Review: ‘Bridgerton’ produces nontraditional romance for the ages

By Brynn Sherbert, Feb. 9, 2021

Period dramas reimagine a time and place in history with sumptuous storylines, leaving viewers wanting more. This is what Netflix’s newest eight-part series, “Bridgerton,” accomplishes as it captures an intriguing story of the Bridgerton family attempting to find love in high society during the 19th century. Just with the first few episodes, the series guarantees scandalous romantic drama amongst the characters.

The series is set in London, as high-society families attend balls, dinners and grand parties brought together by eligible men and women seeking marriage in the sixth-month social season. Throughout the series, Daphne Bridgerton begins to fall in love with Simon Bassett, who carries the title Duke of Hastings.

It should be noted that the series is narrated by the scandal-sheet writer Lady Whistledown, whose identity is a mystery throughout the entire season. The series keeps the audience guessing which character in the show could be the one and only Lady Whistledown.

“Bridgerton” features incredible sets and outstanding performances but the glue that holds the show together is its soundtrack. The show plays modern tracks that do not fit the Regency era. Ariana Grande’s, “thank u, next” and Taylor Swift’s “Wildest dreams” adds an exceptional hook to the show to indicate that it is not a traditionalist series. The classical covers of today’s modern-day music display the show’s rebellion against expectations of the 19th century.

Another impressive quality of the series is the exquisite costumes characters wear. The vibrant colors, intricate embroideries and delicate fabrics expressed the fashion trends of the Regency era. The characters also don beautiful jewelry with their ball gowns to make the colors of their gowns more vivid.

The show’s leading role is played by Rege-Jean Page, a British Zimbabwean actor, who plays the role of the Duke of Hastings. The show also features people of color to fill diverse roles, including members of high-society families or palace servants, which was uncommon in the Regency era. It also highlights a matriarchal system with Queen Charlotte on the throne, while the king is senile. This brings up an interesting topic as the show depicts an alternate reality to the experience of racial minorities in the 19th century.

In episode four, Lady Danbury tells the Duke of Hastings, “We were two separate societies, divided by color, until a king fell in love with one of us. Love, your grace, conquers all.” While this quote speaks some truth on how love has brought people of all color and cultures together in this world, critics of the series feel as though the racial issues depicted in “Bridgerton” is a fantasy version of history.

“Bridgerton” is currently Netflix’s top 10 most watched series. Lady Whistledown will continue narrating the story as Netflix has agreed to a season two of “Bridgerton,” which will begin filming in the spring. Fans of the riveting drama series will have to hold their breath and wait to see which storylines evolve and which scandals unfold in the lives of the Bridgertons and London’s high society.

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