After playing in a record-setting 62 million households Netflix’s The Queen’s Gambit has been crowned the streamer’s biggest scripted limited series to date. This momentous achievement happened just 28 days after the series made its Netflix debut, adding yet another feather to Netflix’s ornate cap.
In taking about the drama’s record-breaking move, VP of Original Series, Peter Friedlander, released the following statement:
“Three years ago when Scott Frank (Godless) first approached us about adapting The Queen’s Gambit – Walter Tevis’ 1983 book about a young chess prodigy – we felt it was a compelling tale. Beth is an underdog who faces addiction, loss, and abandonment. Her success – against the odds- speaks to the importance of perseverance, family, and finding, and staying true to, yourself.
However, I don’t think any of us could have predicted that The Queen’s Gambit – and the extraordinary Anya Taylor-Joy – would become the global phenomena they are today or our biggest limited scripted series ever.”
It was also noted that since launching on Netflix in October, The Queen’s Gambit novel is now on The New York Times bestseller list – 37 years after its release. Furthermore, Google search queries for chess have doubled while searches for “how to play chess” have hit a nine-year peak. Additionally, inquiries for ‘chess sets’ on eBay are up 250% and Goliath Games says its chess sales have increased over 170%. It’s also been said that the number of players has increased fivefold on Chess.com. Last but certainly not least, the conversation around the show has also led to significantly higher interest in next year’s World Championship, according to the International Chess Federation.
Truth be told, I myself have contemplated downloading a chess game via mobile since watching The Queen’s Gambit. The show does a superb job of presenting the game of chess as an intellectual gauntlet of perception and sacrifice, and what better time to learn than during lockdown? In fact, now that I think about it, I have a glass chess set that’s never been opened in my basement. I should dig that sucker out and get to work.
While finishing his thoughts about the series, Friedlander paid respects to the team that brought Elizabeth Harmon’s (Anya Taylor-Joy) journey to life on the small screen by saying:
“It’s a true testament to Scott’s skill as a writer and filmmaker that he was able to bring the drama and detail of the many chess matches to life on camera – generating rave reviews and a rare 100% on Rotten Tomatoes. Scott also had tremendous help from the series’ talented crafts team. Costume designer Gabriele Binder’s exquisite use of checkerboard patterns in Beth’s wardrobe, composer Carlos Rafael Rivera’s suspenseful score, editor Michelle Tesoro’s gripping montages, production designer Uli Hanisch’s vibrant choices that pop off the screen in every scene, and cinematographer Steven Meizler, whose work transformed every match into heart-pounding drama.”
I still have several episodes to go before finishing the saga, though if the remaining chapters are as compelling as the ones I’ve seen so far, The Queen’s Gambit could definitely move into place as one of my favorite series of the year. If you’ve yet to check it out I highly recommend giving it a go. Overall, the show is intense, unforgiving, and at times a bit scandalous. What’s not to love?