It did not take long for The Queen’s Gambit from Netflix to skyrocket to the top favorites of the streaming service or to create a social media stir. And if you’re curious what the buzz is all about, you might be surprised to hear that the hype is about a series about the quiet game of chess if you haven’t already seen it.
Most of the credit is due to breakout star Anya Taylor-Joy, who in her first 28 days fascinated audiences-62 million households, actually, according to Netflix-with her stellar lead role as Beth Harmon, an orphan who was taught in the 1960s by the janitor of the orphanage how to play chess. Harmon grows into a strange chess player fighting a pill addiction as well as the odds in the sport against her as a girl, all while displaying her amazing sense of style.
Though Harmon proves to be a powerful natural player from episode to episode, when it’s time to face Russian World Champion Vasily Borgov at the end of season 1, her biggest challenge comes. Series director and writer Scott Frank takes viewers inside the world of chess with beautiful visuals and subtle choreography, saturating us with knowledge of chess history, sequences, and literature that can somehow be understood even by non-chess players.
The Queen’s Gambit: It could Still Continue
As a limited series, Netflix produced The Queen’s Gambit, which, as its title implies, is meant to be, well… limited. But of course, that was before the show became his short series of most-watched scripts ever.
Netflix announced that the series was an unexpectedly massive victory in a November announcement from the streaming giant. “On Netflix, a record-setting 62 million households chose to watch The Queen’s Gambit in its first 28 days,” the statement said. The firm also announced that in 92 countries the show made the top 10, and ranked number 1 in 63 countries.
And while there is no independent monitoring outside of the streaming service for ratings, the show is also smashing off-screen records. The Queen’s Gambit novel is now on the New York Times Best Seller list, in the category of paperback trade fiction, 37 years after its publication.