I don’t have distilled thoughts about the Netflix 1960s chess prodigy limited series, other than it is very enjoyable. There is a thing about it how it plays on viewers sense of risk based on circumstance and standard plot lines by having a very vulnerable character (in many ways) but where the dangers don’t play out.
It isn’t a subversion as such. Beth (the central character) ends up in an orphanage which has overtly abusive practices (drugging the kids to keep them passive) and is adopted by a couple who are in many ways unsuitable and ends up in a world full of exploitative misogyny (competitive chess in the 1960s). At no point are these things good or somehow not problems but events twist in ways that work out for Beth. Even the central theme of substance abuse works in unexpected ways.
Even the extent to which good luck work out for her aren’t used to downplay Beth’s own skill or personality but I don’t think the reverse happens either — the implication isn’t that luck plays no role.
Anyway, there are people who have written better reviews. I liked it. 🙂