Bridgerton: A period piece like no other


Photo courtesy of Netflix

Bridgerton show poster

A hit Netflix original TV series, Bridgerton, was released on Christmas Day. The show is an adaptation of American romance author Julia Quinn’s The Duke and I. Bridgerton is eight episodes of drama, love, gossip and family scandals. How could you hate it? 

It takes place during the Regency era in England and tells the story of the Bridgerton siblings and the Featherington family and their attempts at finding everlasting love. This season focuses mainly on Daphne Bridgerton and her on-off relationship with Simon Basset, the Duke of Hastings. Back in the 1800s young men and women were not swiping left and right on Tinder to find a significant other. Instead, these families attended elite parties in hopes of finding a suitable spouse for their eldest daughter.

 In addition to the family drama is the mystery of Lady Whistledown, a writer who publishes secrets and gossip in the town’s newsletter. Lady Whistledown is also the narrator of the story and is voiced by Julie Andrews.

The show’s executive producer Chris Van Dusen used a unique casting process for this series. While showcasing newer faces, the producer also used what he called “a color-conscious approach.” In period pieces like Bridgerton, people of color are often erased from the storyline or fill the roles of lower-class citizens. However, since the books did not address race, black characters play powerful members of society in this show, which sparked some controversy. Critics question how the theme of race was handled and argue that eliminating the issue of racism creates a fantasy that sabotages the show and any attempts at seriousness, according to Vox

However, the show’s growing popularity and the 63 million households watching the show might beg to differ. In addition, Van Dusen told Tribune News Service, “I think ‘colour-blind’ implies that colour and race aren’t considered, and I don’t think that’s true for Bridgerton…Colour and race are a part of the show and as much of a part of the conversation as things like class and gender and sexuality are.”

The show also does a great job at instilling modern feminist views in its characters during a time where this was not common. Eloise Bridgerton is the best example; she has a very different view of the way society works. She wants to go to university and has no interest in being a debutante or finding a husband as society expects her to do.

Similarly, Eloise’s older sister, Daphne, is strong and independent. Daphne knows that as a woman she lacks many options as to what to do with her life, but this does not stop her from taking charge. While she does follow the tradition of finding a husband, she also takes advantage of having control over her choices. While many women on Bridgerton are just looking for a man with money, good looks and a relationship that lacks any love, Daphne wants someone who can be her friend and whom she loves. With her over-protective brother trying to find her a husband, she becomes angry that he thinks he has any power over her decision.

In regard to the music, Bridgerton utilizes a new, but fascinating style. The show’s characters dance to a fairly modern soundtrack. In episode one, Daphne is dancing to string quartets playing, “Thank you, Next” by Ariana Grande. Other modern hits by Billie Eilish, Maroon 5, and Shawn Mendes are also featured in the show. The way each song is blended into each scene is done so well, that at first, it is almost unrecognizable. With unique musical choices, Bridgerton positively sets itself apart from any other period piece.

Throughout the series, viewers are left waiting for the reveal of Lady Whisteldown. Eloise makes it her mission to find out who she is, looking from servants to the town’s most elite members. Many hints are dropped along the way, but the audience does not find out until the final minutes of the show. None of the characters are introduced to her, but the viewers are able to see who has been spreading the town gossip. The reveal, in my opinion, was anticlimactic. The anonymous Whistledown simply lifts her hood and the mystery is solved. I guess I just expected a more dramatic reveal for a secret that had carried on the entire show.

As of Jan. 13, Bridgerton is ranked #1 on Netflix. It was also announced on Jan. 7 that the producers are expecting to produce eight seasons focusing on the other Bridgerton siblings. 

So, if you find yourself with nothing to do and nowhere to go, I strongly recommend giving Bridgerton a chance. Trust me, once you hit play, you won’t be able to stop.