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Anya Taylor-Joy stars in “The Queen’s Gambit,” a miniseries on Netflix about chess.




TV series are extremely important to the streaming ecosystem.

It was a year that included “Little Fires Everywhere” on Hulu, “The Boys” on Amazon, “The Morning Show” on Apple (which actually premiered a year ago November) — each tackling hot button issues in the glossy packaging of high-end TV.

But the inundation of content has become so intense that it can be hard to remember which streaming shows really broke through this year. Quick, name a new series on Peacock. Or CBS All Access. It’s not like the titles come immediately to mind. Not the way “The Queen’s Gambit” on Netflix might, and that’s because Netflix still has so many more subscribers than anyone else.

Originally a DVD-by-mail service, Netflix was the first to really grasp and harness the potential that streaming had to offer, and the company’s trajectory has shaped everything that’s come since. Here’s longtime entertainment journalist Richard Rushfield with some context:

“Thanks to Netflix’s success — it was the stock of the decade — Wall Street made the decision that streaming is how you make money: You start a subscription streaming service and ultimately it takes over the world. The fact that Netflix isn’t a profitable company hasn’t saved anybody else from that mindset.”

Consider the enormous success Disney had over the last 10 years with blockbuster movies in theaters. “That had no impact on Wall Street,” Rushfield said. “The stock didn’t budge, it even went slightly downward. And then the day they announced Disney+, the stock shot up.” Which explains the recently announced deluge of upcoming Marvel and “Star Wars” TV spinoffs specifically intended for the streaming service.