Bridgerton season 1 is the new talk of the to(w)n, with everyone from your mother to Kim K watching it! Netflix’s latest hit series that has been streamed over 82 million households in its first month, making it the largest Netflix Original series to launch so far.
It is no surprise the series is such a success with Shonda Rhimes (yes, the mastermind behind Grey’s Anatomy) at the steering wheel and Julie Andrews as the mischievous narrator. The series is based on Julia Quinn’s book series about the Bridgerton family and their romantic endeavours. Season one is based on the first book ‘The Duke and I’ which follows Daphne, the eldest Bridgerton daughter, as she attempts to find a husband.
This series is the perfect storm of brilliance, mixing a typical period drama with some modern aspects, altering history to create this more inclusive yet still reserved society and of course the numerous hot sex scenes!
Typically, in a period drama we tend to see a primarily white cast especially among those who are considered upper class. However, Bridgerton pushes the boundaries by casting Golda Rosheuvel, a woman of colour, as Queen Charlotte. This change has an impact on how the whole society is structured. It is only briefly mentioned in the series but people of colour gained power through the King marrying a black woman, altering society for the better. Due to the show’s clever alteration, we are gifted with a very diverse and talented cast, such as Regé-Jean Page and Adjoa Andoh, unlike any other we have seen in any other period drama.
The music in Bridgerton is another unusual element of a typical period drama. As to be expected, there are numerous balls, which require a string quartet or an opera singer to provide classical music for the guests to dance to. However, if you listen closely, you’ll notice that not all the melodies were composed from the old greats such as Mozart and Beethoven. The show incorporates some more modern musical geniuses such as Ariana Grande, Taylor Swift and Billie Eilish! The string quartet covers highlight again how this show takes a fresh approach on a period drama romance series.
Shonda Rhimes is known for making strong female characters, and even though Bridgerton is set in 1813 it is no different. The women really do run the show, albeit mostly in a quiet way that is not always seen in public. The women in this series showcase how they do not need men to save them, rather it is usually the other way around. It is just that in society at the time women were not accepted unless they had a man by their side.
However, there is one character in particular who seems to toss most of the rules out the window, that of course is Lady Whistledown. She is the narrator and the unknown writer of a gossip column who names and shames all those involved in local scandals. It gives the show a Gossip Girl twist, as she causes havoc with every issue. This character still has to hide her own identity to avoid utter ruin and scandal in her own life. She proves that a woman could still have a voice that was listened to in this society.
The first season has left us wanting more. Social media has blown up talking about this brand-new approach on a Pride & Prejudice style story. It is at the peak of pop culture at the moment with people all over the world posting about it, buying corsets and streaming the classical soundtrack on repeat. Season two has been confirmed with production to begin in the Spring 2021.
Sinead Ryan, Film Contributor