Netflix Streaming Record Broken By The Queen's Gambit

In its first month on the streaming service, the limited series adaptation of a 1983 novel is blowing up.


The Queen's Gambit, a recently released drama miniseries on Netflix, has just cracked a record-setting 62 million households watching it in its first 28 days of release since October 23. A tweet from the streaming service boasts that this is "Netflix's biggest scripted limited series to date."

The series has had global reach with viewers in many countries including Russia, Hong Kong, France, Taiwan, and Australia. A release from Netflix also reports that the show "made the top 10 in 92 countries and ranked No. 1 in 63 countries including the UK, Argentina, Israel, and South Africa." Then again, it should also likely be stated that this is Netflix itself reporting these numbers--which cannot be verified externally and have been known in the past to be dubious--so these brags should be taken with a grain of salt.

An inspiring adaptation of Walter Tevis' 1983 novel of the same name, the series is about a young chess prodigy learning the game in an 1950s orphanage who supports her adopted mother by winning increasingly bigger competitions. The popularity of the series has led to the novel cracking the New York Times bestseller list. The seven-episode series' cast includes cast includes Anya Taylor-Joy (Peaky Blinders, The Dark Crystal: Age Of Resistance), Bill Camp (Joker, 12 Years A Slave), Christiane Seidel (Boardwalk Empire, Godless).

The "limited series" designation is for shows that are not designed to be an on-going narrative--while a second season can receive a follow-up season, it will usually wrap up neatly with a conclusion. Other examples of limited series on Netflix include Godless (also from The Queen's Gambit director Scott Frank), Unbelievable, and Alias Grace.

A blog post by Peter Friedlander, Netflix's VP of original series, also indicates some interesting butterfly effects from The Queen's Gambit's popularity: Google searches for "how to play chess" have hit a nine-year peak, inquiries for chess sets on eBay are up 250 percent, and the novel that inspired the series is now on The New York Times bestseller list 37 years after its release.

Elsewhere in his post, Friedlander writes, "It's a true testament to [co-creator Scott Frank's] skill as a writer and filmmaker that he was able to bring the drama and detail of the many chess matches to life on camera."

The overall top show on the service remains The Witcher, which managed an astonishing 76 million views in its first month. Tiger King racked up 66 million.

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