As producers prep for the second season of Netflix’s mega-hit reality television program “Physical:100,” local reporters were shown around the set for the final stage on Wednesday. Contestants who make it to the final stage will duke it out in a set resembling an underground mine.
“Our goal was for the second season of ‘Physical:100’ to look very different from the first season,” main producer Jang Ho-gi said during a press event for the second season held at Kintex in Goyang, Gyeonggi, on Wednesday.
“The concept for the first season was ancient Greece, where fighters competed with each other. For the second season, we updated it to more modern times and thought of underground mines between the 1950s to the 60s. These mines were where people sacrificed themselves and where competition and desire were rampant, so we took the concept from this location.”
“Physical:100” is a reality television program where 100 contestants compete in a series of quests to reach the top and win the prize money. The show’s first season, released on Netflix on Jan. 24 this year, topped the streaming service’s rankings globally and reached number one on the non-English language show chart after racking up over 192 million hours in total hours viewed. A second season was swiftly decided upon and has been much anticipated by viewers.
The 100 contestants participating in the second season are also much more diverse, with different occupations and body types. There will be more female contestants than in the first season, Jang added.
“The contestants range from those weighing 44 kg (97 lbs.) to 200 kg, and their body types are also very mixed. More than 30 of the 100 contestants are current or former athletes from national sports teams, and more female contestants have entered the competition. I personally have high expectations that one of the female contestants will win the final prize in this second season.”
The scale of the set for the second season of “Physical:100” is nearly double that of the first, and detailed elements of the set, such as lighting and sound systems, were improved, according to Jang.
“We expanded the set for the second season and also prepared a lot of quests around a certain theme,” Jang hinted. “We wanted each quest to be part of a larger theme and for all of them to be interconnected. Of course, safety came first in creating the bigger set.”
One of the biggest controversies surrounding “Physcial:100” in its first season was that several contestants were involved in criminal activities, with some even being charged with crimes such as domestic violence and school bullying. Viewers and critics are now questioning whether the second season can overcome such problems and check contestants’ backgrounds before their participation.
“We did everything in our power to check and verify the potential contestants’ backgrounds,” Jang said. “Going through every detail in the applications, conducting separate searches and having one on one meetings with each contestant — all this was done. We have also conducted what we call ‘mind sessions,’ where the contestants are paired with psychologists so that they do not fall under the pressure of the competition.”
Another controversy that arose during the show’s first season happened during the finale, where the quest was repeated three times due to issues with the equipment that the final two contestants were using during the episode. Jang also addressed this and said that countless simulations were run to prevent another such accident from happening.
“The nature of our show prevents us from doing rehearsals, so knowing in advance what could become a problem is a big challenge,” he said. “So our solution was to run as many simulations as possible, check each part of the equipment and prevent problems. We are also looking to use simpler and intuitive quests that do not require equipment.”
Producing “Physcial:100” has prompted Jang to reflect on his prejudices regarding the human body, and he hopes that viewers will also make such reflections and learn a lot from the program.
“I have come to think a lot about what the human body can do, what the best physique is and prejudices I had,” Jang said. “I hope viewers of the second season will not only be entertained but also come to think and reflect on these points as well.”
BY LIM JEONG-WON [firstname.lastname@example.org]