Bridgerton’s brilliant revival of the period genre

TV Show Review on: Bridgerton

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Netflix’s newest release of Bridgerton peaks the interest of millions.

From showrunner of Grey’s Anatomy comes Shonda Rhimes’s latest work combining elements of Gossip Girl and Downton Abbey to reimagine 19th century England. Released December 25, 2020 on Netflix , Bridgerton modernizes the traditional historical drama to tell a compelling story of romance and scandal. Having secured an audience of over sixty-three million, the intriguing work continues to grip the masses as it peels back the layers of high society, all the while celebrating friends, family, and above else, love.

Composed of eight episodes, the binge-worthy installment is based on romance novels written by Julia Quinn, first published in 2000. Mirroring the literary series, Bridgerton focuses on two esteemed London families as they navigate “the season,” an annual time when societal elites introduce their children to the competitive marriage market. The show’s lead, and the Bridgerton family’s eldest daughter Daphne Bridgerton, portrayed by Phoebe Dynevor, makes her stunning debut into society, quickly becoming the crown jewel of the affair. As lavish parties and courtings take place, an anonymous gossip by the name of Lady Whistledown, voiced by none other than Julie Andrews, flies high above society, publishing newspapers revealing secret details regarding those of high society. Daphne begins to feel pressure as Whistledown takes an interest in her blooming relationship with Regé-Jean Page’s character the Duke of Hastings. Although it began as an innocent friendship, the chemistry between the two became undeniable. As they find themselves in over their heads due to societal expectations surrounding their future, Whistledown continues to rain down on the rest of those attempting to come out of “the season” unscathed. 

Throughout the show’s entirety, Rhimes and producer Chris Van Dusen keep the audience on their toes with endless plot twists and unforeseen controversies. Yet it is more than Bridgerton’s riveting plot that truly leaves audiences stunned. From wardrobe choices to the casting of characters, the show takes monumental strides in modernizing the period genre. Rather than abiding by the era’s muted palette, bright and flashy colors bombard the screen. Although staying true in some regard to traditional Regency attire, costume designer Ellen Mirojnick and her team felt compelled to draw influence from 2020 fashion design. “My favorite part of the show is all the costumes and props, specifically the victorian dresses. Bridgerton has only furthered my childhood dream of becoming a princess one day,” senior Sarah Nugent said in response to the show’s breathtaking ensemble. Bridgerton also works to include individuals of color in a number of its leading roles, adding to the show’s colorful approach that certainly comes as a refreshing take on a familiar story. Not to mention, infusing its soundtrack with classical renditions of today’s most well-known songs, including Ariana Grande’s “Thank U, Next” and “bad guy” by Billie Eilish, Bridgerton sacrifices the integrity of the period in order to breathe a new life into each of its scenes. 

Claiming its well-deserved spot on Netflix’s Top 10 in the United States, Bridgerton represents an inclusive and well-rounded piece. Escalating that of the female role, the show gives women of the victorian era a 21st century ambitious attitude and lust for knowledge. Although season two remains in question, viewers of all ages around the world eagerly await more chapters of the story to unfold.