Like so many others, I binged The Queen’s Gambit in record time, which is notable: I almost didn’t watch it at all because I know nothing about chess and thought I’d find it boring. Turns out this show—about self-destructive, orphaned prodigy Beth Harmon—is deeply satisfying even if, like me, you are chess-illiterate. Anya Taylor-Joy is fantastic as Harmon: her face is one of the most expressive I’ve seen on an actress in a long time. And Marielle Heller is so good as Beth’s vulnerable but also opportunistic adoptive mother. If you haven’t watched it yet, I’m jealous.
Despite the fact that it has plot holes the size of Nebraska, and that Nicole Kidman’s fairy princess wig is deeply distracting, I am quite enjoying HBO’s The Undoing, which stars Kidman and Hugh Grant as an Upper East Side couple whose life is turned upside-down by a scandalous murder. If life was fair, HBO would make all of the episodes available to stream immediately, but alas, we are made to wait.
Flesh and Blood is a British import about a 70 year-old woman (the luminous Francesca Annis) with three highly flawed adult children who do not approve of her new beau, played by Stephen Rea (remember him from The Crying Game?) who they suspect is up to no good. It’s smart, well-written, and just suspenseful enough to keep me pretty engaged.