“The Queen’s Gambit” set the record as the most-watched scripted limited series to date on Netflix — with 62 million member accounts tuning in to the show in the first 28 days, according to the company.
There’s a caveat, though: The way Netflix reports viewing is based on the number of viewers who have watched at least two minutes of a piece of content, which is very different from how the TV industry measures audience. And the streamer cherry-picks which originals it decides to tout with the proprietary metric.
Netflix boasted about the success of “The Queen’s Gambit,” saying that the show made the Top 10 in 92 countries and ranked No. 1 in 63 countries, including the U.K., Argentina, Israel and South Africa.
“The Queen’s Gambit” premiered Oct. 23 on Netflix worldwide. The seven-episode limited series stars Anya Taylor-Joy alongside Marielle Heller, Thomas Brodie-Sangster, Moses Ingram, Harry Melling and Bill Camp.
For now, “The Witcher” Season 1 remains Netflix’s biggest original series overall in the first 28-day window with 76 million households choosing the title, at least based on the two-minute minimum viewing methodology (which the company introduced in the fourth quarter of 2019). Meanwhile, docu-series “Tiger King” was sampled by 64 million member accounts in the first month of its release, per Netflix.
“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,” Netflix VP of original series Peter Friedlander wrote in a blog post. “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.”
Currently, “The Queen’s Gambit” has an impressive 100% critics’ score on Rotten Tomatoes, and an average audience score of 96%.
Scott Frank serves as co-creator, executive producer, writer, director and showrunner. “The Queen’s Gambit” is executive produced by William Horberg (“The Talented Mr. Ripley”) and Allan Scott (“Don’t Look Now”), who is also a co-creator of the series.
The coming-of-age story “explores the true cost of genius,” according to the show’s summary. Abandoned and entrusted to a Kentucky orphanage in the late ’50s, a young Beth Harmon (Taylor-Joy) discovers an astonishing talent for chess — while developing an addiction to tranquilizers provided by the state as a sedative for the children. Haunted by her personal demons and fueled by a cocktail of narcotics and obsession, Beth transforms into an impressively skilled and glamorous outcast while determined to conquer the traditional boundaries established in the male-dominated world of competitive chess.