The Queen’s Gambit has broken streaming records on Netflix, becoming the platform’s most viewed limited series to date. The show, which was released in October, also received high praises from critics, instantly making a name for itself.
The coming-of-age period drama features lead cast Anya Taylor-Joy as Beth Harmon, an orphan and chess prodigy. She takes the world of professional chess by storm while also dealing with issues of emotional trauma and drug addiction. The show is based on the 1983 novel of the same name by Walter Tevis.
Using the platform’s official Twitter account, Netflix announced the news saying, “A record-setting 62 million households chose to watch The Queen’s Gambit in its first 28 days.” Thus, it has become “Netflix’s biggest scripted limited series to date.”
In addition, Netflix also shared that the series entered Top 10 in 92 countries, and ranked 1st in 63 countries. The novel where it was based on also made The New York Times bestseller list, 37 years after its release. Furthermore, Google searches for “How to play chess” have reached a nine-year peak.
The Queen’s Gambit was released to critical acclaim. It received a 100% approval rate at Rotten Tomatoes, with the audience score being slightly lower at 97%. Collective reviews commend Taylor-Joy’s performance, a feat that surely cements her position as a household name among Netflix streamers. Praises were also given to the show’s attention to period details, aptly reimagining the 1950s and ’60s. Moreover, high-profile chess players also applauded the series’ accuracy in portraying the game and the thought process of the players.
The Queen’s Gambit: What makes the series so popular?
The Queen’s Gambit may at first seem limiting because of its focus on the chess world, thus targeting a limited audience. However, with the show dwelling into Beth’s inner psyche, her struggles with addiction and mental health, further depth is added. In other words, viewers found the series even more enticing because of the added factor. Moreover, it also presented unique and exciting ways to show the inner-workings of Beth’s mind whenever going against formidable chess opponents.
Another significant factor that may have played for The Queen’s Gambit soaring reach is its release date. It rightfully premiered at a time when most major TV shows face delayed releases because of the pandemic. Viewers then are desperate for something to watch. While it surely would have been a success regardless of the release date, the numbers still reflect a current state. They are products of a time when viewers look to take their minds off the chaos of the real world.