I first heard about Netflix’s new original series, “The Queen’s Gambit” back in 2020 on a Chinese radio. The hosts were discussing the latest TV series and movie hits. After hearing many overwhelmingly positive reviews about the series, I was curious to see for myself what is so good about the show.
Adapted from the 1983 novel of the same name by Walter Trevis, “The Queen’s Gambit” centers around a young orphaned girl, Beth Harmon who fell in love with chess when she stumbled upon the janitor in her orphanage playing a game. The series takes the audience on a journey as it navigates Beth’s quest to become the greatest chess player while also battling an addiction to “tranquilizers” from an early age.
I was a bit skeptical at first because I don’t really have that much knowledge about chess and was worried about the topics of addiction being too dark for me. After watching the series, I can say that the show is absolutely phenomenal. I loved every moment of it, and even still thinking of it to this day brings me goosebumps, like I’m watching it for the first time.
First, the acting was incredible and very well done. The leading actress, Anya Taylor Joy played Beth for the majority of the series while Isla Johnston played a younger Beth. Both actresses were a joy to watch. Anya Taylor Joy was able to bring life to her character. She was able to convey so much through her eyes, facial features and body language.
Having not read the original novel, I found the pacing to be perfect, with the perfect balance of drama and tension. The setting, which was in the 1960s, was portrayed beautifully, and the color scheme and lighting were really aesthetic. The colors brought life to the characters while also highlighting their setting. The CGI was creatively integrated to demonstrate the player’s genius strategies at work. Overall the show was aesthetically pleasing and fits the overall tone of the story.
More than anything, what makes this series real and fascinating are the characters and how they grow and change around each other. We can feel their passion for winning and see them communicating through old-fashioned methods which makes each exchange more meaningful. All the characters are given real, in-depth conversations that feel natural and draw us into the story. The attention to detail to all the character’s interactions makes the show unlike anything else and captures their goal of success and overcoming obstacles very realistically.
I absolutely loved the series and would recommend it to everyone who has time. The show leaves an emotional impact on you while watching, and after, ending with its intense but not overdone plot. To sum it up, this show is a must-watch and truly a piece of art.