The Queen's Gambit is the Internet's new favorite Netflix obsession, thanks to its cinematography, production values, performances, and one impeccable lead.
Set in the mid-'50s, the seven-part coming-of-age period drama tells the story of an orphaned chess prodigy as she traverses through a fog of drug addiction to become the best chess player in the world.
The Queen's Gambit is based on the eponymous 1983 novel by the American author Walter Tevis.
The series is set in Lexington, Kentucky in the mid-'50s and centers around Beth Harmon, an orphaned six-year-old who gets adopted into an orphanage.
While living in the orphanage, she is taught to play chess by the orphanage's custodian. As was state-mandated at the time, the children in the orphanage are all dosed with tranquilizers.
The tranquilizer enhances her ability to play chess but she quickly becomes dependent on them.
As her notoriety as a chess prodigy propels her to newer heights, her dependence on drugs threatens to drag her down.
The series is led by Anya Taylor-Joy, who in the defining performance of her life, plays the troubled chess prodigy, Beth Harmon.
Bill Camp plays Mr. Shaibe, the custodian of the orphanage where Beth Harmon is sent. A chess veteran, Shaibe teaches Beth to play chess.
Moses Ingram plays Jolene, an impertinent orphan girl and Beth's oldest and closest friend.
Harry Melling plays Harry Beltik, a state champion chess player and Beth's opponent turned friend.
Marielle Heller plays Alma Wheatley, Beth's adoptive mother and an alcoholic whose influence rubs off on Beth.
Jacob Fortune-Lloyd plays Townes, Beth's love interest, and a fellow chess player.
Thomas Brodie-Sangster plays Benny Watts, the reigning US national chess champion and later, a friend and mentor to Beth.
Marcin Dorociński as Vasily Borgov, the Soviet-Russian national chess champion, and Beth's biggest competition.
The Queen's Gambit has received overwhelmingly positive reviews from fans and critics alike.
On IMDb, the show holds a rating of 8.7 out of 10 among over 185.3k users. On Rotten Tomatoes, the show has received an approval rate of 99% with an average rating of 8.06 out of 10, and on Metacritic, the show has received a score of 79 out of 100.
The show was also historic for Netflix viewership, setting the record for "Netflix's biggest scripted limited series to date" with a viewership of over 62 million households.