There are so many reasons to love this show. Shawn Doyle as Grandmaster Arkady Balagan is freaking brilliant. He manages to be captivating and clever and infuriating all at once. His body language and delivery really define the eccentricity and genius of the character. The supporting characters are great, and you can really see them start to come together to form a network as you go through the episodes. One favourite is Alcina, the Guatemalan housekeeper at the Huxley who is brilliant and kind and no-nonsense. Close second is Samuel Besht, a.k.a. the put-upon little graduate student/aspiring chess fanatic who Balagan picks on/reluctantly mentors depending on his mood and the amount of vodka he's had for the day. The show looks like it's expanding Danni the barkeep's role, which is something I've been anticipating for a while.
Sometimes the stories can be formulaic in the beginning, but the characters really drive the episodes forward. As we get further into the series the writing becomes bolder and more exploratory like Gorillas in Our Midst and I Killed Her, a move that I hope will continue in later episodes. This show is off to a great start and has the potential to be amazing.