The seven-episode period drama stars Taylor-Joy as Beth Harmon, a young chess prodigy striving to become a grandmaster in the game while struggling with addiction.
Thomas Brodie-Sangster plays her fiercest competitor, while Bill Camp and filmmaker Marielle Heller (who directed Can You Ever Forgive Me? and A Beautiful Day in the Neighbourhood) also star.
Despite receiving little of the same attention as recent Netflix content including Emily in Paris and the remake of Rebecca, both of which provoked widespread scorn, The Queen’s Gambit has already become a sleeper hit among viewers.
“I really thought The Queen’s Gambit would just be something to put on in the background,” tweeted one fan. “It’s now 9:45 on a school night and I’m fully entranced.”
“I never knew Anya Taylor-Joy and Thomas Brodie-Sangster playing chess could be so hot,” another viewer joked.
Another added: “Anya Taylor-Joy can do anything, and that includes make seven hours of TV about chess riveting and kind of sexy.”
Agadmator, a popular chess YouTuber, also expressed surprise at the show’s quality.
“Just finished the first episode of Queen’s Gambit,” he tweeted. “Have to say, much better than I thought it’d be.”
i never knew anya taylor-joy and thomas brodie-sangster playing chess could be so hot pic.twitter.com/yJGrCNKC2w
— alex | fan (@swiftlynatalia) October 24, 2020
Just finished the first episode of Queen's Gambit. Have to say, much better than I thought it'd be 🤯
— agadmator (@agadmator) October 23, 2020
I really thought The Queen’s Gambit would just be something to put on in the background. It’s now 9:45 on a school night and I’m fully entranced. Even when I have no idea what’s happening, Anya Taylor-Joy SLAYS this role. #QueensGambitNetflix #Netflix @anyataylorjoy
— megmayoney1995 (@megmayoney1995) October 26, 2020
Me watching The Queen’s Gambit knowing nothing about chess but rooting for Beth anyway pic.twitter.com/xrgdmJWpUD
— Loz (@Lauren_Archerxo) October 26, 2020
the queen’s gambit. white excellence.
— doreen st. félix (@dstfelix) October 25, 2020
Others have also claimed that the show is among the greatest limited series ever made, particularly by Netflix, while praising its costuming and performances.
“A hot take but, The Queen’s Gambit is so far the best Netflix original,” one viewer tweeted. “Happy tears for the stellar 70’s set style and costume design.”
Filmmaker Jason Ragosta tweeted: “The Queen’s Gambit on @Netflix is spectacular from start to finish. If it were a film rather than a limited series I would consider it a sure bet for Oscar contention, if not for the win. Amazing work by all involved. Well done and thank you!”
The Queen’s Gambit, which is entirely fictional despite many viewers wondering if Beth is based on a real person, arrived on Netflix last Friday (23 October).