Have you ever seen a television show that you just want to immerse yourself into? One that makes you forget the mundaneness of everyday life and transports you to a realm where everything is perfect? Netflix’s latest Christmas release Bridgerton is just that.
Created by Shondaland, the production house behind Grey’s Anatomy, Scandal and How to Get Away with Murder, Bridgerton is based on Julia Quinn’s bestselling series of romance novels of the same name.
Set in 1813 London, the series opens with Daphne Bridgerton (Phoebe Dynover)of the illustrious Bridgerton family making her society debut. She is to find a husband during the upcoming social season and settle down by the time it wraps up. Though she was declared “flawless” by Queen Charlotte (Golda Rosheuvel), her brother Anthony Bridgerton’s (Jonathan Bailey) constant meddling and critique of potential suitors dampen her prospects which are further thwarted by Lady Whistledown, who writes that her “value” is falling. Lady Whistledown (voiced by Julie Andrews) is the city’s resident Gossip Girl, who reports on the happenings of the city and whose words are big deal.
In comes the Duke of Hastings Simon Basset (Regé-Jean Page), the town’s most eligible bachelor, who has sworn not to get married. Daphe and Simon, who with a stroke of fate end up crossing paths and hatch a plan to fool society and Lady Whistledown by pretending to be together in a bid to make Daphne more desirable in society and him less pestered by eager mothers looking to set up their daughters. Will they be successful in fooling Lady Whistledown who knows everything and anything or will they be exposed? And even more, will Daphne find her perfect match?
Whether Daphne finds her match or not you’ll find out in the show, but Bridgerton has given us some major arranged marriage goals. Imagine landing yourself a rich and handsome Duke with the sexiest smoulder, one who has no immediate family (which mean no in-laws) and is smitten by you? One who is kind, caring and sensitive too. The stuff of dreams, right? Besides, Page plays the Duke to perfection owning every scene he is in and I won’t be lying if I say that we have a new hero to swoon over.
One the other hand, Daphne is also the season’s “diamond” – young, fair, pretty and innocent to the point that she had no idea how babies are made. The two are the perfect match, even if it is just a ruse and their chemistry is crackling – you can almost feel it through the screen.
Though Daphne and Simon are the main attractions, other characters on the show are also a delight to watch. My favourites have to be Queen Charlotte, Lady Danbury and Eloise Bridgerton, Daphne’s younger sister. Eloise, who is not interested in getting married or following her sister’s footsteps adds the perfect comic relief, while Queen Charlotte and Lady Danbury – both women of colour – add a different flavour to the show with their cool demeanour and wise words. Daphne’s mother is also a voice of reason and is shown as someone progressive and one who encourages her daughter to marry for love and not money and teaches her how the first step to a successful marriage is always friendship. Desi moms can definitely learn a thing or two from Mama Bridgerton.
Bridgerton, in a nutshell, is a dreamy and escapist – a delightful mix of drama, romance, fantasy, gorgeous costumes and opulent sets. The series is indulgent and will have you hooked throughout and by the end of it, even eight episodes will appear too less.
The show’s creator Chris Van Dusen, in a recent interview, said that series is a period drama which marries history and fantasy and is for a modern audience.
“The show is for a modern audience, and everything on this show is filtered through a modern lens. People talk quickly, the story moves fast, it’s funny, and it’s really sexy, which you don’t always get with a typical period piece,” said Dusen. “We’re re-imagining this world; it’s not a history lesson and it’s not a documentary. There weren’t actual Bridgertons in 1813, so we took some creative liberties there. The first thing you see is the cast, this amazing diverse cast, everyone from Phoebe Dynevor to Regé-Jean Page to Julie Andrews.”
“We knew we wanted the show to reflect the world we live in today, and even though it’s set in the 19th century, we still wanted modern audiences to relate to it and to see themselves on screen. I feel we did it in a way that makes sense,” he adds.
Dusen’s vision and take on the show is perhaps the reason why the show resonated so well with audiences. Modern romcoms are fun to watch but there is something magical about period shows and Bridgerton is one done just right. The show is the perfect escape in such dreary times and as I told my friends, it is like a mug of hot chocolate on a freezing winter night.
While Netflix has not yet revealed whether the show will be coming back for a second season, given the show’s popularity, it is only a matter of time till they make an official announcement.