What to watch after “The Queen’s Gambit”

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Graphic courtesy of Nichola Monroe ('22).

Here are some high-quality shows to put on your watch list this winter break.

The Netflix limited series, The Queen’s Gambit, reached the most-watched limited series ever on the platform within a month of its release. With intriguing characters, extremely well-written scenes and dialogues, amazing costumes, incredible sets, a talented cast, and is beautifully produced, what is not to love?  

My favorite part about the show was the characters’ development,” Taya Sibichenkova (‘24) said. Each of the main characters went through a lot of significant changes, [and] they all had their flaws.” 

Netflix’s strategy seems to be to produce more content without investing too much and seeing what resonates well. It makes sense, since in order to keep up with the ‘binge-watching’ market they need to create a lot of content. If a show gets good reviews, Netflix announces new seasons to come and invests more into the show’s production.  

“I don’t see too many Netflix originals in general since the majority are not very interesting,” Conrad Poon (‘23) said. 

This is contrary to other TV networks like HBO and BBC that aim to produce good TV from the beginning by investing more money and time. However, the strategy for producing Queen’s Gambit looks to be more in line with HBO; the highly developed character arcs and story lines definitely contributed to its success. 

“I loved so many things about [The Queen’s Gambit], but, most of all, the relationships were all so complex, and I found that engaging and enveloping,” said Melanie Bauman, director of counseling and health education. Plus, the folded hands, steely eyed stare and calm I’ve done it style of play was brilliantly acted. Oh, also the costumes and set design were fabulous. 

Sadly, there are only eight episodes in The Queen’s Gambit. So, if you are looking for another high-quality show to watch, here are a couple options.  

BBC’s Sherlock Holmes (Netflix): There are four seasons, each with three one-and-a-half-hour-long episodes. This modern rendition of the Sherlock Holmes mystery novels stars Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman and Sherlock and Watson.  

“My favorite part would be the way that the show takes classic Sherlock Holmes stories from the original book and modernizes them in a way that is still engaging,” Gaby Trauttmansdorff (‘22) said. 

Not only is the story well written, but the character arcs are too.  

The relationship between the two main characters is also developed really well,” Gaby said. “Each episode is really well done in terms of costumes, sets, and plot.” 

If you are interested in Harry Potteresque adventure, HBO’s rendition of Phillip’s Pullman’s series “His Dark Materials” is another great option.  

Protagonist Lyra Belaqua lives in a world where the human soul takes form of an animal companion for each person. When her best friend is kidnapped, she vows to rescue him. But there is much more at play in her world.  

Combining fantasy, adventure, religion, politics, and travelling between worlds, with complex characters, incredible sets, and an engaging story line, His Dark Materials is a must-see.  

Other well-produced shows to look out for include “Call the Midwife (historical, Netflix), “Doctor Who” (Sci-Fi, HBO Max), “Hustle” (Long-cons, Amazon Prime), and “The Crown” (historical, Netflix).   

If you cannot decide what to watch this Winter Break, these shows are a great place to start.