The Queen’s Gambit tops the Netflix charts and shows that intellectual drama can be just engaging and popular as high action romps.
Netflix new show tops the charts
An intelligent and engaging drama
Fans will be disappointed there will be no Season 2
Prior to 2007 the only real options for on demand viewing was Netflix original website for ordering DVD’s delivered to your door. Now, after the online streaming service launched its now dominating streaming platform in 2007, there are multiple streaming platforms including HBO Max, Hulu, Amazon Prime, Disney+, etc, to choose from with an ever-increasing array of new and original viewing content across the spectrum of genres.
As such, it is easy to get lost in the variety available and increasingly difficult to find that one show that sees you truly glued to the screen. It is even harder for shows to conquer the entire market and engage mostly all of the viewing public with great storytelling, beautiful cinematography and exceptional acting.
“The Queen’s Gambit” is an improbable contender for the crown of top streaming hit on paper. After all, it is a show about Chess, which is not widely considered the most exciting or engaging of games for the broader general public. Nor does the show engage in large amounts of gratuitous nudity or explicit sexual displays. Furthermore, unlike other more recent big hitters, it is not a show filled with fast-paced, enthralling live action.
Despite not hitting any of these modern-day story-telling staples, the show manages to trap the audience in its spell right from the outset and keeps them coming back for more for it limited seven-episode run.
The show, based on the 1983 book by Walter Tevis of the same name, is set across the 1950s and 1960s. It sees nine-year-old orphan Beth Harmon from Kentucky, played by Anya Taylor-Joy, is a quiet and morose child who is orphaned during a car crash that kills her mother. During her time at the orphanage, she is introduced to chess by the institution’s janitor.
As she grows and develops it becomes increasingly clear that the girl is gifted beyond her years.
By the tender age of just sixteen, she’s competing for the U.S. Open championship. However, as she grows in ability and confidence so does her desired to use a number of negative methods to escape the rigidity of the game that has engulfed her life.
The entire series acts as a deep and succinct study of Harmon’s life and character. The emotional and engaging story demonstrates her personal growth and her struggles to succeed as a talented individual in a male dominated environment.
The tale is entirely fictional however the gravitas with which the emotive story is told makes it easy to believe that this could be a true story of the struggles of a cultural pariah. The escapism to a world where the focus is on intelligence and intellect is a welcome getaway from our modern-day struggles where divisiveness, fake information and dumbed down content is become more and more normal.
DID YOU KNOW?
Heath Ledger was originally attached to direct a film adaptation of The Queen’s Gambit before his untimely death in 2008. This was meant to be Heath Ledger’s directorial debut with Elaine Page in the lead role.
However, fans of the series are set to be disappointed as it is highly unlikely that the series will get a second season. When Netflix releases their “Limited Series” it is usually because it is a one-off event. Furthermore, the original source material that is based on does not have a sequel book.
When asked about returning for a series two, Taylor-Joy told Town & Country, “If I’ve learned anything from being in this industry, it’s never say never.”
“I adore the character, and I would certainly come back if I was asked to, but I do think we leave Beth in a good place. I think the rest of her life will surely be an adventure as well, but in the quest that she goes on in this to find some form of peace, just some form of being able to be happy with who she is. I think it ends in a nice place.”
Harry Melling, who plays Harry Beltik, added, “It’d be good, right, a Queen’s Gambit part two? The place we end in the limited series is the place we end in the book. I don’t know if there can be another one, but stranger things have happened.”
The show’s Executive Producer has denied that a series two will happen, saying: “We’ve had a lot of fun talking about what happens tomorrow. The last scene feels like a beautiful note to end the show on, so I’m not sure if we want to go on and answer that question. Maybe we can just let the audience imagine what comes next.”
“The Queen’s Gambit” is available to view on Netflix now.
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