From the mind of best-selling author Julia Quinn and reimagined by Shonda Rhimes (Grey’s Anatomy, Scandal), Netflix’s latest drama series Bridgerton is taking the site by storm. Maybe it’s the glamour of Regency-era London, or maybe the numerous steamy, romantic scenes, but something about Bridgerton has already made it the 5th largest Netflix original series to launch on the platform, and projections suggest it’ll be streamed in more than 67 million households within 28 days of its release.
Based around Julia Quinn’s first Bridgerton family book, The Duke And I, the series follows a close aristocratic family during the courting season, mostly revolving around Daphne Bridgerton, the debutante of the family and the Queen’s favourite. The series is narrated by Julie Andrews, the voice of an anonymous gossip writer that continuously finds the hidden scandals of high society, changing the course of the courting season like a 19th-century Gossip Girl. The 8-part series shows us romance, loss, heartbreak and competition among other events, as we form attachments to supporting stories as well as Daphne’s, put so gracefully before the backdrop of ornamented London architecture and modern music made sympathetic of the era.
As Rhimes’ first Netflix project, Bridgerton brought to life these beloved characters with new diversity, introducing a society that reflects our modern one in terms of race. The adaptation also brought new characters to the table, ones that provided more of a criticising tone to the closed and untouchable world of aristocracy – these characters include Queen Charlotte – the reason for the accepted diversity of the community, Lord Featherington – a man stuck in his gambling debts, and Marina Thompson – the Featherington’s distant, lower classed cousin who brings the reality of the outside world to high society, in the form of illegitimate pregnancy and a strive for independence.
The mix of Quinn’s brilliant characters and plot, with Rhimes’ production and Chris Van Dusen’s direction is what makes this series such a good watch. Among excitement, mystique and sensuality, the series keeps you on the edge of your seat with anticipation and thrill.
Another thing that makes the series so great is the costumes – wild hairstyles, long frocks and decorated bustiers fulfil the beauty and fashion that the Regency era is so famous for. The fashion of the series was done so well that Netflix recently announced a partnership with the British Fashion Council in the name of the series, commissioning three young designers to create costumes that matched the beauty and form of the period and series. The BFC scholars chosen were Aurélie Fontan, Edward Mendoza and Shanti Bell, whose beautiful pieces were then modelled by the show’s leading actresses Phoebe Dynevor, Nicola Coughlan, Adjoa Andoh, Claudia Jessie and Golda Rosheuval.
It seems likely that there will be another season of the series in the future, regarding its success and the numerous Bridgerton books that follow. We can only hope that we’ll see this period drama again, with even more romance, scandal and beauty than before.
Words by Daisy Grace Greetham