‘The Queen’s Gambit’ Is Netflix’s Most-Watched Limited Series Ever — Here’s Why Fans Can’t Get Enough of the Show

People cannot get enough of The Queen’s Gambit. The miniseries premiered on Netflix on Oct. 23, 2020 and is based on a 1983 novel of the same name by Walter Tevis. It stars Anya Taylor-Joy as a chess prodigy named Beth Harmon, and the miniseries follows Beth as she seeks to become the world’s greatest chess player in the 1950s and 1960s.

The Queen's Gambit
Anya Taylor-Joy visits | Rich Polk/Getty Images for IMDb

‘The Queen’s Gambit’ set a record with Netflix

On Nov. 23, Netflix reported that The Queen’s Gambit is the streaming platform’s most-watched limited series to date in its first 28 days after 62 million households watched the show. This set a new record for Netflix, and Peter Friedlander, VP of Netflix Original Series, published a blog post about the miniseries’ success.

“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,” Friedlander wrote.

Still, the executive acknowledged that no one at Netflix predicted the success of the miniseries.

“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,” he wrote.

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The influence of ‘The Queen’s Gambit’

In the blog post, Friedlander explained some of the miniseries’ impact on viewers. According to the Netflix executive, the number of new chess players “has increased five fold on Chess.com” and Google searches for chess have “hit a nine-year peak.”

Friedlander also shared that while The Queen’s Gambit novel was released 37 years ago, intrigue about the new Netflix show has brought Tevis’ novel onto The New York Times bestseller list. The International Chess Federation reported to Netflix there is “significantly higher interest” in the 2021 World Championship.

Will there be a second season?

The Queen’s Gambit on Netflix essentially used the entire premise of the book, so if there was a hypothetical second season, the series would have to move on from its source material.

In an interview with Town & Country, executive producer William Horberg and members of the cast shared their thoughts on the possibility of a second season.

“We’ve had a lot of fun talking about what happens tomorrow,” Horberg told T&C. “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.”

Taylor-Joy and Harry Melling, who played Harry Beltik, would be willing to return for a second season. However, both actors are unsure if Season 2 of The Queen’s Gambit should ever be made.

“If I’ve learned anything from being in this industry, it’s never say never,” Taylor-Joy said. “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.”

“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,” Melling told T&C. “I don’t know if there can be another one, but stranger things have happened.”