What were the biggest movies and TV shows that transfixed Singaporeans in 2021? Yahoo's ranking based on searches made by users in Singapore shows that Asian content remains king here, with viewers being obsessed by K-dramas and Asian-inspired Hollywood movies.
With the Netflix series Squid Game (1st) being the talk of the town since its launch in September, it comes as no surprise that this sensational drama series emerged top of this list. South Korean shows remain well-loved among Singaporeans as they dominated the list of most searched movies and TV shows with seven out of the first eight spots, with the exception of World Wrestling Entertainment which sneaked in at No. 2, featuring the first-ever Singaporean wrestler on the network, Sean Tan, who secured a win on his debut match.
Long-running South Korean variety show Running Man came in at third place, beating trending K-drama series such as Vincenzo (4th), Hometown Cha-Cha-Cha (7th), and Nevertheless (8th). Marvel’s Shang-Chi And The Legend of The Ten Rings (9th) and Disney’s Raya And The Last Dragon (10th) rounded up the list as the two most popular movies this year.
Here's our countdown of the most popular entertainment programmes of 2021:
10. Raya And The Last Dragon
This movie is about a young female warrior in a fantasy world who must find the last existing dragon to save her people from a menacing plague. It made waves for being the first Disney animated film to feature Southeast Asian cultures prominently.
9. Shang-Chi And The Legend Of The Ten Rings
Simu Liu blasted into the Marvel Cinematic Universe as kungfu master Shang-Chi, which was a huge boost for Asian representation in the MCU. As Asians, it's definitely cool that the biggest movie franchise in the world is adding more faces to its cast that represent our culture.
Song Kang and Han So-hee displayed intense chemistry in Nevertheless as a pair of university students who fall in love. The drama was a realistic take on the romance genre and portrayed racy sex scenes, unusual for Korean TV, as well as a queer subplot.
7. Hometown Cha-Cha-Cha
Shin Min-a and Kim Seon-ho star in this drama as an unlikely couple who nevertheless develop a relationship. Besides enjoying top viewership ratings in South Korea, the show also got a lot of attention when Kim became embroiled in an abortion scandal. However, the rising star's reputation was rehabilitated after leaked text messages showed that he didn't force an abortion on his former girlfriend.
In Mouse, Lee Seung-gi and Lee Hee-joon star as two police officers who track down a psychopathic serial killer. Fans praised Seung-gi for his acting range as well as the show's thrilling twists and emotional depth.
5. Mr Queen
This body-swap period comedy starring Choi Jin-hyuk, Shin Hye-sun and Kim Jung-hyun is about a modern-day chef who finds himself trapped in the body of a queen in the Joseon dynasty. The finale of the show, which explored gender ideology and a queer-coded romance, drew the fifth-highest audience in tvN’s history.
A-lister Song Joong-ki made his TV comeback after a long hiatus with Vincenzo, in which he plays a mafia consigliere. The show sparked a transnational controversy between Koreans and Chinese when an episode featured a product placement of an instant bibimbap product made by a Chinese brand. It got so bad that the show had to take a break to do reshoots and Song personally apologised for the brouhaha.
3. Running Man
Lee Kwang-soo, who was a cast member of Running Man, decided to leave the long-running variety show after 11 years. He had trouble keeping up with its physical demands after he sustained an ankle injury during a car accident in 2020. His last episode, which aired in June, was an emotional one in which he cried while reading his farewell letter to the Running Man cast.
2. World Wrestling Entertainment
Why is WWE on this list? Well, Singaporean Sean Tan became the first wrestler from the country to be featured in WWE when he debuted on the major wrestling company's weekly NXT show. The 25-year-old, who is using the stage name Dante Chen, previously wrestled under the name of Trexxus for Singapore Pro Wrestling.
1. Squid Game
The grisly thriller Squid Game became a global craze, topping the Netflix daily Top 10 charts around the world. The show starring Lee Jung-jae featured a group of broke people forced to play deadly games for prize money. Creator Hwang Dong-hyuk is already making plans for Season 2.
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