The Queen's Gambit: Seven-episode miniseries
October 25, 2020 8:56 PM - Season 1 (Full Season) - Subscribe

The Queen's Gambit centers the "life of an orphan chess prodigy" named Beth Harmon "from the age of eight to twenty-two, as she struggles with addiction in a quest" to become a grandmaster in chess.

Decider's Our Call: STREAM IT. The Queen’s Gambit opens up a world that feels inscrutable at times, told through the eyes of a prodigy who embraces her genius, but is as human as the rest of us.

EW.com: The Queen's Gambit creator on 'bringing sexy back to chess' and the series' long journey to TV

NPR's Fresh Air: 'The Queen's Gambit' Centers On The Kind Of Chess Prodigy We Seldom See

Poster's thoughts:
There are a lot of reviews out there besides those above and they are all about the same in identifying the key to this miniseries as being Anya Taylor-Joy. She is just great playing everything from a gawky teen to a refined young woman. And her ability at acting the part of a chess prodigy is absolutely convincing. She is aided by the costume design; the glamorous sixties of her character Beth Harmon is everything I love about vintage and period pieces from that decade.

There are other stand-out performances, but the best one is Beth's friend from the orphanage Jolene played by Moses Ingram.

Heath Ledger was supposed to direct a movie adaptation before he died that was going to star Ellen Page as Beth. That would have been interesting to see, but Anya owns this role.

As for the chess, it is all real, cooked up for the miniseries by Bruce Pandolfini and Garry Kasparov among others.
posted by Fukiyama (66 comments total) 14 users marked this as a favorite
 
Haven't watched this yet. Planning to. If Netflix want to adapt semi-obscure favorite books from my childhood, I'm not going to tell them to stop.

(Also, why is a favorite book of my childhood about chess and drug addiction?)

(Also, I'm very much wondering if they are going to include the, uh, really problematic scene.)
posted by kyrademon at 4:13 AM on October 26, 2020 [5 favorites]


Totally binged this couple nights ago, only seven episodes so did not require chemical enhancement although would be appropriate for the theme.

Comments in /r/chess affirm that it represents the 'feel' of chess tournaments authentically, it certainly goes to great length to feel like a docudrama about the sixties. I watched it cold, only knowing it was about a chess prodigy and had to google to find out it was completely fictional. The chess is very real, the games are real games, the moments of crisis on the board are actual moves that serious chess players recognize.

Some of the editing just felt odd, a pace just seemed slightly off, for instance her introduction to the chessboard felt a bit too instantaneous, just another couple montage moments of her looking at the board over time would have seemed more natural. Also her physical reaction time to medications were a bit compressed.

She is certainly a wounded and broken protagonist who also makes very good choices, that then turn out to have consequences that are problematic and increasingly difficult. It's set in the sixties, they smoke, a lot. The drug use is integral to the story and handled very mater of fact-ly, as a plot point without any editorializing.

Almost turned it off a bit after midway as it seemed it could turn to a very tragic ending, glad I continued, will be curious about others thoughts about the ending. The russians were the big bad, intense and scary, the penultimate bout was really the most satisfying. The NYC scenes were just perfect. Even better was the one phone call where this very comfortably isolated utterly competent women discovers she is integral to a community and friends.

Pawn to king four, a simple move, simultaneously filled with terror and joy.
posted by sammyo at 7:38 AM on October 26, 2020 [6 favorites]


The russians were the big bad, intense and scary, the penultimate bout was really the most satisfying.

If you're enough of a chess nerd that you found the editing of the final game irritating/hard to follow, agadmator breaks down the final game move by move, even reconstructing a part of it that isn't shown on screen at all.
posted by axiom at 12:31 PM on October 26, 2020 [3 favorites]


If you're interested in the costume design which featured a lot of subtle chess/checkerboard motifs, Tom and Lorenzo have the details.
posted by TWinbrook8 at 12:43 PM on October 26, 2020 [3 favorites]


I liked this enough to read the book the next day. I generally dislike watching a movie + reading but it worked here.

I was a bit confused by the very end in the park, which seemed to suggest an unlikely major life change. In the book, that scene in the park is slightly earlier and can't be misread the way I misread it.

The really problimatic scene was not included, and that, and a clever thing they did instead, was the only other notable divergence.

As a chess novice, I did find the descriptions of the games in the book a lot easier to follow.
posted by joeyh at 12:48 PM on October 26, 2020 [1 favorite]


I watched the first three episodes last night, and was enthralled; I'll be finishing it within the next few days, I'm sure. The on-the-board chess is spot-on, at least as well as this club-level player can tell. The etiquette is a bit off (you wouldn't be commenting on the game you're playing at all during a tournament game, and offering a draw when you know you have a lost position is kind of a cheap move) but I'm willing to let some of that slide as a way to make the games more accessible to non-players. Looking forward to the rest of it.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 1:53 PM on October 26, 2020 [2 favorites]


Whatever the problematic scene is, would someone memail me details if it would not be appropriate to post book spoilers here in the thread? Thank you!
posted by Fukiyama at 3:09 PM on October 26, 2020


The wallpaper in the adoptive house is amazing and eventually gets replaced with new amazing wallpaper (but I cried a little because the first wallpaper was better). All the clothes make you collapse with admiration. The villains are terrible, the good guys saintly, the setbacks heartbreaking, the triumphs satisfying. The pharmacology makes zero sense and all the characters but the protagonist and the adoptive mother are barely roughed in, but who cares because looking at the clothes and the furniture is the visual equivalent of eating a box of high-end chocolates with none of the Tang-flavored orange cream ones. Basically it's the perfect thing to watch now.
posted by Don Pepino at 9:11 AM on October 27, 2020 [22 favorites]


kyrademon, this was one of my favorite books when I was a kid as well. I saw Tom & Lorenzo's review and post about the clothes and I'm looking forward to watching this.
posted by mogget at 2:49 PM on October 27, 2020


Wow, they did a really great job! This particular book could have been really easy to f-ck up.

This is one of the truly greatest Netflix Original projects so far. (The other is the genius Baz disco/rap epic 'The Get Down'.)

I dig the sweet visual design and those zingy colour palettes!

The chess-nerd attention to detail was good if not perfect, and much better than some other silly chess-movies.

The story leans into a complex and odd attitude about substance abuse, like in many of Tevis' books. It makes tranquilizers seem like candy at times.

(my cat says:)
'[;
posted by ovvl at 4:42 PM on October 27, 2020 [4 favorites]


The one thing about the period details that struck me as off was the phone call at the end. Would the KGB really leave Beth's phone untapped?
posted by Fukiyama at 7:49 AM on October 28, 2020


Would the KGB really leave Beth's phone untapped?

Borgov ended up playing none of the lines her friends suggested. Townes said as much.

offering a draw when you know you have a lost position is kind of a cheap move

Speaking as someone who knows little about Chess, my read on those scenes are that the folks who did offer draws (except for Borgov, at the end) were in fact meant to be scummy and/or condescending to Beth because she was a woman.
posted by explosion at 11:50 AM on October 28, 2020 [6 favorites]


I misphrased that. Why would they all assume Beth's phone was untapped?
posted by Fukiyama at 12:16 PM on October 28, 2020


Even if they had assumed that, what were they going to do about it? They can hardly invent a secret code on the spot. Also it's a movie, sometimes less-than-realistic things happen to make a better piece of art. I guess an alternate version of the film where she just wakes up and goes and beats Borgov all by her lonesome might've been fine too, but I think I like the loose-ends-tying that the phone scenes provide.
posted by axiom at 4:53 PM on October 28, 2020


Have watched only the first episode and I find it intriguing, so I will keep watching, but one thing that really struck me is -- no one in that first ep sounds like they live in Kentucky. They don't even sound like they've ever visited Kentucky. It's a minor, picky point, but it really stood out to me.
posted by pjsky at 12:40 PM on October 29, 2020 [14 favorites]


The absence of anything like a southern accent baffled me too. But it also felt (to me, a Mid-Atlantic kid not familiar with that part of the US) like Kentucky was just the place name they picked and that I heard mentioned very occasionally, and that otherwise it could have been in another part of the US.
posted by needs more cowbell at 2:28 PM on October 30, 2020 [2 favorites]


I'm only through the first episode, but the breaking into the pharmacy paired with the soundtrack and dialogue to The Robe was fantastic.
posted by fifteen schnitzengruben is my limit at 1:08 AM on November 1, 2020


finished this last night. really enjoyed it a lot, on many levels.

now I too, want to know about 'that scene'.
posted by supermedusa at 2:02 PM on November 3, 2020 [1 favorite]


Loved it. A fine piece of TV. Nice to see them eschew any completely over-the-top drama that lesser shows might have indulged in. Loved her team of allies coming together at the end.

My alternate title: The Last Chessfighter.
posted by adrianhon at 3:18 PM on November 3, 2020


I just watched them all in a row over the last couple of days. I'd never heard of it before, so I went in with no expectations and it was a delight. I wish I had known that it was adapted from a YA book because I would have enjoyed it more - it kept feeling like they were setting her up to be assaulted by someone so I watched a lot of it on edge, afraid a bad shoe was going to drop.

The tournament in the middle of the "Fork" episode was incredibly good - I loved all the editing work that went into it and I know I'll be replaying it a lot.

I loved all the performances, I love the clothes, and the only thing I really disliked was how fake her hair color looked. It was beautiful, but it didn't match the era (and there was no way to read it as a natural redhead) But that's a tiny quibble.
posted by Mchelly at 3:47 PM on November 5, 2020


Speaking as someone who knows little about Chess, my read on those scenes are that the folks who did offer draws (except for Borgov, at the end) were in fact meant to be scummy and/or condescending to Beth because she was a woman.

The first time we see someone try it, it's the match at the top table she watches, isn't it? It's rejected with a "Hell, no!", which is how I thought she'd respond.

Only seen two episodes so far, but it's as good as people say.
posted by Grangousier at 2:06 PM on November 7, 2020


Watching the third episode, I see they were also setting up the match against Benny, where she offers a draw and he takes it, which shows he's above needing to win.

Oh, and most of the entire main cast is British, mainly English. That's quite something.
posted by Grangousier at 2:54 PM on November 7, 2020


I'm really enjoying this, but I have a real problem seeing the kid who plays Benny as anyone other than Liam Neeson's son in Love Actually and I can't tell if he's supposed to be cool in the show.
posted by ChuraChura at 8:08 PM on November 8, 2020 [3 favorites]


It was harder for me to unsee Benny as Jojen from GOT. But nothing was harder than unseeing Beltik as HP's Dudley Dursley.
posted by gatorae at 8:49 PM on November 8, 2020 [7 favorites]


This was a delight. Everything element (the script, the pace, the performances, the sets etc etc) were just brilliant, but aside from that, I think a large part of its appeal is its lack of cynicism. We live in a cynical polarised world, where opponents are considered enemies. In this show, there are plenty of flawed individuals, plenty of disappointing individuals, there are plenty of opponents, but no enemies. A woman who has experienced trauma, but it's not portrayed pornographically. We're shown a world where talent and hard work is universally admired and rewarded, a story where a woman is allowed to nurture her passion and talent with support from the men around her, rather than their fragility compromising her.
posted by chill at 5:31 AM on November 13, 2020 [20 favorites]


It was harder for me to unsee Benny as Jojen from GOT. But nothing was harder than unseeing Beltik as HP's Dudley Dursley.

The first time in my life being wholly ignorant of those touchstones of 21st culture has come in useful.
posted by Grangousier at 5:58 AM on November 13, 2020 [4 favorites]


I have a real problem seeing the kid who plays Benny as anyone other than Liam Neeson's son in Love Actually and I can't tell if he's supposed to be cool in the show.

See, I loved this, since Benny was a chess prodigy when he was young, and now he's grown up but people in the chess world might still see him as the little boy he once was? Just as the audience is seeing the actor!
posted by Glier's Goetta at 1:48 PM on November 14, 2020 [2 favorites]


the only thing I really disliked was how fake her hair color looked. It was beautiful, but it didn't match the era (and there was no way to read it as a natural redhead) But that's a tiny quibble.

It's unusual, but I actually know two people with that exact hair color and complexion (both of primarily German ancestry.) Well, to be precise, they had that hair color at that age.
posted by desuetude at 12:00 AM on November 15, 2020 [3 favorites]


I did think it odd that no-one in Kentucky sounds like they're from Kentucky. I don't want to hear awful attempts at Kentucky accents either, though.
posted by desuetude at 12:06 AM on November 15, 2020 [4 favorites]


Just finished tonight and loved almost everything about it: the acting, the production design, the cars, the score. Sometimes you could see the gears in the writing move a little too transparently and it really is just a variation on the Rocky/Karate Kid template but there was so much craft and intelligence in it that I can't complain too much. The cast is uniformly great but this really is a big breakout star turn for Tayor-Joy, she and her gigantic eyes just steal every scene although the director Marielle Heller is almost as great as her adoptive mother.
posted by octothorpe at 6:35 PM on November 15, 2020 [2 favorites]


Also, how on earth did I miss this novel as a kid?! This would have been totally up my alley at the exact time that I was devouring YA novels!
posted by desuetude at 9:28 PM on November 15, 2020 [3 favorites]


Would someone please memail me the problematic part of the book? I'd like to read it but I also kind of want to know what I'm in for if I do.
posted by cooker girl at 6:50 AM on November 17, 2020


So my wife suggested that the french model that gets her drunk before the tournament was an agent for the russians and that makes sense but there was no follow up or reveal to that in the show. Did anyone else think that?
posted by octothorpe at 9:26 AM on November 17, 2020 [8 favorites]


Well, she's also there (in the background) at the long distance confab during the final match, so she's probably just a freelance troublemaker.
posted by Grangousier at 10:17 AM on November 17, 2020


> So my wife suggested that the french model that gets her drunk before the tournament was an agent for the russians and that makes sense but there was no follow up or reveal to that in the show. Did anyone else think that?

The thought briefly occurred to me to my horror, and I was relieved that it was not the case, as such a soapy conspiracy would be really out of tune with the storytelling.
posted by desuetude at 10:56 AM on November 17, 2020


I had considered the possibility, but discounted it because her introduction during Beth's stay in New York would have been really difficult to organise?

What I did worry about was whether the Russians talking in the lift in Mexico about needing to destroy her, followed shortly by the coroner pronouncing her mother's death by hepatitis, was a coincidence. That would seem a lot easier for them to organise. But like with the French model, no-one in a cast full of chessmasters even mentioned the possibility.
posted by polytope subirb enby-of-piano-dice at 11:43 AM on November 17, 2020


I figured that the implication was that her mom's liver was already damaged by her drinking and that the hepatitis was just the last straw.
posted by octothorpe at 12:27 PM on November 17, 2020 [6 favorites]


It doesn't make sense to me that the Russians are idly sharing gossip they've learned about Beth and speculating on how much of a threat she will be to Borgov if they've already planned to murder Alma shortly thereafter? Anyway, I don't think they're going to seriously consider a girl and a relative newcomer to chess tournaments to be such a contender against their seasoned world champion that they would preemptively execute a complicated hit on her mother while in a foreign country (i.e. where they do not have any authorities under their control.) Besides, I expect the KGB are with Borgov in Mexico City to ensure that he doesn't consider defecting as much they're there to collect intelligence on his chess rivals.

This Slate interview with Garry Kasparov is great. He notes that the KGB weren't in the original book, an error that he corrected when he consulted for the series. In fact, he also suggests that while Beth's phone in Russia would been tapped, there wouldn't have been time for Borgov to actually get any of the information on her intended plays.
posted by desuetude at 2:23 PM on November 18, 2020 [4 favorites]


I thought it was made totally clear in the series that the Russian grandmasters were completely fine, decent and gracious people, and that any conflicts were limited to the chessboard.
posted by daveje at 3:30 AM on November 19, 2020 [11 favorites]


Something I actually found quite ... somewhere between charming and moving ... is the fact that any player of any consequence loves the game enough that however much they want to win they genuinely admire anyone who beats them. Of course you have to win more often than not in order to be that chilled about it. Actually, come to think of it, there are very few sore losers.
posted by Grangousier at 3:49 PM on November 19, 2020 [4 favorites]


Saw it at last! Thought it was great. Yay, they didn't wreck my childhood memories!

(If anyone is still wondering what the "problematic scene" in the book was, feel free to memail me.)
posted by kyrademon at 5:36 AM on November 22, 2020 [1 favorite]


We wrapped-up watching last night and really loved it. Taylor-Joy fully owned the character and really drove the show completely and wonderfully. The supporting cast were equally as strong. Netflix did a great job with this one, and hope this is a harbinger for things to come.

I had the usual nitpicks I almost always have with any period piece. All the home interiors are period-perfect showrooms instead of lived-in homes. Yes, there will be some furniture and decor of the period current with the time setting, but there will always be older pieces in the mix, too.

Similarly, all the cars are shiny and flawless, like they just drove out of a museum (which, I'm sure, many of the were for the production) Benny's VW was especially too damned perfect for a car living in NYC. At least Jolene's Corvair had some mis-aligned body panels LOL.

And, a tiny convenience store in late-50s/early 60s Kentucky stocking Cafe Bustello? And a chess magazine? ummm...

But, none of those took away from the show being delightfully captivating from beginning to end.
posted by Thorzdad at 7:10 AM on November 23, 2020 [1 favorite]


The tiny convenience store stocking a chess magazine cracked me up.
posted by desuetude at 7:58 AM on November 23, 2020 [7 favorites]


The plot wouldn't move forward without that magazine there for her to find.
posted by octothorpe at 9:31 AM on November 23, 2020


> The plot wouldn't move forward without that magazine there for her to find

Wouldn't a library have been a more realistic place for her to stumble on it? I've never been to Kentucky at all, let alone in the 1960s, so I have no idea what was sold in the drug stores she would've gone to.
posted by The corpse in the library at 3:55 PM on November 24, 2020


I thought it was weird that it was the female characters who gave her drugs. Jolene got her started on taking the tranquilizers other than as prescribed; her mom gave her booze; Cleo gets her to drink at a really bad time. Men just want her to really dedicate herself to chess. It wasn't strictly binary (her mom wants her to play chess, albeit just for financial reasons) but it would've been nice if there'd been more female chess players for her to talk to.
posted by The corpse in the library at 4:01 PM on November 24, 2020


I'm curious what the problematic scene was that got cut. I thought discussing the material was OK on FanFare? If someone doesn't want spoilers, this isn't the place to be.
posted by The corpse in the library at 4:02 PM on November 24, 2020 [1 favorite]


The corpse is in the library, this thread is for the series. People don't want the book spoiled.
posted by Fukiyama at 4:16 PM on November 24, 2020 [1 favorite]


Ah, you're right, I missed that.
posted by The corpse in the library at 4:23 PM on November 24, 2020


If anyone wants to know what the really problematic scene in the novel is, this Goodreads review mentions it.
posted by oulipian at 7:20 PM on November 26, 2020 [4 favorites]


https://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/style/queens-gambit-sexism/2020/11/24/d5c0c0f2-2daa-11eb-bae0-50bb17126614_story.html

Mild spoilers for the series if you haven't watched the whole thing yet.

I liked this take and agree with it as a reason that I found this series so wonderful right now. I kind of expected it to be snark from the title, and was pleasantly surprised that it was instead affectionate.
posted by desuetude at 10:18 PM on November 28, 2020 [3 favorites]


Having now read the novel, I am pleased by some of the changes (Townes! And obviously the removal of THAT scene.) I look askance at a few other changes (the details of the way Jolene "saves" her.)
posted by desuetude at 10:26 PM on November 28, 2020 [1 favorite]


(If there is anyone who still wants for a brief description of the problematic scene, feel free to shoot me a MeMail.)
posted by desuetude at 11:14 PM on November 28, 2020


I didn’t race to see this despite the glowing reviews because um, chess? and I was put off by the Emma previews with Anya Taylor-Joy; I didn’t think we needed another romcom version of Jane Austen so I was debating whether to watch her in this and whoooo, I am so glad I gave in because this was incredible. The production was so well done, I was completely immersed in watching, so much so that I kept thinking it was a movie and was surprised when each episode ended. I think it was the pacing, long scenes, quiet scenes, yet it never lagged. ATJ was a revelation (yes, I’m queuing up Emma next). Every chess game, without any dialog, she completely dominated the scene.

Towards the end, there were a few uneven bits like I thought there would be more explanation about the adoptive father being a dick, the orphanage friend who hasn’t been seen or thought of since the beginning has enough money to lend her the fare for the Russian trip and Townes also showing up at the last minute (although I loved that scene). The other off note was the production design stayed too firmly in the early-mid 60s as seen in her 1968-ish redecoration of the house with googie wallpaper which was already passing out of style then.

But overall, just a really reallly impressive series.
posted by TWinbrook8 at 6:10 PM on December 17, 2020 [1 favorite]


I adored it all until the last ten minutes, at which it veered sharply into an even more twee version of That Girl or The Mary Tyler Moore Show. I expected her to throw her hat high up into the air and twirl around right before she sat down to play chess with the old man in the park. The cute meet with Townes, all of the guys whose hearts she's broken standing around a phone screaming and clapping each other on the back...yuk. I mean I guess those things could have happened but I was still cringing. I would still highly recommend it though, it was probably the best first episode of a series I have ever seen.
posted by the webmistress at 6:49 PM on December 17, 2020 [2 favorites]


We watched it. Hubs enjoyed it, but I didn't. The only parts I enjoyed were the fashions and the sets. God bless that blue wallpaper in Alma's home :D. I didn't like the way the camera consistently gazed at Beth. Except for very few scenes, she's always Barbie doll perfect, even when sitting on the couch. If Beth wasn't pretty or if she was overweight... would anyone care as much?
posted by Calzephyr at 7:10 AM on December 21, 2020 [4 favorites]


I guess it's been a couple of weeks since I watched TQG.
1) I was more interested in the early scenes with young Beth than I was with rest of the show after it got going with older Beth.
2) I hadn't really read about the show too deeply before I watched it. But what I did see seemed to indicate that Beth took drugs to help her chess. Going into the show with that in mind, it was kind of let down that the drugs disappeared after awhile. Wouldn't it have been more impactful to show Beth didn't need that crutch later in the show at a climactic moment?
3) Sort of connected to that, it really was devastating to see Beth start drinking as a learned behavior rather than because she needed that crutch. Same thing with the sex; Beth has sex because she saw a boy feeling up a girl. Gosh!
4) I would love a prequel about Beth's PhD mother. How did she go from writing math textbooks to being a single mom in Kentucky? Double-gosh!
posted by Stuka at 6:10 PM on December 26, 2020


I did like the series alot, but with the way it wrapped up, it did end up making it feel like a classic sports movie: outsider trying to beat the big guys, support of all their friends, finding a way to win, etc.

Not that this is a criticism, just an observation.
posted by LizBoBiz at 12:19 AM on December 28, 2020


I'm six episodes in and enjoying this very much. I know nothing about chess, but that doesn't matter at all to my enjoyment of the story.

But, man, I am so over the teal/green/orange/copper movie colour scheme trope. It's not quite at AP Bio level here but, particularly in the earlier episodes, it is so overdone.
posted by essexjan at 7:42 AM on December 29, 2020


Kentucky was just the place name they picked and that I heard mentioned very occasionally, and that otherwise it could have been in another part of the US.

Walter Tevis (the author of the book) spent the later part of his childhood in Kentucky and mostly lived there and in southern Ohio for many years. So the setting is likely somewhat personal/drawing on his experiences.
posted by damayanti at 11:57 AM on December 31, 2020 [1 favorite]


Came into this pretty much cold after my stylist recommended it to me this evening, and being currently unemployed, just binged the first three.

Gorgeous sets and costumes, if a little sterile. The colour gamut is evocative, having gone to grade school in buildings in Canada that probably were last renovated in the 60s and inertia prevented changing the colour scheme. It specifically reminded me of canned mushy green peas and bakelite orange-brown. Really appreciated the detail where the poodle-skirt/ 'Grease' two-toned girls' shoe was a class/ popularity signifier and Beth didn't succumb down that path and just transcended it.

As an Asian Canadian, indoor shoes still baffles me, but feels so Americana. Outdoor shoes in the home in particular, but I can't judge anyone for wearing heels at home. Beth's adopted mother did do chores (vacuuming) shoeless, though, but then runs off to put on heels when the adopted father returns unexpectedly.

Interesting (but still kid gloved, again a bit sterile) treatment of sexism and classism. Very surprised showing/ exploring the use, abuse, and dependency of psychiatric drugs (and alcohol), especially since this thread has informed me that the source material was YA.

In particular, I kind of loved how the tranqs set her mind "free," but that she started off playing imaginary sets on the orphanage ceiling in her mind and then rips the canopy of her adopted four poster bed so she can keep seeing games in her minds eye on her bedroom ceiling was scrumptious.

Taylor-Joy is striking, and a very capable actor given good direction. She seems entirely different in her interview as herself on 'The Late Show' (Colbert), but she's also young and inexperienced IRL. Amazing gamut of acting from very young through to her maturing a little bit (by e03).

The pacing is solid, and the setup is intriguing; definitely looking forward to the back half of this mini tomorrow.

It's not the show, it's me - but the dollar values thrown around just doesn't feel correct (but are almost certainly accurate). $500 in 1960 is less than $5000 in 2020 using inflation calculators - the buying power of 1 dollar vs 100 is completely and totally out of whack, 60 years later. $11 for a Greyhound ticket ~ $110 and $22/ night for a double hotel/ motel rental ~ $220 now feels reasonable - I guess it's real estate and durable goods and services (cell phones, data, cable, childcare, in-home caretakers, etc.). A $22/ night room back then was probably a lot nicer than a $220/ night room now, though.
posted by porpoise at 11:53 PM on January 14


Netflix has a 'making of" documentary out. I just discovered it. It's only fourteen minutes long and doesn't cover any new ground if you've read the articles about the series from last year, but it's interesting to visualize the stuff the makers all talked about.
posted by Fukiyama at 6:37 PM on January 22 [1 favorite]


I didn’t race to see this despite the glowing reviews because um, chess? and I was put off by the Emma previews with Anya Taylor-Joy; I didn’t think we needed another romcom version of Jane Austen so I was debating whether to watch her in this and whoooo, I am so glad I gave in because this was incredible.

My introduction to A T-J was through The Miniaturist which critics are mixed about but which is (see the linked review) a lot of fun. Nella is different from Beth in many ways but she is similarly underground resourceful and she does come to a kind of mastery in a way I really enjoyed.
posted by BibiRose at 11:55 AM on January 26


Thank you chill for articulating so well what I loved about this show. You nailed it.
posted by roolya_boolya at 2:30 PM on January 30


In fact, he also suggests that while Beth's phone in Russia would been tapped, there wouldn't have been time for Borgov to actually get any of the information on her intended plays.

The show made clear that Borgov made a move that TeamBeth hadn't anticipated. Therefore implying perhaps that he did get that intelligence. And she still won.
posted by roolya_boolya at 2:40 PM on January 30 [1 favorite]


I thought it was weird that it was the female characters who gave her drugs.

I thought this was very much in line with the subtle but telling ways the show demonstrated how a woman in that world would want / need to be drugged to get through it. I loved how it played off with the male supportiveness, which, sure, was unrealistic fantasy fulfilment if you thought about it for five minutes. But it was just so satisfying to watch something that acknowledged how hard it was to be a woman in those times and simultaneously role modeled male allyship like it was the most natural thing in the world. More like this please.
posted by roolya_boolya at 2:45 PM on January 30 [2 favorites]


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