestants is Kkang Mi, 33, whose real name is Kang Eun-mi, a first-class sergeant reservist who served in South Korea Special Forces for eight years. You may find her a familiar face as she previously participated in Physical: 100 but got eliminated in the first game where she wrestled against national wrestler Jang Eun-sil.
Kkang Mi is in Team Soldier with three other military women and this is the group that has captured the most attention so far.
Early in the game, Team Soldier displayed outstanding tactical skills, proposing an alliance with Team Stunt which contributed to them taking down Team Police.
"They are the best team in all skill sets — recon, strategy and taking advantage of the situation," one viewer on Reddit noted.
However, there was also much flak from netizens about Team Soldier's arrogance.
"They may be the most skilled and can win against any team one versus one but they're way too cocky and don't know how to negotiate, so I see them being taken down by a combination of alliances," one analysed.
Another person observed that the way Team Soldier spoke to Team Athlete was "pretty douchey".
"There is a thin line between pride and being boastful… I really liked them from their entrance but I lost interest in them as the competition progressed," another commented frankly.
While Team Stunt criticised Team Soldier for being overly defensive in their strategies after the first round, certain netizens also said it was reasonable considering their military psyche.
"They are very thorough and only go for the safest route, that's why people perceive them to 'hesitate' a lot," one person explained.
At one point, Team Soldier chose not to come to the rescue of their ally Team Stunt when the latter was outnumbered, which only invited more criticism.
"Team Soldier decided not to back up Team Stunt but I think they should've helped. It was two versus six, four versus six would have at least prevented the overload on Stunts base."
A user came to Team Soldier's defence, explaining: "They've made it a point to be cold-blooded and do whatever is needed to win at all costs… They had plenty of opportunities to help Team Stunt but chose not to because they didn't trust them."
Some had their eyes set on other teams, especially Team Firefighters, who fought against the odds after certain setbacks.
"Team Firefighter leader has main character energy… She seems like the type to save people first and worry about the consequences later," one viewer swooned.
Others were just content watching the main premise of the show
"People tend to root for the underdogs…though I'm just interested in strong women doing cool things," one netizen admitted.
The first five episodes of Siren: Survive the Island are available on Netflix. The next five episodes will be released on June 6.
No part of this story can be reproduced without permission from AsiaOne.