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Typically, this time of year is award season, for films and series. Due to last year’s restrictions on producing those films and series, all award shows are currently pushed farther out.
I realized today how few movies I watched last year, perhaps the lowest number in my entire life. My local movie theater closed last March and has not opened again. Thankfully there are streaming services, offering a variety of wonderful movies, documentaries and series.
For some reason, I’ve gravitated toward more series than films during this strange time. As nominations come in for awards, my viewing patterns will shift. Today, however, allow me to share a review of one of my favorite series…so far…currently available on Netflix. I enjoyed the eight episodes so much that I did a rare thing. I watched the entire series for a second time and loved it as much.
Check out my Bridgerton series review.
This opulent, Netflix Original Series features a large ensemble cast. Actors include Phoebe Dynevor, Regé-Jean Page, Nicola Coughlan, Jonathan Bailey, Harriet Cains, Bessie Carter, Ruth Gemmell, Florence Hunt, Claudia Jessie, Luke Newton, Luke Thompson, Will Tilston, Ruby Barker, Ben Miller, Adjoa Andoh, Polly Walker, Golda Rosheuvel, Ruby Stokes, Freddie Stroma and Julie Andrews (voice only).
Directors for the series include Julie Anne Robinson, Sheree Folkson, Alrick Riley and Tom Verica. Chris Van Dusen created the series, based on the books by Julia Quinn.
Each of the eight episodes runs an hour and carries an Ma for mature rating.
Meet the Bridgertons
The title of the series comes from the family bearing the same name. The tagline sets the tone for what unfolds during the eight episodes: “Wealth, lust and betrayal set against the backdrop of Regency Era England, as seen through the eyes of the powerful Bridgerton Family.
Lady Violet Bridgerton (Gemmell) raises her large family of eight children alone, after the death of her husband. For convenience, the couple used names beginning with A – H for their offspring: Anthony (Bailey), Benedict (Thompson), Colin (Newton), Daphne (Dynevor), Eloise (Jessie), Francesca (Stokes), Gregory (Tilston) and Hyacinth (Hunt). That trick helps the viewer keep the children straight as well!
The story focuses on Daphne Bridgerton, fourth born child and eldest daughter, at the beginning of the London Season. Every unmarried young woman…and her anxious mama…are out and on the hunt for a suitable husband.
The London Season
Daphne debuts and sets the bar high, as Queen Charlotte (Rosheuvel) notices her during the presentation of the debutantes. The mysterious writer of the high society gossip sheet, Lady Whistledown (voiced by Andrews), creates a stir with her scathing commentary on London’s elite. Although no one knows who she is (including the viewers), she seems to know everything about everyone.
When London’s most eligible bachelor, Simon the Duke of Hasting (Page), arrives in town, he and Daphne strike an unusual deal. Daphne wants to marry for love, in spite of her brother Anthony’s intention to make a quick match for her. And Simon never wants to marry at all. The two decide to create a pretend courtship. The ruse keeps mothers and their single daughters away from him. And Daphne can take her time finding a suitor to fall in love with.
It turns out Lady Whistledown has much to write about.
Neighbors of the Bridgertons, the Featheringtons, gain a niece for the Season, much to Lady Featherington’s (Walker) dismay. She already has three unmarried daughters to find husbands for: Philipa (Cains), Prudence (Carter) and Penelope (Coughlan). And Lord Featherington’s (Miller) niece, Marina (Barker), possesses beauty, charm and a sharp wit. She immediately attracts many would-be suitors, including Colin Bridgerton.
When Queen Charlotte’s nephew, Prince Friedrich (Stroma) arrives, and strives to win Daphne’ heart, all of London watches to see who ends up with the “diamond of the season”.
Mysteries, Secrets and Scandals
While courtships form or falter and love blossoms or dies, the undercurrent in London becomes more complex. Eloise and Penelope form a partnership to uncover the identity of the mysterious Lady Whistledown.
Marina hides a secret that makes her desperate to marry quickly. And Daphne must choose between a prince and the man who vows he will never marry, but who has captured her heart nonetheless. Simon is not immune to Daphne’s charms however a difficult relationship with his father hardened his heart toward marriage and siring children.
Presiding over all these stories…of joy, desire and heartbreak…and over all the balls and society gatherings, is the queen and Lady Danbury (Andoh). This feisty, fierce, yet kind woman knows more about Simon and matters of the heart than anyone else.
My Thoughts on Bridgerton
I loved this series. First of all, because it’s a lavishly depicted historical piece. The costumes and settings astound with their beauty. And I find British shows especially fun to watch.
Secondly, I enjoyed the multiple story lines. A few characters, like Pen’s sisters, have minor roles. That’s understandable with a cast this large. Most characters though develop nicely as the series progresses. I came to adore Eloise Bridgerton, who follows curiosity and never hesitates to speak her mind. And Penelope is a joy to watch as she learns to carve out her own unique space apart from her mother and sisters.
And finally, I appreciate the casting of the characters. Everyone is simply, or complexly, who they are, regardless of race or skin color. They are people with complicated, intriguing stories and lives, period. Although set in the past, Bridgerton shows what’s possible when we accept each other as we are.
Second Season Picked Up
The good news is, for those of us who watched Bridgerton and immediately craved more, a second season is on the way. I’m so excited!
There are eight books in the series, and Netflix intends to create eight seasons. Each book focuses on a different Bridgerton child. The series intends to follow the same format. That means I have seven more seasons to look forward to. In the meantime, I’m now reading the books.
Have you seen Bridgerton? If so, I’d love to read your thoughts in the comments. If not, know this. The series is intended for mature audiences. Due to some nudity and quite a lot of sexual content, this series is not for children. Savor the show after the kids go to bed, with a glass of wine or a mug of hot tea. But do savor it. It’s a visual and emotional treat.
Pick up the Bridgerton books from Amazon:
And if you enjoyed this series review, check out this one:
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