Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Chess, drugs, and madness collide in the trailer for Netflix's The Queen's Gambit

Anya Taylor-Joy in The Queen’s Gambit
Anya Taylor-Joy in The Queen’s Gambit
Screenshot: Netflix

Genius and madness are more or less interchangeable through the lens of pop culture; if you’re really good at something, we often posit, it comes at the price of your sanity and well-being. Such is the case in The Queen’s Gambit, a limited series from Netflix about a chess prodigy (Anya Taylor-Joy) who spirals into oblivion as her addiction to tranquilizers clashes with her rising star in the male-dominated world of competitive chess.

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Written and directed by Scott Frank, the Godless creator who also scored an Oscar nomination for his Logan script, the psychological drama is backed by an impressive supporting cast that includes Marielle Heller, Thomas Brodie-Sangster, Moses Ingram, Harry Melling, and Bill Camp.

Watch the trailer below.

Here’s a synopsis:

Based on the novel by Walter Tevis, the Netflix limited series drama The Queen’s Gambit is a coming-of-age story that explores the true cost of genius. Abandoned and entrusted to a Kentucky orphanage in the late 1950s, a young Beth Harmon (Anya 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.

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The Queen’s Gambit arrives on Netflix on October 23.

Randall Colburn is The A.V. Club's Internet Culture Editor. He lives in Chicago, occasionally writes plays, and was a talking head in Best Worst Movie, the documentary about Troll 2.

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